In this era of sexual free-for-all, one of the most difficult things to figure out is the proper timing for having sex. For women, there are usually tradeoffs involved in diving between the sheets. Even if we decide to “have sex like a man,” it’s not possible, because the sexual double standard is alive and well, and pesky hormones wind up holding us hostage to feelings.
Here are a few of the more common cost/benefit analyses, some of which take place in a rather muddy fashion under the influence:
- He’s hot, I’m horny, what the hell.
Hopping into this guy’s lap, you know that you are probably not going to enjoy a loving relationship complete with mutual respect. Still, you aren’t above hoping for Round 2 if all goes well. In general, though, all thinking here is done with the really little head.
- He’s hot, I like him, what the hell.
You’re attracted to a guy, and you finally catch his attention, whoo hoo! He finds you sexually attractive, which is a great start, and makes his move. If you turn him down, you probably won’t get another chance. You take the bait in hopes that you can make it memorable, and that he will want to hook up with you again, hopefully regularly.
- We’re hanging out, it’s a mutual crush, how long should I wait?
You have a nice thing going with a guy. You text back and forth, you meet up on the weekends. He holds your hand in front of his friends. You want to have sex, but you have no idea whether he would want a relationship or isn’t “looking for anything serious.” Asking him straight out would be a weird and awkward buzzkill.
- We’re good friends, I’m feeling like I kinda want to see his penis, and he’s game. But what would it mean?
He’s a great guy, you get along really well. If you take this step, everything will change. But for better or worse?
- I know I’m not cut out for casual sex. What are the odds that this particular boy will want to get serious with me, and be willing to wait for a while?
You know that most guys want sex, a lot. You also know that few guys will wait around for long without it, even if they like you. There are just too many women willing to go for the hookup. What do you do to hold onto my guy without compromising your need for a commitment?
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There’s no one right answer to any of these dilemmas. Much depends on how you feel about sex, and what kind you like to have.
- Do you care what other people think?
- Are you in the same community, or can you avoid seeing him again if you wish to?
- How has casual worked for you in the past?
- Do you know that you want a relationship? Is this guy a possibility?
Women have a habit of analyzing (and over-analyzing) all of these questions, on our own and with friends. But we often feel completely baffled about how men feel on this issue. If a guy gets sex too early, will he rule us out as relationship material? If we make a guy wait, will he move on quickly? What is a reasonable waiting period with a guy you like?
I’ve found quite a few interesting opinions from men on this question, including from some of our own guy readers here at HUS. I’m not sure there’s one prevailing view, but think of it as a way of getting a peek into the minds of a bunch of different guys, at a variety of ages. It’s information, and it may just help you make better decisions.
Eric Charles at A New Mode, Does He Just Want Sex?
This in response to a woman who has been having sex and spending time with a guy for two months, but he won’t make it official.
No man is in a relationship “just” for sex. There’s some reason he chose you versus the other billions of women he could have chose on Earth. In other words, there’s at least one reason he chose you other than the fact that he can have sex with you. It’s useful to realize that there’s always more than one reason a man choose a woman, so the more useful question you could ask yourself is, “What are all the reasons he chose me over all the other women on Earth?” This is an empowering question because it puts your mind on all your high-points and what you bring to a relationship. If you ask yourself whether or not you’re being used for sex, it will immediately put you on the defensive and fill you with fears.
You’re choosing to focus on the title. I can tell you this, both from personal experience and from hearing from tons of other men: The best way to determine the woman to be with is to see how she reacts when you don’t give her what she wants. Testing is how we protect ourselves from long-term heartache and eventual heartbreak.
So my advice is to think about this like a test. Focus on having a high-quality relationship. Focus on making sure the relationship as a whole meets all of your expectations. Focus on being really clear on all the reasons he’s chosen you. Focus on bringing your best self to the table. And focus on testing things out as well. It’s important that you are clear on what really, truly matters to you. If this relationship does not deliver that, it’s better you know that now. But I believe that you’ll get this clarity not by sizing up the man, but sizing up the relationship.
John Ortved, blogger at Single-ish, Glamour, He’s Not Ready For A Relationship–Should I Still Sleep With Him?
This in response to a woman who was wondering whether she should ditch a guy who told her he was into her, but not looking for a relationship (post hookup).
The crux of the advice is that we’re almost always ready for a relationship with the right girl, but it can take us boys a little time to figure out that you are indeed that person, and it might be worth hanging around a while to figure out if that’s the case. I’m not saying that she should jump in the sack (again) with this guy, and give him so much milk that he never even has to think about even renting the cow, but at some point sex should come into the picture, because that’s part of getting to know someone with whom you want to build a relationship.
There’s also an argument that says that if the sex is good, and there is suddenly a dearth of that sex, the gears in his head might start moving quicker, and she’ll have her answer even sooner.
All that being said, she definitely should avoid a friends-with-benefits situation, which works for no one (unless the sex is really really good—in which case, God help her).
Ask A Dude, College Candy, Am I Wasting My Time?
This in response to a girl who had a brief convo the morning after with a guy.
He said ” I don’t want to put a title on things yet. I’m going to see hot girls, and you’re going to see hot guys.” I told him that we could just let things figure themselves out.
You are wasting your time. If he wanted you, it wouldn’t matter if there were other hot girls. Hell, it wouldn’t matter if Heidi Klum walked by. But I think deep down you know this. You can and will find someone better.
And another one, from a woman who asks: “How do I straddle this line between, frankly, being horny and still feeling special and not like a hook up?”
There is a big difference between being “too forward” (which men tend to find undeniably sexy) and being “too rushed.” If you’re the former (a confident, outgoing woman who is not afraid to make the first move), and a guy isn’t into you… then there is something wrong with him (not you). If it’s the latter (which it sounds like it might be), there is still time to turn things around.
The real question to ask is… what do you want right now? If you really want immediate sexual relief and the meeting of your needs… than stop psychoanalyzing what this guy thinks of you and get some (safely), with zero mental strings attached. But if you want to evolve into something more, then you might need to pull on the reigns (slightly), and try meeting in environments that won’t equate drunkenness or spooning. If you don’t want to feel like just another horny hook up, then stop being one.
Bobby Rio, at TSB Magazine, tackled a question left by a guy at Leftos:
This in response to a guy who has waited three weeks and is getting very impatient.
How you should handle it:
- Rinse, Wash, Repeat.
Just keep going for it. Don’t talk about it. Just go for it. If she stops you, then stop. But if you continue fooling around, go for it again a little later on. Avoid talking about it. The more time you talk about it, the more she will mentally commit to holding out.
If you make her state “I’m not ready” then she’ll feel committed to waiting. However, if you just keep going for it without addressing it, you are likely to catch her at a moment of weakness where she is just too horny to resist.
- Vaguely assure her you’re not sleeping with anyone else.
This is a fine line because part of holding the power in a relationship is letting the woman assume you’re seeing other people, which subconsciously makes her fight for your attention. And I usually advise never revealing too much information early on in a relationship.
But sometimes it is necessary to give a woman some sense of security. This is especially the case if she has reason to believe you’re a player who might be using her for sex. Don’t come right out and say “I’m not sleeping with anyone else.” Let her come to the conclusion through her own wits. This way it is implied and you’re not making her any promises for the future.
- Freeze out.
A “freeze out” is when you get really cold with a girl. This means you get distant and stop answering her calls so quickly. Maybe you don’t text her back right away. You’re not as available to hang out. This will put the pressure on her to make the decision to sleep with you. If she senses that she may lose you, she will be more willing to use sex to keep you.
(Editor note: Soooooooo douchey!)
Last but not least, some words of wisdom from men who have commented on this issue here at HUS:
On sex with nice guys:
Don’t command a performance that he can’t (yet) deliver. Suppose you do indulge the urge to grab his crotch and say “All right, big boy, let’s give it a go!” You might think of this as giving the ultimate compliment, fulfilling every young man’s dream; but the most likely result in your nice guy is panic. You might not realize that you’ve put him in a tough spot: as he sees it, he now has to deliver a performance that he has little or no experience giving. You’ll be better off if you don’t frame the situation in such a way that he’s giving a high-stakes command performance. Make it absolutely clear that you’re not going to grade and criticize his every move, and that you welcome the spirit of whatever he wants to try. And try some stuff yourself! Nice guys, unlike alpha jocks, are usually very receptive to women taking the initiative.
On virginity and cads:
When you say “Now I’m looking forward to losing my virginity to someone I love,” I think you may be on a good path. Think of the image of yourself holding a really fine bottle of wine, maybe with a case in reserve. If you really appreciate wine, then you wouldn’t just serve it alongside a take-out cheeseburger, would you?
The single woman who rocks a man’s world in bed is MORE LIKELY to get into a relationship than the one who just lays there. Women who hook up and perform well are the ones guys go to for repeat performances. Repeat performances are what we call a “casual relationship.” Casual relationships sometimes lead to serious relationships.
Sex is the most effective and valuable currency with which women can buy long term relationships. As you say, there are consequences to both giving freely and holding back constantly. It doesn’t feel romantic to think about sex as currency, but it is, and the women who can get over the loss of magic fairy tale love generally have much more successful relationships.
Sexual compatibility is one of the things a guy is looking for BEFORE he will commit. Yes, it’s true that there’s a small group of guys who will wait several months to have sex, but it’s a small group.
The trick to it is being brave enough to keep things at arms length right now. Once or twice a week is enough, or she won’t be able to keep it “casual” for long. No hanging out everyday. It’s not wrong to give a man sex before getting a commitment. It is a bad idea to give a man *EVERYTHING* he’d get from a committed relationship without a commitment. So… say no to the bootie calls some of the time. Be busy more than you’re available. Don’t answer every time he calls. Meet him on his own ground until he wants to escalate. In the meantime, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. See if there’s someone better out there, but don’t worry too much that you get to have orgasms while you look. That’s a good thing.
With today’s sexual permissiveness, if you find a woman who was very chaste, you stand a good chance of ending up in a sexless marriage with a woman with a very low sex drive. Sort of damned if you do and damned if you don’t, I guess.
Ex New Yorker:
The problem is working backwards, trying to get the relationship AFTER the hookup. That’s hard to do, particularly if the guy in question has cad-like tendencies. That’s not to say all hookups are bad. Not everyone wants a relationship, I imagine, but to look for a relationship via hookups is a recipe for being strung along by the many cads out there who have no compulsion against being jerks.
“Trust, but verify.” It requires some work and patience, but anything worthwhile takes some work. A guy pretending to offer signals of caring isn’t going to hang around for that long if he can’t get the quick sex. And frankly, shouldn’t the women be taking some time to figure the guy out, to learn about his friends and family, seeing how he acts with other people in his life and work?
Sex is a natural expression of love, and has been since the dawn of time. Denying that essential part of humanity in yourself & others for perhaps decades at a time is bound to yes, warp your perspective of both sex, relationships, and relationships with the opposite sex.
Re meaningless, dead end sex with a cad:
Actions have their consequences. Even for the mindless fun stuff. So ‘keep banging him’ might be the recipe for near term fun, but long term greater disappointment. Bottom line? Is it worth the effort to waste your time like this? Is the sex that good & needed? Are there no vibrators to be had? Batteries? The mind boggles. So Just Keep on banging the wrong guys. Yeah, that’s the ticket to success!
It doesn’t matter too much who starts the virtuous circle of awesome (and much) sex in exchange for emotional care and tenderness, as long it gets started. Probably it’s best to start with an emotional connection, both because of the greater risk the woman has by having sex and because sex seems to be much better when done with someone you care for.
If you are a virgin, and insist on staying that way until marriage, a guy may also decide you are a poor risk as a long term relationship partner. Sex is pretty important and he will have no idea what a sexual relationship with you would be like until he is fully committed.
There will always be guys who will tell women what they want to hear and so something else later on (this is not new, really … cads have always existed). The difference today is that sex is front-loaded into relationships. It seems to me that the simple way to change that is for women to be less eager sexually early on in relationships until a relationship has been established which she is comfortable with. That seems like a much less risky approach than expecting men to be forthcoming, if in fact they are seeking sex for its own sake.
From personal experience, if a guy shows interest in a relationship first, her attraction for him falls off a cliff. With the woman that I ended up marrying, I waited six months to call her my girlfriend. Eagerness to settle or commit can be a major turnoff for women. So long as he is honest about things, why complain?
Saying the R-word only after two months makes you appear desperate. Wait four months more without even mentioning the “relationship” word. Take things easy. Have fun and try not to think about the future (or at least, try not to tell him anything about the future). Keep things casual, fun and nice.
There’s lots of excellent food for thought here, though no easy answers. I will say that the old “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” standard is out the window. If you respect yourself enough to make intelligent choices about who you share your body with, you won’t escape mistakes, but you should be OK. There never were any guarantees around sex and relationships, it’s always been high stakes one way or the other.
What do you think? Do you worry that having sex too soon will ruin things? Do you care? Guys, do you respect a woman for waiting? How long are you willing to hang in there?