Here’s the situation: You’re on a promising first date with someone you’re really into. In fact, things are going so well that you’re actually getting kind of worried that it’s going to be you who screws things up, butchering your chance at a second date. The chemistry is off the charts, and she hasn’t done anything horrific like cry about her ex, or subject you to a photo presentation of cute things her cat has done.Cut to the steamy make-out session that’s oh so conveniently happening right outside her place, and the thought of asking to come in and seal the deal is obviously crossing your mind.
But, will doing so ruin your chances at seeing her again? What if she’s totally down to do it too? And you know, she never typically does this type of thing, but the two of you have something really special going on here…
It is not easy to figure out the right time to have sex with someone new . Of course, there’s no exact science or set amount of time to hold out that’s going to guarantee that everything works out between the two of you. But experts and real women alike do have a lot of words of wisdom to offer on the subject.
Read on for some considerations to take when you’re trying to decide the right time to take a trip to pound town with a new partner.
1. When Science Says It’s Time
Regardless of your opinion on this topic, it’s hard to argue with science. As clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Manly explains, oxytocin, the feel good hormone that gets released when we do pleasurable things (like have sex) can actually end up wrecking relationships that are built solely on sexual pleasure. “When sexuality occurs early in a relationship, the relationship becomes based on the unconscious addiction to the highs of the neurochemicals that are created during sex and orgasm,” she explains.
“When these levels fall off as sexuality declines (or in between times of sexuality), the partners may associate the negative feelings (sadness, depression, loneliness) with their partner. The partners then may come to unconsciously avoid or blame their partner for these feelings.” Ever have a hookup buddy who started to make you feel more alone than you did than when the two of you weren’t boning? Blame science. “If a relationship is built upon sexuality (as many relationships are), the relationship may not last after the first six to 12 month period. Indeed, unless couple is in frequent and ongoing contact for the first six to 12 months, they may ultimately find that they are not attracted to the actual person once the ‘masks of infatuation’ are removed.”
So when should we be getting our private parts involved here? “When sexual intimacy is delayed for at least three to six months, the couple then has a foundation that can become augmented by the passion of sexuality,” says Dr. Carla.
“When the early stages of infatuation are built upon friendship and common interests rather than sex itself, the couple consciously and unconsciously create ways to maintain healthy connections without relying on the highs of the sex neurochemical roller coaster ride. Rather than being attracted and ‘temporarily bonded’ by sexuality and the flood of neurochemicals brought on by sex and orgasm, a strong friendship builds dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin by sustainable and ongoing connection (ex: Laughing, walking, exercising together, cooking together, etc.).” Basically, spend the early months of your relationship doing anything other than Netflix and chill.
2. When You’ve Connected On Other Levels
“I made my (now husband) wait three months before giving it up,” says Michelle, 35. “We met in our early 30’s and he already had a daughter, and I didn’t want to be involved with him in a personal way like that until I was really sure that we were compatible in other ways. I told him this off the bat, and he never pressured me to give it up. In fact, taking sex off the table in this way really opened us up to come up with interesting ways to spend time together other than pounding drinks at the bar with the goal of getting drunk enough to take our clothes off in front of each other — which is what dating in my 20s had been like. We both loved to cook (we’re both Italian), so we signed up for a weekly pasta-making class together. Having homework to do together that involved grocery shopping and working alongside each other to problem solve each dish really brought us closer together. When we did finally do the deed, our chemistry (and pent up sexual tension) was off the charts.”
3. Whenever You Feel Like It
According to sexologist Dr. Jess O’Reilly, the timing of having sex with someone new is fair game whenever — as long as you’re both on board, and have established this prior to the shag session. “What’s most important when deciding when to have sex for the first time with a new partner is that you’re both on board,” she says.
“You don’t want to pressure a partner and you don’t want to play a game to make your partner wait. Compatibility matters and sexual compatibility should be addressed from the onset. If you want sex right away because you see it as a primal act void of emotion and your partner wants to wait until you’re committed or ready to move in together, it’s likely that you’re not sexually compatible. Though sexual compatibility is something that you cultivate (as opposed to something you simply find in a partner), some people’s sexual values are simply too divergent. You’re lucky to discover this early on so that you can decide to move on or work on it right away.”
4. When You’re On An Incredible First Date
Yes, sex on a first date is a thing.
“I had sex with my husband of five years the day we met,” says Sofia, 37.
“Granted, we were on a coffee date that turned into a brunch date, and before I knew it I was agreeing to come with him to his haircut appointment because we didn’t want it to end. You would think that sitting in a barber shop with someone you had literally just met, and watching them have something done that’s so personal would feel strange. But honestly, I just sat there with him feeling like we had done this very same thing many times together in another life. After the haircut we were hungry again, so we had dinner. The night ended with us doing it on the fire escape of the venue that my little brother’s band was playing at that night. I don’t think it’s a timing thing as much as a person thing. If you’re on a date with the person who’s ‘the one,’ it doesn’t matter if you sleep with them on date five or fifty.”
5. When The Important Milestones Are Hit
Lisa Concepcion, love strategist and founder of LoveQuest, offers an alternate approach to the right timing for having sex with someone new: Instead of putting a set number of dates or timeline on it, figure out what you really want in a potential long term partner — and don’t give it up unless those important factors are hit.
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“I had a male client who was stuck in an inability to get beyond 90 days of dating a woman,” she says. “It wouldn’t stick. When I made him get clear on who his ideal woman was he got really honest. He admitted he wanted a woman who knew how to cook. He wanted a woman who had a solid group of friends, because he felt that he could tell a lot about a woman by the company she keeps. He had a dog that he had rescued, and found that women would date him but treat the dog as an annoyance. So I told him, ‘No sex until she cooks for you, you meet her friends and she hangs out with your dog.’ Within two weeks from that session he met a great girl he was really excited about. Within the first date he learned that she had great friends — most that were educated with good careers. She too had a dog, and had purposely raised it to be social so it would get along with other dogs. And she loved to cook. When you focus on what’s wanted, the law of attraction serves it up. Within the first two weeks he took her out along with their dogs to a park to play and walk around. She offered to bring snacks. They were homemade and delicious. She even made dog treats! He said it was the best date he had been on in a decade. They went out four more times, and then they went on a group outing. She invited her friends and he did the same. Everyone got along. All of this momentum, and they hadn’t even slept together yet.”