How long should I wait to have sex?

Sex can be a glorious part of a relationship, but get intimate too soon and the experience can wreak havoc on your emotions and mess up an otherwise budding relationship. Hence, so many of us want to know, How long should I wait to have sex?

Getting this right is the key to maintaining your dignity and confidence, not falling for the wrong guy, and keeping safe. Whether you’re coming out of a long marriage or have been on an extended dating-hiatus, this is a new time in your life. Our bodies and minds work differently than they did at 20 or 30.

And this time you want to get your needs met in a grownup, relationship-minded way.

Listen, I’m all for having fun and enjoying some amazing sex. So if you’ve got long-term love on your mind, check out the answers to these top 4 questions I get asked about WHEN?…

1. Just how long should I wait to have sex with him? Is there a magic number of dates?

To sleep with him or not to sleep with him isn’t really the question…date 3 or date 6 is beside the point. If your end goal is a relationship, give it time.

My best advice: discover, don’t decide.

Enjoy the early discovery phase without getting overly invested. And by overly invested, yes, I mean jumping in bed. Studies show that the oxytocin that women release after having sex gets most of us emotionally attached (which is part of the magic of femininity!) That alone can muddle up this discovery phase by getting you attached too soon and relying too heavily on the sexual attraction.

I’d rather you wait and get hooked after you decide a man is good, kind and interested in the same kind of relationship as you. Look for signs that he’s trying to make you happy. Notice how you FEEL around him. If it’s too soon to make a decision about whether this guy is actually relationship material for you, hold off.

Realize that the wait IS NOT a game, rather a way to give you time to really sniff out his intentions (and yours!). If he’s relationship minded and willing to commit, he won’t mind waiting. The wait IS about making sure he’s willing to invest in getting to really know you. If the wait is irritating to him, odds are good he wasn’t looking for the same thing. Either way, good news.

2. But what if it’s so hot, we just can’t wait?

That all depends on what you’re looking for, sister. Believe me, I get it. When it’s hot it’s hot, and test-driving your compatibility in bed can seem like an ok idea in the moment. (When it’s really just an excuse to give yourself permission to go for it.)

But let me break it down for you: if you really want a capital-R Relationship with a grownup man… He. Will. Wait.

He. Will. Wait.

I see men graciously wait every day. Women aren’t the only ones who want to know if this is going somewhere. Men who are relationship-ready want to know that you’re taking them seriously too. And if you’re quick to hit the sack he’ll wonder if that’s your pace with every man.

Giving it away too soon doesn’t require much of him (or you!). Wait until he can provide you with the trust, confidence, and honesty that you need – it’ll up the ante for authentic connection. And be sure you give him the same.

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with a fling. Nothing wrong with getting straight to it – but know that the odds of him taking you seriously as Relationship Material are slim. (Yes, it happens, but not most of the time.)

If you want to know – without a doubt – that he isn’t making plans with Suzy-Q tomorrow night after sleeping with you tonight, get to the commitment of a relationship before you go there.

3. How will I know if he’s ready for a relationship?

There’s really not a lot of guesswork that goes with this. A grownup man who is looking for a relationship will tell you. Period.

If things are going well and you’re moving into 3rd date territory – ok, maybe 4th or 5th – he will likely ask you about exclusivity. (Here’s advice on when the right time is to be exclusive, and when it’s a red flag.)

Relationship-minded, grownup men are not into playing games. They just want to meet a nice woman, have an easy time getting to know her and eventually end up with one wonderful partner to share the rest of a great life. The man who is looking for that will make it pretty darn clear that he’s interested.

This kind of man isn’t going to just have a romp in the hay with you. He is decent and has respect for you. He’ll show his interest while letting things unfold at a healthy pace.Yes, really. You’re not dating 30 year olds anymore.

4. How will I know if I we’re ready to have sex?

First you have to know what YOU need in order to feel safe emotionally, physically and spiritually. Figure this out NOW…before you sleep with him. Do you need to be exclusive? Do you need to use protection? Do you need the lights off, or for him to know about some scar or some physical feature you’re uncomfortable with?

You have to be able to sit down, look each other in the eye, and have an adult conversation about your relationship, safe sex and what you need to feel safe. If you can’t…do NOT have sex with him! The two of you are not ready!

Too many times I’ve coached women who thought they were in an exclusive relationship only to find out that the man never felt that way. This happens when she assumed…but they never had a grownup, open conversation about each others’ feelings, expectations, and promises.

Being surprised when the phone doesn’t ring the day after really sucks! So don’t make any guesses! Find the words. They don’t have to be heavy and scary. But know if you’re on the same page about future and expectations.

I’m all for having fun and enjoying some amazing sexual intimacy. But if you’ve got love on your mind, follow these tips. I assure you they will limit your disappointment and help you find the happiness you so deserve. A good grownup man will go right along with you. He will respect you for taking such good care of yourself. And, hey, if he doesn’t, then he’s not a man; he’s a boy. Good thing you dodge that bullet early on. Next!

How do you gauge when the right time is to get intimate? Will any of these tips help you in the future? Leave me a comment below.

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