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10 March, 2012
Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby
“How soon long should I wait before having sex with someone new?” (Actually, truth be told, this question comes primarily from women. With few exceptions, for most men the answer to the question “How soon should you have sex?” is “How soon can I get it?”
Obviously, the “right time” between two consenting adults varies with every relationship. Some people think it’s okay to sleep with someone on the first date, others think nothing before marriage is acceptable. My own theory on the right time to do it for the first time falls somewhere in between tramp-o-rama and virgin nun.
If you’re just looking for a wild night, and a serious relationship or pesky moral dilemmas aren’t in the picture, then by all means, let the shirt buttons go flying. But, if what you’re looking for is a long-term relationship, you should wait to have sex until you’re in an exclusive relationship and hold off on doing the deed for at least a month.
No sex for the first month. Really.
Remember the old saying your mother, or grandmother used to repeat, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Well, like it or not, in theory, it still holds true today. Sure the sexual revolution has loosened things up a bit, but as we all know, that old double standard still exists. Sure, you can either sit there, mentally debating with me about why it’s unfair or wrong, or you can just smile and do what works. After all, what’s a little delayed gratification when we’re talking about the man or woman of your dreams? Whip out the fur-lined handcuffs and edible undies on your honeymoon, if you’re so inclined. The third date is not the time.
Okay, now try not to have a heart attack, it’s really not that bad. Once you start dating someone exclusively, one more month really isn’t that long to wait.
Why wait a month? The answer may surprise you. It has nothing to do with any moral issues, and it’s not about playing hard to get. It’s about chemistry. Brain chemistry.
The Love Drug
When women have sex, a chemical called Oxytocin is released in our brains. Scientists refer to it as the “Cuddle Hormone.” Why? Because it causes the affected person to get all sorts of mushy, googly, nesting romantic feelings. So what happens if you have sex too soon? A guy you thought was just so-so yesterday suddenly becomes Mr. Fabulous once you’ve had sex with him. Did he stop ending jokes with “get it?”, picking his nose or talking incessantly about his mother/pet iguana/job at the post office? No. The difference is sex. Doped up on Oxytocin, it’s much more difficult to judge whether or not he’s someone we really want to be with through the haze of googly-moogly romantic emotion.
The one-month sex embargo is just an extra measure of certainty, to make sure the guy is really someone you want to be involved with on that level of intimacy. How long you wait is up to you, as long as you wait at least a month. After the one-month mark, it will be abundantly clear to your man that you do not take this sex thing lightly, and that someone would have to be pretty darn special before you’d consider jumping into bed with him. And, you will have the opportunity to make your decision using your brain while it is still functioning properly.Don’t worry if you think your guy will leave if you don’t have sex with him. After interviewing hundreds of men on the subject, I can tell you that this simply isn’t a factor. If he can’t wait until you’re ready, he certainly won’t be hanging around long after the deed is done. By waiting, you are sending a message to your guy that sex with you is something special, and he will have no choice but to believe you are worth the wait.
Nag. Nag. Nag. Safety first.
I would be remiss if I didn’t stress the importance of safe sex. Always, always, always use a condom until you are both
1) in a long-term, monogamous relationship and also
2) have both been tested and are clean for STDs.
If it freaks you out to buy condoms at the local Kroger with your yogurt and salad-by-the-pound, by all means order yourself a box from one of the many online drugstores. They’ll deliver right to your door, and even your postal worker won’t suspect a thing.