Once you meet someone you’ve connected with intellectually and emotionally, you often start to wonder when the time would be right to take things to the next level and proceed to a physical relationship. However, determining an appropriate timeline for sexual expression with someone you care deeply about can be tricky. When is the right time to demonstrate our love in this way? The Cheat Sheet reached out to Lisa Concepcion, relationship expert and founder of LoveQuest Marketing, to get her take on how to decide when the time is right.
The Cheat Sheet: Generally, how long should couples wait to have sex?
Lisa Concepcion: It’s not really a matter of time as much as it is a matter of data collection. Meaning, you want to get clear on what you are looking for in a partner, then determine if the person possesses those qualities before things get physical. When you are in the moment on a date and you’re attracted to the person physically, it’s easy to be swept up in romance. This is when it is most important to hit the brakes. Having sex too soon isn’t healthy to body, mind, or soul.
At the very least, I’d suggest three to six dates before having sex. Make the most of your time together and find out as much as possible about this person. I remind my female clients that they spend more time deciding on a handbag, shoes, or lipstick than whether or not to share their body, mind, and soul with a man they know for a short amount of time. Also, keep in mind the waiting can be part of the buildup. It’s sexy! When you’re actively looking to spend time together and there’s an ease and a natural progression, then it’s OK to explore sex. If there are too many games, too much of a lag in communication, and it feels off, best to hold off on sex. If you’re dating for fun, then have fun! However, if a serious commitment is what you seek, then it’s best not to lead with sex.
CS: Does the timeline change if you knew each other for a long time (e.g. you were best friends or co-workers)?
LC: Sure, because you have already have built rapport. You know each other. However, you know each other in a different context. I still suggest allowing time to learn more about the person in the context of dating. Sex can add a level of connection and expectation that can either turn a friendship into a romantic partnership or could end the friendship. Communication is key. Is this a hook-up or does the person want commitment?
CS: What should you do if your date is pressuring you to change your sex timeline?
LC: Assure them that you do find them attractive, smart, or charming, but that you want to allow time to get to know each other better. Notice the language. You’re not making it about right and wrong and accusing the other person of being too aggressive. You value yourself too much to use your body like an amusement park. Pay attention to actions. If there’s too much emphasis on the sex, then sex is what they want most. If they want to genuinely spend time with you and get to know you, they’ll find ways to get around you. Sex will just be an added bonus to a fun, joyous relationship.
CS: How important is sex to a new relationship?
LC: Sex is very important in any relationship at all stages. However, in a new relationship you’re discovering each other. And when there is a lot of attraction and chemistry, it’s as if you cannot keep your hands off each other. This “sex during courtship” at the early stage of a relationship is usually the first 90 days. The start of the relationship is when you are learning how to communicate with one another with clothes on and off. If there’s friendship but the sex is a bit off, you may end the relationship and opt for friendship. If the sexual chemistry is off the charts but you don’t have anything to talk about, or want different things, then that may end it.
CS: Anything to add?
LC: Yes! When you make your relationship between you and you a top priority above all else, that is when you attract other happy, healthy, self-loving people. When you know there’s chemistry, tell the person you’re attracted to them and would like to get to know them more. Keep things positive and moving forward. When the opportunity comes to share yourselves physically, it will just feel right.
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