Dating & sex: why timing counts

when-to-have-sex
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.

YOUR THOUGHTS?

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.

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9 Responses

  1. Ms Jones says:

    Well I think your comment is pretty accurate in general. I live in NYC and the “hook up” thing is so rampant here It is just amazing. The guys think it’s a big game and the girls – well I think they have little esteem for sharing their bodies with so many men. I was young and much more promiscuous at one time, The when I wanted a “real” relationship” I picked a guy who had been interested in me for a long time. Even then I proceeded with caution. After all we had not been “dating” and I did not know what it would be like to have an intimate relationship win him. That relationship did not result in marriage for a number of reasons (too long to go into here) but he was a loving, caring fun man and we were very close for 5 years. I learned a lot about love and relationships then and how 2 people should treat one a other. I was quite young and it left me with a strong impression.

    I always do only what I am comfortable doing. If I am being rushed and I am not comfortable, I wait. If he is reluctant, I wait until be is comfortable. Who knows, maybe he sees they I have a more serious outlook and he doesn’t want to be a jerk! Just because he waits, doesn’t always mean that he is serious. This is a good time to do a little detective work.

    I think it is great to experiment t when you are young. I am glad that I did. It would be awful to get into a marriage with little experience and then start wondering what you may have missed.

    Once I figured out the necessary ingredients for me – and chemistry is right up there for both people – then I was able to try a d “zero in”. No luck so far, but I am pretty certain that “hooking up” would not bring about that desired result for me. I like to know who I am dealing with. Especially in NYC, I find it very strange that a woman would go home, probably a little drunk, with a man she just met. That would not make me feel comfortable or relaxed!

    More very good advice Petra!

  2. La Passionista says:

    Great piece Petra, much needed in this age of easy-come, easy-go, internet dating.

    I think the one aspect that is missing for me though is how to deal with a high sex drive if you are long-term single. It’s all too easy to get into these kind of undesirable situations very quickly without realising it when your hormones are raging, and you are faced with a gorgeous willing guy,with whom you feel such chemistry, that how could it not possibly go further (or so it seems in your hormone-addled brain).

    Throughout a large part of my long-term single life, I have found it nigh on impossible to hold back if I find someone really attractive, but you are right, over time it has a really damaging effect on one’s morale and self-esteem, creeping up on you without you realising it.

    If you can hold back, bravo, you are a stronger woman than me!

    • Petra says:

      Yes I understand what you mean. You just have to assess what is more important to you and if the guy feels he has longer term potential, try to hold yourself back just to see if he wants the same thing. In that case I’m sure sex will come into play naturally and will feel like the right thing soon. Sometimes it will be the right thing even if you jump into bed immediately, but this tactic can help with assessing whether it is or not. I know it’s hard to resist, and it’s been hard for me too – especially when I was single for long periods, but – over time you see that some guys are just not worth it and you get hurt if you have sex too quickly. We girls do get more emotionally attached when we have sex with someone, so there’s always a higher risk of getting hurt even by a guy we don’t particularly care about. Good luck 🙂

      • Sheila B says:

        Its very very distressing going without sex for years because you cannot find a partner. This can lead you to take risks to get sex. Its also one reason why the infidelity market booms. Single women who cannot find boyfriends can easily access married men for sex. This is not good at all for lots of reasons, but with the demography being the way it is that is what happens, Dodgy, difficult – thats what brain chemistry does!
        Ok guys – how do you deal with sexual frustration? This is not something that is usually discussed openly.

        • Petra says:

          True, Sheila – and it’s not easy to have casual sex the right way, meaning – that both have similar expectations and no feelings get hurt. That way sex is just sex and it can be a great experience even if we don’t have an emotional connection. But as said – it is not easy to find that balance. Thanks for commenting.

          • Sheila B says:

            Yes. Petra – and thanks – but the sexual frustration issue never gets addressed. And it should.mThere is no way I am alone in this. Come on there readers – what do you think? I particularly object to my married friends telling me to ‘relax’ when they can get into bed with their husbands. Grrrr!

  3. Dezzy says:

    I am a 26 year old virgin and I believe that it is very important to wait and do things God’s way. I once came close to loosing my virginity to someone I thought cared but did not, he was only interested in one thing (Don’t judge me, no one is perfect). That experience made me even more determined to wait until marriage. All these silly games are keeping people single because, people are walking around hurt, angry, confused or all three.

    It is true when people are promiscuous it does slowly eat away at your self esteem. People begin to see or think of themselves as less valuable. Not to mention the couples out there that are only together because of their child together. That is not how a true loving relationship is suppose to be.

    Even if you are not a Christian and don’t want to wait until marriage, I would suggest that people wait for as long as possible and make sure you are in a long term loving relationship.

    If you are a christian and you are single, continue to pray for your self and your future spouse that God will build up the both of you in preparation for one another and trust in his timing. 🙂