Sex may dominate our thoughts, dreams, and late night fantasies, but the reality is that a whole lot of consideration goes into the how, why, and when of whether or not to actually have sex with someone.
No matter how much this question dominates our thoughts, no one seems to be quite sure of the answer. Probably because the “right” answer changes with each partner and situation.
Ultimately, the reality is that if you are asking yourself if you should wait to have sex, you want more than a hookup or fling.
“They’re most likely looking for an emotional and physical bond. Often enough they know from experience or intuition that an important relationship needs to be set up well,” says Wendy Brown, a Toronto-based psychotherapist.
“I suggest developing a substantial understanding of the potential partner before they have sex. That requires finding out the person’s life story and how he can fit into it. Then he needs to figure out if he’s good with that spot; it might take some discussion or negotiation to get it right,” says Brown.
“There are no hard and fast rules in terms of when you should be intimate with someone, but in general, it’s best to wait until you feel like you’ve made an emotional connection with her and mutually respect and trust one another,” says Talia Goldstein, CEO of Three Day Rule, a white glove matchmaking service. “I would try to avoid sleeping with someone on the first date because it can give off the wrong impression, especially if you are looking for a committed relationship. There’s nothing wrong with having a one-night stand if there is a mutual understanding between both parties. However, if you think she might have potential to be girlfriend material, you don’t want to jump into bed with her too soon because she might question your motives and wonder if you’re a player,” says Goldstein.
Yes, we all know someone that ended up marrying the girl they slept with on a first date, but the general consensus among experts is that that is more the exception than the norm.
Don’t Make Your Relationship Dependent On Sex
“Recent surveys show that most exclusively dating couples wait an average of 3-5 dates before having sex (in terms of the actual length of time, it can span from one to five weeks depending on the pace of the couple),” says Selective Search President & Founder Barbie Adler. Dates three, four, and five are typically when individuals begin to glean more insight about their new partner, which is when chemistry really starts to develop, says Adler.
“A truly healthy relationship strikes a harmonious balance between the physical and the emotional; acting too early on strong physical attractions could cause you to rely too heavily on your sexual relationship, so it’s important to first cultivate a strong emotional connection with your partner — this deeper bond will continue to keep your sex life healthy down the line, even after the initial heat dies down,” concludes Adler.
Waiting to have sex is a good way to manage expectations if you are unsure how you feel about her.
“Studies have shown that after a woman sleeps with a man, her body releases oxytocin, a hormone that literally makes her feel a connection and bond with you. If you want to avoid having her feel overly attached to you too soon, wait to get intimate,” says Goldstein.
It’s About Comfort And Trust
We all know sex is great, but no matter how long you’ve been dating, you should feel confident and comfortable with your partner before heading to the bedroom.
“All relationships develop differently, so whether it’s your third date or seventh, if your new relationship is providing you with the trust, confidence and honesty that you need, then you should go with your gut and do what feels right for you,” says Adler.
It’s easy to get caught up with the physical attraction piece of the equation, but getting to know her personality and values is important if you’re looking for a committed relationship,” says Goldstein. This means not letting the physical chemistry that may be there cloud your judgment about whether or not she is girlfriend material, as hard as that may be.
“If you really want to get to know her first, spend some time with her and have meaningful conversations before getting intimate,” says Goldstein. If you wait until you feel an emotional connection with her, it can make the physical connection even better.
“For many women, having sex with someone requires them to trust you and feel comfortable around you,” says Goldstein. For some women, this takes a few dates and for others it can be several months.
Goldstein suggests gently testing the boundaries to get a sense of her comfort level as you progress in your physical relationship, but letting her be the ultimate guide in terms of how fast things go. When she’s ready to get intimate with you, you’ll know, says Goldstein.
Think Long-Term
This is the best litmus test for deciding whether or not to take the next step in your relationship. “If you believe that this relationship has staying power, or at least good potential to become something serious, then it might be time to take it to the next level — but if you’re not sure just yet, give it some time,” says Adler.
Slowing things down will not only give you a chance to make a more informed decision, but help build a stronger emotional connection between you and your partner. In turn, this will also heighten your physical attraction and chemistry.
Follow Your Instincts
If you’re wondering if you’re ready, you’re probably not. “Have sex when your body is aching with desire for it. If that happens on the first date, go ahead! If you like the build-up, you could wait ten dates,” says Astroglide’s Resident Sexologist, Dr. Jess.
“It will depend on what you’re looking for in a relationship. If you’re looking for long-term commitment, you may want to wait until you’re quite comfortable with one another whereas if you’re just looking for a casual fling, you need not wait beyond the first date,” says Dr. Jess.
Just remember: That answer is never one-size-fits-all, it really depends on each relationship!