How Do I Decide When to Have Sex?

Man and woman deciding when to have sex

Do you find the decision about when to have sex is intimidating, even though you’re dating in your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond? You are not alone, sister. I get a lot of questions about the whats and hows of having sex “in this day and age” and at this stage of life.

I get a lot of questions about the whats and hows of having sex “in this day and age” and at this stage of life.

You crave intimacy, but the last thing you want is to sleep with a guy and get hung up like an 18-year-old. There’s also that body image thing and health issue thing. There are a lot of valid concerns that can drive you to simply opt-out of dating. Because, after all, with dating comes the s-e-x thing…and that can be too scary or too complicated.

As a dating and relationship coach for single women over 40, I often get asked to help my clients prepare mentally and physically for enjoying the sexual part of dating and relationships. Included in this support is helping them make grownup decisions about when to safely slide between the sheets.

I want to give you my 5 tips to keep you from getting caught up in the emotional confusion of sex decisions. This will help you make good decisions, retain your self-respect, yet still have a nice time dating and getting to know those fabulous men out there.

1.  Accept that YOU decide when to have sex. 
You are a mature woman who most likely steers your own ship in all other areas of your life. No man is in charge of what you do and when you do it; you are, sister.

You are capable of and responsible for weighing your options, making complex decisions and exercising your assertiveness. You probably do this every day with your career, your family, even with the dry cleaner. Saying “yes” or “no” to a guy who wants to sleep with you should be no exception. You can wait until you’re 100% ready, and don’t have to hop in bed a moment before.

2.  Set your intentions and stick with them.
Do you want a rollicking roll in the hay or a lifelong relationship? Decide what your goal is and what it will take for you to get there. Then, just like you do with everything else in your life, set yourself up for success by plotting a plan. Then don’t deviate because of momentary feelings or your need to please others.

3.  Lay off the liquor.
You know by now that alcohol doesn’t make you more attractive or charming, and it doesn’t ease the pain the morning after you realize you made terrible decisions. Play it smart and stay sober. Stick with one glass of wine with dinner. Don’t use alcohol to help calm your nerves or keep the conversation flowing; there are other ways to cope!

4.  Decide whether he’s a hottie or a hubby.
If you’re looking for someone who’s going to be with you for the long haul, understand that a man who is a good date will not necessarily be a good partner. He may be chock-full of charm and make your stomach somersault, but he may completely lack any potential past that one night.

When you’re feeling that flutter, stop and ask yourself: does he have potential to be the man I adore, admire and depend on? Or is it that I’m simply physically attracted? If the answer is “attracted only” then apply the brakes. Sleeping with this man could lead to disaster.

5.  Learn a Love Lesson from the Dalai Lama
In The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, the Dalai Lama ponders pleasure versus happiness. He reminds us that pleasure feels good at the moment; happiness fulfills you for the long-term.

When you are considering intimacy, take a breath, separate yourself from the immediacy of the moment, and ask, “Will this make me feel good about myself and get me closer to my goal of finding love?”  (Now, return to #2.)


Giving and receiving physical pleasure is a wonderful part of a powerful, loving relationship. With a little healthy lust and a lot of sensibility and self-awareness, you can have a vigorous, fun and satisfying sex life that leads you to the happiness and grownup love story that you deserve.



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