Dating & sex: why timing counts
In times where casual ‘hooking-up’ has become more of the dating norm than exception, it’s getting harder and harder to know how to go about looking for a long-term, serious relationship.
It’s so easy to get in and out of these superficial ties that people often aren’t even sure if they are single or not, are they dating someone or it’s just been a one-off thing last Saturday and they’ll never speak to each other again.
Are we an ‘item’? Are we exclusive? Are you dating other people? Are you sleeping with other people? Are we boyfriend and girlfriend? Are we just friends or maybe just ‘friends with benefits’? Does sleeping together mean we are now together?
It used to. In fact, shocking as it may sound today – only a few decades ago people were still marrying as virgins. While I don’t exactly regret those times – I believe what passes for dating today is an equally unappealing opposite extreme.
The consequences of this dating mess to most people’s hearts are very confusing. We try to protect ourselves by not getting close or getting emotionally involved, but that only leads to more shallow relationships that lead to nowhere.
If we do the opposite and give it all we got, fall in love and open our hearts – we risk too much. The chances of getting battered and bruised by someone who’ll see us as passing entertainment and not the real thing are pretty high. And nobody likes to get their heart broken.
The consequence of keeping your heart at bay is that we often have no clue whether we feel something for someone or not. Without emotional involvement we tend to treat people as merchandise that can easily be replaced once we’re done with them. There is always more to choose from on your favourite online dating site.
Still, many people get fed up with this after a while and start craving the real thing – an open, honest, intimate relationship with someone who’ll take them seriously. And will be taken seriously in return. But how to make the leap from one-or-few-night stands and loose ties to real love and commitment?
This is where the sex-timing thing comes into play – because sex has become such an easy currency that gives us easy satisfaction and a false sense of closeness. And when you take it away, you have to fill your time actually communicating with the other person. Talking. Exchanging. Engaging.
If you wait long enough with sex – you will be able to see if someone is truly into you, and have a much better idea if you are into them as well. If they forget to call for a long time after you’ve told them you’re not ready to have sex yet – then you know their interest in you was not genuine. In fact, they pretty much means they just wanted one thing. You know which one.
On the other hand, if your relationship gets past the first few dates without sex, and you still want to see each other – that means you’ve started to connect for real.
Sex is often a glue that makes bad matches look better. Without it, you’re just two people talking and getting to know each other, for real.
I am not saying having sex quickly should be avoided at any cost or that you should follow some silly ‘3rd-date-rule’ or anything like that. Sometimes the chemistry is strong and a first date sex turns into an amazing relationship. Sometimes you just want to get in bed with someone and don’t really care what happens next.
But when your final goal is to find a serious relationship – better get serious about looking for it.
More times than not you really can’t know on a first date whether someone is a good match. And if they insist on going to bed with you immediately – chances are they aren’t interested in anything more.
So if in doubt – don’t rush into sex. It often blurs things and makes us feel things we misinterpret as love and affection. It creates an emotional bond, but one that is based on your compatibility in bed, not in real life.
This tactic won’t work in all situations. Sometimes someone will continue to chase you just because you don’t want to give in, until you finally do. But those type of personalities are rare and usually their reputation precedes them. So it’s very likely you’ll be warned.
But most of the time you’ll be able to save yourself from bad dating choices. Over time you’ll choose to pick your dates more wisely. And as a person of substance which you are – you’ll finally end up dating people with more substance to them as well.
How do you feel about dating and sex – does it matter if you do it sooner rather than later?
Have you been in a situation where you wished you’d waited longer? Please leave your comment below.