Dating is kind of a dying ritual, isn’t it? These days, what’s considered “dating” is often a group of people hanging out together and then splintering off into pairs at the end of the night. Granted, this style takes a lot of the pressure off, but the group dynamic is the king of dating cop outs. It just doesn’t allow for that intimate but awkward getting-to-know-you kind of shit that one guy and one girl (or whatever combination of that floats your boat) going to dinner and a movie delivers. And even when we do go on one-on-one dates, it’s usually coffee with someone we met online—picked out of a catalog and pre-screened for your protection. So it’s hard enough to even be able to identify what constitutes a date and what doesn’t, much less when it’s “OK” to have sex.
I asked a friend of mine, a female marriage and female therapist (who’s hot as balls, by the way), how long she thought people should date before having sex. Her answer was six months, and she had that shit locked and loaded. No “depends on the situation,” no “when both parties are comfortable” or any stipulations like that. Just “six months.” Well, in addition to being super hot, I think she’s a great therapist and an extremely intelligent and empathetic person, but six months? Blow that noise. I practically laughed in her face before I realized she was serious.
Well, in my opinion, that’s extremely unrealistic. For me, the answer is two to three weeks, or a handful of dates—just long enough to know you’re interested in pursuing something long term with this person, but not so long that the withholding of sex becomes its own issue. We talked it out for a while, and our reasoning was more or less the same, but our timetables were way different. We agreed that sex too soon was always a bad idea; we just couldn’t find the middle ground on what constituted “too soon.”
Another thing we agreed on was that the woman should serve as the gatekeeper. I’m sure that seems like a double standard, and it is, so go off on me if you must, but the truth is it’s really the only workable solution. Guys are perpetually horny, and while we’re capable of stopping things before they go too far, it takes a degree of willpower that few of us possess. Women, on the other hand, are very practiced at the art of not going all the way. They have to be. If they weren’t any better at it than we are, they’d have banged pretty much every guy they’ve ever met in their entire lives. So take the lead on that one, ladies. We’ll pay you back by opening the pickle jars.
See, as much as guys want sex, when we get it, it does change our opinion of the woman afterwards. If we didn’t have to work very hard for it, then, well… our opinion of you usually goes south. Now, you can choose not to care about that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. But if we have to wait until we know you a little better, connect with you on emotional and intellectual levels, then sex amplifies that connection. We feel like you’re discerning, that you place at least comparable value on what many of us view as the pinnacle of human existence, and therefore we must be pretty special to be let into your garden of eternal happiness. So, holding out a little while not only makes us feel better about you, it makes us feel better about ourselves. Everybody wins!
Now that’s not to say the ladies can’t go out and get laid from time to time. Why the hell not? We live in a post-SEX AND THE CITY world, after all. If you’re feeling lonely or just got out of a bad relationship and need a good pounding, that’s great. Hit the bars and take your pick—we’re there for you. But if you’re trying to build a relationship, try holding out a while.
But not six months.