When I was talking with a client about the role of sex in her dating dynamics, she said she had been told that if a woman doesn’t have sex with a man by the third date, he’s just going to assume there’s no chemistry and lose interest.
She said she had adopted that belief after hearing it from multiple sources.
It is a mindset that many women have, feeling like no guy is going to commit to us if we don’t first have sex with them so they know there is sexual compatibility.
Sometimes we worry that if we don’t have sex early enough the guy won’t stick around to really get to know us.
That line of thinking leads you to making a disempowered, pressured, and rushed decision about having sex because you’re trying to keep the other person pleased and keep them around.
I want to share some principles to help you make empowered decisions about sex.
First, when it comes to sex you want the decision to feel good not only in the moment but also the next day, and the next week, and the next month.
That will depend on your unique relationship with the other person.
For example, let’s say you go to a festival and you meet somebody and spontaneously decide to have an amazing sexual experience with that person.
That’s probably a decision you’ll feel good about then and later (depending how it feels in the moment).
If you met somebody with the potential for a long-term relationship, then the conditions that you would feel comfortable having sex with them under would evolve and change as your relationship grows.
It might feel good to have sex with them on the first date, but four or five dates later when you start really liking them you won’t feel comfortable having an open sexual relationship any more.
Then you have to find out if they are on the same page.
It’s easier to develop the relationship first, make sure you’re on the same page, and then have sex.
Another thing to consider is that you don’t have to hit every base in one night.
When we were younger and starting to become sexually active, usually we were with somebody over a period of time where we explored different phases of intimacy.
For example first kissing, then touching, then dry humping, then oral sex.
It developed over time and there wasn’t necessarily the expectation that all of those different things had to happen in one night.
Some women do want to explore the sexual connection more but they don’t feel ready to have sex yet, so one thing that can help is releasing the expectation that everything has to happen all at once.
It’s ok for you to slow down, allow sexual tension to build, and explore other options together.
Another way to feel empowered in sex is having the mindset that other people’s intentions or expectations don’t matter if you don’t want to do something.
Many women have shared with me the fear that a guy will come over and think they are going to have sex when she is not feeling ready yet.
That is simply not relevant to your decision at all.
He probably does want to have sex with you because you’re attractive and he wants to have sex.
That’s completely irrelevant information. It has no factor at all in whether or not you will have sex.
And it’s not your responsibility to soothe the other person if they’re disappointed or frustrated.
In fact, if they’re not respectful, understanding, and patient when it comes to you slowing things down then that’s an instant deal breaker.
Making empowered decisions when it comes to sex is not just about wanting it or not wanting it.
That’s part of it. If you don’t want it, then part of making an empowered decision is paying attention to that and not having sex when you’re not ready.
The other part of empowerment is making sure the emotional conditions you need to feel comfortable having sex are met.
Some of those conditions might be knowing that they’re not sleeping with other people, having a certain level of emotional investment from them, knowing them for a certain amount of time, or feeling a certain level of integration in your lives.
You have to decide what the emotional conditions are for you and don’t let other people tell you that you shouldn’t need them.
They are just as important as your general feeling of readiness to have sex with somebody.
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This content was originally published on the Women's Dating and Confidence Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.