In a world that is equally filled with slut shaming, ubiquitous images of sex, porn and Tinder (which is really just a sex app in a dating app’s clothing, 99% of the time), how do you know when in a relationship is the right time to have sex? Of course it goes without saying that if you feel uncomfortable or pressured into it, the time is definitely not right (and you should probably reevaluate your relationship with anyone who does this). If you are looking for sex without strings attached, then you should likely have sex with someone as soon as you find out out the person is STD-free. But, if you are looking for love and a future with someone, that’s when things get tricky. While there is the “third-date rule,” which has become some sort of phantom heteronormative standard (where did this rule even come from anyway??)—does it still really apply? Is there any soft of definitive rule? Let’s see where the experts come down on the matter . . .
Dr. Emily Morse, who hosts the "Sex With Emily" podcast (which is chock full of fun, delicious sex tips) and is a sex, love and relationships expert, thinks you should wait as long as possible to get it on. Sex, she says, can create a drug problem of sorts:
"When people have sex too soon, they get prematurely attached to the person and the sex. Especially with hormones raging like oxytocin “the cuddle hormone,” we think we know someone just because we had sex with them. Best to take the time to get to know each other before you throw sex into the equation. They say love is a blind for a reason: When we become blinded by lust we can’t see the raging red flags in the distance. We’re more likely to overlook flaws and less likely to see this person for who they really are. Take time to enjoy the person and pay attention."
So, it turns out that our hormones give us “love goggles” (as if beer goggles and martini goggles weren’t bad enough). Wearing those “love goggles” is almost as bad as wearing white to a wedding—you should have known better! The party will be no fun and you’ll feel embarrassed and regret your decision the entire time. So we need to stop hurting ourselves and try as hard as we can to keep it in our pants; our brains and bodies are working against us.
But, there is a pot of gold at the end of the sexual frustration rainbow: It turns out that the longer we wait, the better the sex will be. “Remember, the anticipation is what makes the sex even hotter,” says Dr. Morse.
Hit The Nail On The Head Before You Nail Your Partner
Kira Sabin, who is a dating coach, life coach and a unicorn among women, wrote in her blog about the best time to have sex in all types of relationships. WARNING: This advice might change your life completely:
"If you don’t feel comfortable talking about sex and if they are having it with multiple partners, you should probably wait."
Kira says that you should have sex when you are ready and comfortable communicating about a monogamous future together. So true! And if you do it at the right time, you won’t be put in that situation all women have been in where they sleep with a guy too quickly and end up hurt and confused (and she says it in such a funny way, it’s hard not to agree):
"When we rush into things with a guy, we start to assume it is going somewhere, when lots of times it just . . . isn’t. But since you kind of jumped in you didn’t really talk about it, you're left confused and feeling like shit. I am not going to give you the 'you are a precious flower' speech, but if you are giving it away for free without even talking about it, you are going to end up in this place more than once. Holding the phone, sad, and waiting for the crazy train to come into the station."
Love and sex are supposed to make you feel good, but often women aren’t doing it at the right time emotionally. So they end up feeling horrible, which is the opposite of what they were trying to accomplish in the first place. Think about it this way: What is better? Waiting a little bit longer to feel all of those gooey, delicious love hormones in the long term or wham, bam, thank you, where are you going, man?
Another reason why you should listen to Kira? Communication is the basis for all good relationships—not sex. So, when you are practicing good communication, you are building a foundation for a better relationship, which in turn will ultimately lead to better sex.
Men Are From Mars And It’s All About Their Penis
So, what do men think? Dating coach and author Evan Marc Katz weighs in:
"Holding out for sex is not about holding out until marriage, tricking him into a relationship or trying to keep him around. On the contrary, it’s about taking enough time to assess whether your guy is truly boyfriend-worthy rather than sex-worthy."
Holding out for sex isn’t about psychological tricks or keeping someone around. Perhaps women should try to think of it that way. By not having sex, you are seeing if that person is truly worthy of you. Katz also explains more specifically how men work:
"Men look for sex and find love. In the act of pursuing sex, he gets to know you better and determines that he really loves being around you. The more he loves being around you, the more he’ll want to be around you over all others. And when he values you over all others, he’ll spend his whole life with you because what he gains from the relationship is greater than what he gives up by being monogamous."
While Katz is giving us a peek into the mind of men, the truth is it’s hard for anyone to be monogamous if they aren’t sure if the person in question is better than all the other options they have. We all pick our partners because they make our lives better than they would be with other partners—or better than they would be if we were single. Figuring that out is a process that takes time. And if we can give ourselves the gift of that time, it will ultimately save us time in the long run because we will get hurt less often and spend less time with people who aren’t right for us. In other words, we all won’t waste our time with meaningless sex when it is love we are really looking for.
Wait For It . . . Wait For It . . .
The answer is you should wait for sex until you reach a certain point in your relationship. When researching this article, I couldn’t find one expert who said quick sex was the key to a great relationship. So, if you want love and a lasting relationship, you gotta work for it. And by work, I mean do whatever it takes to restrain yourself from sleeping with a potential partner quickly (think brunch dates, hiking and group activities—handcuffs? Not so much.) and in that process you will get to know each other and see if it’s heading towards a happy relationship with that person—or a happy relationship with someone else.