The Sex And
Dating Debate

Dating can be a minefield of questions and concerns whether you're on a first date, a third or you haven't even asked him out yet. That's why we're answering some of the most common dating questions with the help of some experts. This week we're talking about sex and how soon is too soon.

Couple looking at each other after sex

“If you have sex before you're ready, you'll ruin the chances of developing the relationship further, and you're setting yourself up for a really awkward morning after,” says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., (aka "Dr. Romance") psychotherapist and author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. She shared a few more reasons to wait for — rather than rush into — sex.

Sex too soon can cloud your judgment

When you decide to become intimate with someone is an important choice when it comes to dating. “Having sex too soon clouds your judgment and makes it difficult to make an intelligent choice of partner,” Tessina says. Jumping into bed right away can hinder the possibility of getting to know each other since your focus is now on sex — not on bonding in other (non-physical) ways. “If and when sex is right, it will happen. It's easy to have a one-night stand, but, if you want a relationship, you need to be more careful.”

It happened to her: “The last relationship I was in got physical really fast. I didn't think much about it or overanalyze it, but to be honest, things never really got off the ground intellectually or emotionally once we'd slept together. I really liked him on a lot of levels, but we never truly clicked if that makes sense.” Christina, Toronto, Canada

Waiting can improve your relationship in the long run

Waiting a while (at least several dates) before sleeping with someone gives you a chance to figure out how to be together in a way that works, or what Tessina refers to as forming some of the "infrastructure of a relationship" — basically an interest in each other that is more than just physical and immediate. “Waiting to have sex gives you a chance to develop the friendship/partner aspect of your relationship,” she explains.

It happened to her: The times where I've waited to have sex have mostly seemed to boost the relationship. Not always, but more often than not, both the sex and the relationship seem stronger when I've taken some time to really get to know the person I'm going to sleep with.” Kirsty, Fort Worth, Texas

Anticipation can be sexy

Sexual attraction won't go away if you get to know each other and let's face it, if it does, then that connection was pretty insubstantial to begin with. Plus, waiting a few dates can have its perks. “The suspense of abstaining can really up the intensity of sex when it finally does happen,” affirms Tessina. “If you eliminate the mystery too soon, you may also eliminate any future for this relationship.”

It happened to her: “I find that when I sleep with a guy right away, while it seems fun and adventurous, it can actually make sex less awesome in the long run. My current boyfriend and I waited a while to have sex because we were trying the just-friends thing first, and when we finally slept together, it was a lot more electric because of the build-up.” Ally, Chicago, Illinois

The bottom line

If you've been dating for a while, and you've had a chance to bond a little, go for it. “If the interest feels mutual and not one-sided, if you survived a disagreement and worked it out, if you feel mutual respect and caring, then you probably have enough foundation to take the risk of being sexual,” Tessina says.

More about dating

Real love story: Finding love on Flickr
Moving in with him: How to work from home together
Tips for a first date that will ensure a second date


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Comments on "Dating questions answered: How soon is too soon for sex?"

donna September 26, 2013 | 9:01 AM

If you wanted something with him, you would find a way (like being at his house instead of the store). The man has chased you around long enough and he finally opened up to you ually and you humiliated him. I think you and your bible need to get together and leave human men alone so that they can have a satisfying and fulfilling relationship with a real woman. FYI: The Easter bunny and the Tooth Fairy don't exist either!!! You're an idiot.

bob September 15, 2013 | 12:53 PM

@ Nancy - I think he just felt that because you hadn't seen each other in a while it was his way to show he was still thinking of you and decided to take the plunge and get *kinky* , especially with the naughty boy comment. I personally wouldn't mind *after reading what you said and trying to put myself in the same mind frame*, id be glad that he still thought of me in that way especially since he is in and out of surgery and in pain it shows that you are what/who he thinks about most to get through to seeing you again.

Heart August 09, 2013 | 1:38 PM

He wants to be intimate with you. (What kind of site blocks out these words? lol)

Heart August 09, 2013 | 1:37 PM

apparently, I can't write the S E X word, but that's probably what he wants.

Heart August 09, 2013 | 1:36 PM

He wants to have with you, Nancy.

Nancy July 20, 2013 | 7:09 PM

I don't know if anyone had this situation. I started dating someone a man back in january. He was just about everything I wanted. We went on a few dates and then he developed a heart condition. We didn't see each other as he had several surgeries and had to recover. He would call me and I would talk to him to allieveiate his pain. We still text and call each other. He finally went back to work but we have different schedules. I work in the day and he works at nights. We still talk and text when we can. We sometimes flirt over the phone or in our texts. We hit it off. I like him because he is religious and a family man who has grandkids. He doesn't put me down because I am religious as my ex-husband did. He is very sweet and kind and gives me the feed back I had not gotten from my ex-husband. We are texting and I am in a store and he is at home. Suddenly, he says he is a naughty boy. I said why, thinking he would say that he went off his diet or something and he sends me a picture of him pleasuring himself. To say the least, I was shocked and told him so. He said he would never do that again. I would like to think what some of you think of this. from Nancy

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