Why I've imposed a one-month-before-sex rule

Oct 30, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. ET

Right after my separation from my ex, having been with the same person for over 20 years, I was ready to make up for lost time. I was faithful to the same man since I had been a teen, and my loyalty was rewarded with a tacky midlife affair. So, if the guy was young and hot and I had a few drinks, it was go time.

Couple having sex in bed

Whoa! Put the horse back in the barn

About the columnist:

You know how one minute you’re in a happy and fulfilling marriage and the next you find out that your husband of 20 years has been cheating on you with someone 10 years younger? Well I do. I went from country club wife and mother of high school students to a single, 39-year-old “cougar.” In this weekly feature, I will share with you all the mind-boggling, head-scratching, is-this-someone’s-idea-of-a-joke moments from my so-called single life. Consider this your private invitation to my tremendous learning curve…

I'm not bragging, and I'm not proud of that time in my life, I'm just telling you what my frame of mind was. That was fun while it lasted. After a bit though, I started to feel like the way I was behaving was inconsistent with who I was at my core. I wasn't a party girl in my 20s and I wasn't a horny cougar. I was still me. It was time to get back to my true self.

That didn't change how men viewed me of course. If they bought me dinner and enough alcohol, they thought they had at least an 80 percent chance of taking me home and turning me into a human pretzel.

Cool it dude

I never want to wake up years from now and have the number of men I've slept with to be bigger than my house number. I had to make some changes.

At first I implemented a two-week rule. You should have seen the look on the 28-year-old's face when I told him he'd have to wait 14 days before I got naked with him (assuming he passed my undefined litmus test). Once two weeks passed, and I decided he was "sex worthy," it was a dismal failure. (Maybe the pressure got to him?)

After that "relationship" went south (not surprisingly), I decided two weeks wasn't enough. Guys can hold a game face for a long time, but it's hard (though not impossible) to play games for a whole month.

The results

It's working. Sort of. If I really like the guy, it's hard for me to pull away after an intense make-out sesh. I'm very upfront about my self-imposed holding pattern and the men have been incredibly understanding.

Still, I haven't found Mr. Right. I'm still weeding through Mr. Right Nows. So while my count is staying down in a range where I'm comfortable, I don't know how truly effective this game plan is. To determine if my idea was completely half-baked and ill-founded, I reached out to relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, 30-Second Therapist from the Today Show. "Waiting to get to know someone before you become horizontal with him is always a good idea. When you jump into the sack too soon, you're too often wondering, "What was I thinking?" after you do get to know him. Save yourself grief in advance! But come on, can you really determine that in one month you'll know someone well enough to be intimate? Forget the timelines! Instead, determine if and when you feel safe enough to get naked with him. By that I mean emotionally safe. That and only that will determine how long to wait before you know whether having sex will really be making love!"

That seems like sound advice. I may have to tweak my timeline to suit the person I'm dating. Maybe some guys will be one month, maybe another might be a couple of weeks, maybe another will be six months!

More from Miss B. Haved

My most vengeful act against my ex
When is it OK to go to dinner with a married man?
Uh-oh. My ex’s girlfriend wants to be my friend