As if part of a Sex and the City episode, I was recently chatting with one of my single girlfriends about sex while dating and whether there is a cardinal rule for when it’s supposed to happen. Per the great Charlotte-Samantha debate: when is sleeping with someone you’re newly dating too soon versus past due?
Being that it’s been a while since I’ve had to personally ponder this question, perhaps I should have titled this post “Celibacy and the City.” I joke that it’s not by choice, but have dated several guys in the last six months and haven’t taken that next step, so I suppose it is a conscious decision to stay at first base.
Despite my current abstinent state, I don’t have a hard and fast rule for how long to wait before getting in between the sheets. I’ve slept with a guy on the first date (sorry mom), but then have also waited several weeks to months with others. Ultimately, I’ve come to realize the decision to be intimate with someone is based on so much more than just physical attraction.
Case in point, the last guy I dated was extremely good looking and a great kisser to boot, but by the third date, our conversation—or rather his constant talking and my pretending to listen—had me wanting to “accidentally” stab myself with my fork so that I’d have an immediate excuse to end the date. I reluctantly decided against such a dramatic exit, but upon its eventual close was left wondering: how the hell could two people who had such strong physical chemistry at the start be so wrong for each other intellectually in the end? This question led me to dive further into the notion of how soon is too soon when it comes to sleeping with someone.
Regarding that last prospect, had I jumped in the sack upon the initial sensation I felt when we first kissed, I might not have been so acutely aware of how wrong he was for me from a non-physical perspective. It is human nature to be sexually charged, but through the years I’ve found that acting on that carnal instinct too fast can often lead to a misguided perception of compatibility. The truth is, I knew after our first date that he wasn’t a fit for me, but decided to challenge my instincts (because I thought he was cute) and give him a few more tries anyway. Thankfully, I didn’t let my desires lead the charge in my decision making and was able to walk away free and clear of any sexually fueled second guessing.
Here’s the thing: if I just wanted sex I’d post up at Goldfields (a fun and rowdy country bar here in Sacramento) where almost every time I go I get hit on…by a 25 year old. Flattering, yes, but cougaring isn’t my style and truthfully, neither is emotionless sex.
When it comes to dating, I’ve come to the conclusion that there really isn’t an exact timeline for taking a relationship to that next level—you just have to let your intuition (and your heart) guide you. If it feels right, go for it! But if you have doubts, it’s probably for good reason and there is absolutely no shame in waiting until it feels right or moving on altogether.
While I’m not actively looking for love, I know in my heart that I’m ready for more than just a casual fling, so I’m willing to wait it out until I meet someone who not only catches my eye, but also keeps my attention. Until then, a la Miranda, I’ll be watching a lot of movies and eating a ridiculous amount of chocolate. Wine will likely (read: definitely) be involved, too.
I’d love to know—what is your take on how long to wait before doing the deed while dating?
– S A D Y E E V Y N R E I S H
Photo source: HBO