When is the Right Time to Have Sex?

What’s the Ideal Time to First Have Sex When Dating?

Earlier this year, one of my clients confessed that she always felt obligated to sleep with guys she dated way too early. She asked me, “When is the right time to have sex?”

It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy sex, she did. She merely felt conflicted about giving her body to a guy she wasn’t sure about yet amidst the overwhelming societal expectation that giving it up right away is the expectation now. This pressure came not only from the men she dated; even her closest, well-meaning friends and family told her that no guy would stay interested if she didn’t sleep with him.

Under pressure, she always ended up hopping into bed way too soon in relationships that ultimately didn’t work out. I don’t know whether to cry or vomit at the thought.

Here’s a woman that has it all; brains, stunning beauty, a fulfilling and prosperous career, a loving heart, and a sense of humor. Surely, she can be choosy about who she goes to bed with. But she didn’t think so.

And she’s far from the only woman struggling with this terrible conflict. It saddens me that women, even in this era of #metoo awareness, still feel obligated to share their body before they’re sure whether he’s the one or not.

So let’s set this straight. When you’re dating to find a serious relationship, how soon should you have sex?

What Science Says About When To First Have Sex

When is the right time to have sex

First, let’s discuss what the science has to say about when first to have sex if you’re seeking a serious relationship.

There are many evolutionary benefits to having sex. A study published in Sage Journals last year confirms that sexual intimacy plays a vital role in long-term pair bonding. So there’s no argument about whether or not sex is essential in a long-term relationship, whether you plan to have children or not.

Though there are varying professional opinions on how soon is too soon to do the deed when dating, there’s plenty of scientific evidence that suggests waiting for longer leads to a more satisfying and quality relationship.

A study by Sharon Sassler, Fenaba R. Addo, Daniel T. Lichter published in 2012 entitled, The Tempo of Sexual Activity and Later Relationship Quality, demonstrated that delayed sex was associated with higher relationship quality in several ways, not just sexual. The multivariate results suggested that early sexual intimacy led to a decrease in marital quality for women.

Another study conducted by psychologist Jim Pfaus out of Concordia University in Montreal demonstrated that love and lust originate in the same location in the brain. These results suggest that emotional attachments are indeed created and strengthened by sexual intimacy. The reporting article from The Huffington Post interprets this as a green light for acting quickly on sexual desires, but why wouldn’t the reverse be correct in that case? How can it be beneficial to rely on sex for creating emotional attachment? These results can be interpreted both ways.

Another study in 2010 by Dr. Dean Busby entitled, Compatibility or restraint? The effects of sexual timing on marriage relationships surveyed 2,035 married couples. He examined how quickly they became sexually involved and its relation to their current relationship satisfaction in several categories. The abstract states, “Both structural equation and group comparison analyses demonstrated that sexual restraint was associated with better relationship outcomes, even when controlling for education, the number of sexual partners, religiosity, and relationship length.”

Finally, in yet another study by Dr. Sandra Metts, it was found that when couples waited until after saying, “I love you,” to one another, sex was a positive turning point in the relationship. When sex occurred before saying, “I love you,” it was perceived as negative, filled with regret and uncertainty. This was the same for both men and women.

These are merely a sampling of studies. However, there’s significant scientific evidence that demonstrates that delaying first-time sex results in a more satisfactory relationship down the road.

How To Figure Out the Right Time To Have Sex When You’re Dating

when is it the right time to have sex

Last week, a post written by an anonymous, hobbyist player was making the rounds. Ironically, it was an advice column for women on how to spot players just like him. In the article, he boasts that he’s gotten over 300 women to sleep with him, usually on the first date, over the last five years.

He goes on to detail his method. The trick is in creating connection and chemistry with a woman well before meeting her in person over the phone, online, etc. He’s also careful to avoid showing any red flags. In short, he appears to be the perfect man.

Then he builds on that connection and chemistry on the first date to make her believe they have a bond. Falsely believing it’s something that has real potential, and the fact that he’s hot as hell, she willingly jumps into bed with him.

People, this is no joke. There are men out there teaching other men the playbook on how to seduce women by making them feel they are falling in love. Women are willing to sleep with them because they’re assuming, based on pure chemistry, there’s potential for a relationship before there’s any evidence of a relationship whatsoever.

So, when is the right time to have sex if you’re looking for a serious relationship? Based on my personal experience, clients’ experiences, the science, and this apparent burgeoning trend in hobbyist players my take is:

Don’t. At the very least, hold the phone.

I’m not saying never. I’m not saying you have to wait until you’ve both got rings on your fingers. And I’m definitely not saying sex isn’t important.

I’m just saying that if you’re seeking a serious relationship, a soulmate relationship, wait until you know he’s the one.

If he’s not your boyfriend, don’t.

If you’re not his girlfriend, don’t.

If you haven’t told each other, “I love you,” don’t.

If you aren’t sure you’re both in it for the long haul, don’t.

Then how do you know when the time is right to first have sex? When your reasons for being together aren’t just about having sex.

If you’re still uncertain, ponder these questions:

  • If we never had sex, would I still really like and respect this person?

  • Are we on the same life path? Can I see myself living with this person?

  • Aside from physical chemistry, are we alike and compatible?

  • Are we getting physical simply because it feels like an expectation or obligation?

If you feel conflicted about whether or not to have sex with the person you’re dating, take some time, preferably away from the person you’re dating, to honestly reflect on those questions before jumping into bed.

Takeaways on Delaying Sex

when is the right time to have sex

My client was utterly relieved with the realization that the decision of when to be intimate with someone was her choice. And she took that new attitude into her dating life. Not only was it perfectly fine to wait, but men respected her for it. And it gave them the opportunity to get to know each other.

She reported that she felt so much more empowered and relaxed dating without feeling pressured by the societal sexual timeline. It gave her the space she needed to accurately assess her needs in a relationship and the foresight to see if a guy fit her long-term desires.

If you’re wondering when it’s okay to have sex with someone you’re dating, then take the time to check in with your relationship needs. Think about what you need to know about a guy or have in a relationship before you’re physically intimate. Tell a trusted friend so she can help you stick to it.

Delaying sex when you’re dating might not always feel like the most comfortable choice at the moment, but the benefits will pay off for years in your relationship.

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1 Response

  1. December 20, 2018

    […] my latest blog post, When is the Right Time to Have Sex?, I share my client’s story and several pieces of scientific evidence that do say, yes, there […]

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