Waiting For Sex: for how long?

Dear Duana,

I bought ‘em—the cultural messages that men and women are the same, the double standard is unfair, if you want to have sex you should, you’ll lose the guy if you hold off…  But now I think I’ve ruined a shot at love and marriage by treating sex casually.    

So, for the first time, I’m Waiting.  And during the wait, I’ve begun falling for Neal, who shares my interests, values and desire for a committed relationship.  We’ve now been out seven times, and ended each date with nothing beyond a kiss…or two.  (Okay, maybe ten.)    

My question is, how long should I wait before sex?  I want this man.  And not just for now.    



Dear Rosemary,

Perhaps we should call you Sage, because you’ve found your inner wisdom. 

Scientifically, Waiting is such a huge long-term Win, it’s amazing we women ever fell for the Sexual part of the Revolution. 


For instance, as *many* Love Science articles (linked below my signature) have shown,  Waiting is a big Win to:

Create clarity. Men’s inherited mating mind pursues Now & Later sexual strategies simultaneously.  Thwarting the Now aspect makes it really clear, really fast, to *both* of you whether or not he thinks you’re worth waiting for.  No?  Next! 

Lose Mr. “Right-Now”.  The Cad’s emphasis on getting some will propel him towards easier prospects, much as your door lock propels the burglar towards an unprotected home. 

Enhance your appeal to Mr. Right.  The Dads, as scientists call them, seek long-term love and intentionally *don’t* play the field.  They’re a catch, and –even better- - they want to get caught up in Mrs. Right.

But.  They will still usually say yes to early sex if you make it available. 

Don’t do it.  Mr. Right cares *a lot* about the future fidelity your Waiting predicts.  Statistically speaking, he should; if he’s wrong, you could later cheat and have Dad raising Cad’s kids…as is occurring in up to 10% of births today.

Increase your status.  You’re so desirable, you can afford to Just Say No.  You don’t let just anyone into your, um, club!  And that, my dear, is sexy. 

Assist you both in healthy long-term bonding.  The biochem of the build-up (aka Waiting) enhances emotional bonds for everyone.  But *unless the man is sexually inexperienced*,  immediate sex usually attaches only the woman to her lover—even when she’s avidly seeking only short-term sex!—, while assisting men’s post-orgasmic *de*tachment.   

Foster commitment: As I may have mentioned a few dozen times in prior articles, the #1 reason young men say they delay marriage is the easy availability of sex sans commitment. 


So, Waiting is a good thing.  But for how long? 


Short answer:

I don’t know.  Nobody does—not empirically, anyway.  As many Wise Readers correctly opined, there is no specific Number of days or dates that fits all relationships. 


Intermediate answer:

Love is a reliable sign around the globe that men are committed—heart and soul and body and briefcase—not just for today or tomorrow, but for always.   

That’s why women value their partner’s love so much!  It’s the most valuable thing a man can give. 

And once given, men’s love tends to last longer than women’s.  Men who are in love are also less likely to break off a relationship at any stage than women are.  And they get over the break-up more slowly.  (Men, please feel free to gloat about the contents of this paragraph.) 


Upshot?  You are safe(r) giving yourself sexually once Neal has given himself emotionally.   


Long answer: 

It depends on…


—Your religions and values and ages, oh my:

In my opinion, if *either* person is conservatively religious or committed to abstinence as a value system, it makes sense to wait as long as you can both tolerate waiting.  And then to wait a little longer still. 

(Unless the wedding has occurred.  Then get busy, already!) 

To do otherwise is to risk alienation from your/his sense of honor and your/his community.  And communities are important to long-term love’s success, whether or not we wish to acknowledge that.  It’s a research-backed fact. 

Also, if either of you is under age 25, it’s best to wait as long as possible; as young people have greater numbers of partners, their likelihood of sustaining faithful and long-term relationships plummets, and it’s likely there’s some causality here.  For instance, some scientists think sleeping around de-sensitizes young people’s understanding that Relationships & Fidelity Are A Big Deal


However, if you’re over age 25 or so, your prefrontal cortex has done its thang and your understanding is already shaped; and if neither of you is immersed in a tradition where abstinence is expected —as I’m surmising from your letter—, then sex during courtship is part of the cultural norm. 

In which case, you need to examine his expectations. 


—His expectations:

Word on the street has it that most older, experienced men expect sex to happen around Date 3, which you are now well beyond.  Is Neal pressuring you to go past first base? 

If not, don’t make the move yourself, because your High-Status/Fidelity Stock is headed for a dive if you’re easier than he is. 


If he *is* pushing for greater sexual involvement, though, keep reading. 


—His level of commitment to you:

Does Neal love you?  Can you tell by what he says and how he does? 

Women all over the world know how to Tell; chances are you do, too.  You inherited this ability from your mother, and hers, and hers, and hers…

If Neal doesn’t love you yet, hold off sexually.  You’re in unsafe territory and can easily be shifted from Mrs. Right to Ms. Right Now.


But if nothing—not religion, not culture, not values, not age, not mutual sexual willingness, not lack of love—stands in your way—then what? 

Then, Sage Rosemary, here’s my best advice: 


Wait until Neal has shown *in word and deed* that he loves you,

has point-blank asked you to be his girlfriend,

has said he won’t date anyone else,

and has asked you not to date anyone else, either. 


Then—if you love him in return—you’ve probably Waited long enough. 





 Related Love Science articles (references for scientific statements in this post found therein):


If this article intrigued, surprised or enlightened you, please click “Share Article” below to link it with your favorite social media website. 

All material copyrighted by Duana C. Welch, Ph.D. and Love Science Media, 2010


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Reader Comments (21)

Love your articles!

This one sheds light on my past, and hope on my daughter's future.

I'm wondering ... Once the deed has been done, is there any backtracking ...? In other words, what of the woman who has already said "yes" and regrets it? Is it then too late to take sex off the table ... or wherever? :)

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGillian

Dear Duana,

Interesting & eye-opening article. Great & educational read. Because nowadays sex is often experienced at very young ages, the loving & emotional bond that is shared by two mature adults, is lost. Teenagers who engage in sexual activity No wonder the divorce rate is 50%. Sexual desire is innate in almost all humans, & ignoring the urge to act on this desire is even more difficult, especially if you are falling in love with this person, & they are HOT!! ;) But, as u stated, a woman needs to hold off as soon as find a husband that will unconditionally love you.

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Lucio

I completely disagree with Laura above, except insofar as the US is full of religious conservatives and religions, values and ages do matter. A recent study of sexual behaviors across cultures showed, among many other things, that in the Netherlands, two-thirds of teenagers are allowed sleepovers with their long-term boyfriends or girlfriends. There, the study writes, "moral rules cast sexuality as a part of life that should be governed by self-determination, mutual respect, frank conversation, and the prevention of unintended consequence." And in that environment, there is vastly less unwanted pregnancies, STDs, and other negative consequences we associate with teenagers having premarital sex. I find that to be very consistent with what you wrote about sleeping around. If we as parents model mature sexuality, and we allow our children to grow and explore safely with self-determination, respect, and conversation, then I think we would achieve much better outcomes rather than letting them trying to figure it all out by themselves on the sly.

September 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCurtis

I like the article, but I don't understand what a prefrontal cortex is, or why it would make a difference in how long a person should wait. Do you think people need to wait until they're actually 25 to have sex? That seems unrealistic to me.

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKendra

Hi, Gillian,

I receive letters on a regular basis from women who realize, belatedly, that having sex too soon changed a man’s interest level in them—for the worse. Although the guy sometimes bolts, he often stays around, because hey: Free sex. It’s contrary to most men’s inherited *and* socialized mating psychology to say no to that. It’s the Commitment part that gets eschewed—and that’s the fear the women who write in are having.

So, instead of answering your question, then, I’m here publishing the full version (edited to protect privacy) of a letter I received about that very thing—and the answer I sent back to her. Warning: Because this is a direct response, it is based on science, but it does not contain scientific references (for those, the LS articles linked above will all answer nicely). And because it is in the direct style I’d use with a client, it is *not* PC—not at all. It is, though, accurate:

Dear Duana,

“I met a guy on Valentine's Day (through an online dating service), and we really hit it off. He is an amazing kisser, a complete gentleman (pays for everything, opens doors, whole nine), a VERY successful businessman 12 years older than me, and he really admires me and my pursuit of my career.

“Problem is, we couldn't resist having sex on only the SECOND date, which was this past Saturday!!! We had had a bit too much wine, and I stupidly went to his apartment because he had flowers that he wanted to give me, one thing led to another, and the sex was NOT good- mostly I think because it was just too soon.

“It really ended up feeling like a hook-up. I didn’t stay over, because I needed to get back to a friend’s house and didn’t want to have a discussion about it with her.

“The next day he and I laughed about it, and agreed that it was too soon..

“As the day went on, I started to feel anxious because he wasn't really complimenting me or reassuring me about his attraction towards me, etc...He was not as attentive as he had been up until the sex happened. Also, that night, I saw that he had logged back onto the dating website.

“So I sent him a text saying that I had fun, but didn't think we were a good match, and I wished him the best. Men are supposed to pursue US actively, right? He couldn't understand why I didn't want to see him anymore, and said I was making a mistake. The next day I changed my mind and we talked over the phone about how I felt that he just lost attraction/respect for me, how the sex was not good, and that he had been back on the site...he said he didn't want to smother me, that he still really likes me and wants to see me and keep getting to know me, and that he checks the site out of curiosity. He has called and texted every day this week, and we have plans for Saturday night. I really like him, but I want to be with someone who is always going to express their feelings towards me and make me feel sexy, beautiful, you think I should continue to see this guy?? Or is it pretty much doomed because of the early sexual activity???”

My response:

Dear Ingrid,

I have to hand it to you--you're doing a lot right. Some stuff not so much, but mostly--yes, right. And no, I don't think your relationship is necessarily doomed.

Right Stuff:

--Being in touch with your mating psychology; YES, they're supposed to pursue us. A man we must pursue is *not* worth having. He Who Must Be Dragged through the courtship is the antithesis of the loving, willing and able provider and protector. “Able” without the other two aspects is painful and, frankly, it can be dangerous.

--Connecting with your emotions that he wasn't helping you feel safe after the sex (he ramped the attention down just when you needed it turned up) and trusting those emotions.

--Realizing having sex this soon didn't feel right to you.

--Leaving rather than staying the whole night. Nothing says “Desperation” like clinging; you didn’t.

--Breaking up as soon as you got the first whiff that he'd lost any respect and/or interest.

And there's only one Not So Much part: Having sex too soon.

BUT, since you are comparatively young and hot (a decade plus = power on your side), you may be able to get by unscathed. On the other hand, he's rich ( = power on his side), so you must toe the gender line more with him than with a man of lower Catnip For Women status.

Here's what I'd advise now to save this emerging relationship so you can figure out if it's got staying power--and feel wonderful while so doing:

At the beginning of the very next date, at a point when you two are in no danger of having sex (such as in the middle of dinner in, one hopes, a public locale!), tell him something along these lines:
"I like you, but I barely know you, and I'm not ready to date you exclusively; sex makes a relationship exclusive and serious too quickly, at least for me. So let's just keep getting to know each other, and leave the sex out of it until we're both really sure we don't want to date others. Okay?"

(He might say he's can then smile very sweetly and say that you're not there just yet. Because, let’s face it—you’re not.)

What this short speech does for you:

--It’s honest. Most women can’t continue dating around while having sex with a guy, and you’re not ready for a mini-marriage/monogamous commitment to this man.

--It keeps you from wasting a lot of time and emotion being prematurely committed to a guy who could be wrong for you;

--It prevents him from being convinced he’s Got you, so he doesn’t have to pursue or court you anymore. Which is Wrong For You, and does nothing for *him* either, emotionally, if he really wants to fall in love.

--Puts you one-up, because you’re effectively saying that not only aren’t you having more sex with him (yet), you’re back on the mating market and open to dating other men. Which you should be.
Men are born, raised, and work in lives permeated by hierarchy. At the start, if you’re one-down, kiss anything worthwhile long-term goodbye. On the other hand, *your* being one-up lets him figure out whether he emotionally connects with being Lucky to have you, and whether you’re worth polishing the antlers and doing battle for.

--Reassures him of two things nearly EVERY man wants to know: You're a good paternity risk (you're effectively communicating that you don't sleep around and that this is atypical behavior for you, as indeed I hope it is); and you're high-status. He's already high-status, so you can bet your sweet a$$ he's status-driven and won't settle for less than someone he knows to be a total catch (as indeed he should not!).

--Gives you your power back. Which feels oh-so-much more secure than waiting for a guy you barely know to “lend” it back to you, right?

Ingrid, I think you could have blown this if you had clung to him like an ivy vine, but you didn't cling. You bolted, which was the thing to do. And with the repair advice above, this could turn around. Let me know--I wish you all the best.


September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDuana

Great article!!

There is also a book called Think Like a Man, Act Like a Woman, and its hillarious and has a lot of truth at the heart.
There was a section in there about the 90-wait for benefits (like you would for a job)
Your job requires you to work and PROVE yourself worthy of any and all benefits offered. I think you see where I'm going with this.

Anyways, hope this helps someone, it gave me a huge sigh of clarity and relaxation, and my boyfriend and I are now in a happily committed relationship and are still waiting until the right time.

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter90 Day Trial Period

Duana - What a splendid and thorough response!

Does anyone ever tell you thank you for publishing such fab advice? From the quality of this site and your work, I know it must take a ton of time and effort. Love your expertise, talent, compassion, and wit. Your readers and contributors are fab, too. Let me go on the record with one ginormous THANK YOU!

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGillian

Referencing the quote below, How is it dangerous to be with a man who is able to provide, but not loving or willing? Do you mean a risk of battered women?

Right Stuff:

--Being in touch with your mating psychology; YES, they're supposed to pursue us. A man we must pursue is *not* worth having. He Who Must Be Dragged through the courtship is the antithesis of the loving, willing and able provider and protector. “Able” without the other two aspects is painful and, frankly, it can be dangerous.

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPanda 5

Yep. Everything that you told Ingrid about men sounds on-target to me. And I are wun, so I shud no.

I only spel bad when actively thinking about <redacted> . . . ;-)

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Maybe it's just me. When I really, really dig a woman and she shows that she is into me . . . it's hot and it's fun even with our clothes *on*. The sex becomes the icing, not the whole cake. And I like cake. Even *more* than I like icing. If I already have icing, I'm eventually going to want to find some cake, somewhere (anywhere).

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Dear Laura,

Thank you for support in this article. Although I am fully in favor –from a research-backed and personal stance—of men and women finding somebody to love for life, and although I appreciate your comment and its acknowledgement of how hard waiting can be--, I feel that I must clarify this:

I am not saying women should wait as long as possible to have sex as a rule, nor that a great lifemate can only be found by waiting as long as possible. Science is, in my reading of it, not saying that, either.

Instead, what we’re saying is to

a) honor your culture to the extent you and he embrace it

b) honor your youth if you or he still possess it ;) …and

c) if your cultures are permissive and your youth is blown, make sure you wait until the guy has broached exclusivity and demonstrated his love.

For some relationships, this is a far cry from a long wait (or even a long-as-possible wait). The key isn’t the length of the wait—but the proof that the Wait Is Over because it’s emotionally safe to go ahead. And it's not the length of time, but the strength of Commitment that creates that safety.

For instance, research I’ve already covered about cohabiting shows that the longer two people live together prior to marriage, and the more people they’ve lived with, the greater the chances that they'll be unhappily wed and that they'll later divorce. The never-cohabited fare better in both regards.

BUT. There *is* a group who can cohabit without Paying A Price, and that’s people who are already engaged when they move in. They are having sex—but they’re already utterly Committed to one another.

The critical variable, then, doesn’t seem to be how much time has elapsed or whether sex ever occurred pre-maritally—but how Committed both people are.

Although that usually takes a while, some people are Committed quickly. For them, they might not need to wait long at all.

September 9, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Hi, Curtis,

Thank you for the interesting and valid cross-cultural information about the USA versus the Netherlands’ treatment of sexuality in young adults/teens. Many studies have tried to unravel apparent disconnections between our teens’ sexuality and the sexuality as expressed by teenagers in various European countries, because the USA fares so poorly despite being frankly more prudish.

For instance, as of now, 39% of births take place between partners with no permanent commitment here in the USA, at absolutely enormous emotional, fiscal and physical costs to the resulting children, their parents, their grandparents, and society. This is partially explained by the ironic fact that American kids have less sex than European kids, but the latter are much likelier to use birth control and behave in a mature fashion about their sexuality, taking into account many possible emotional and physical possibilities.

And, as covered in a former LS column, that maturity and lack of negative consequence is largely due to the manner in which parents impart their values; here, although kids want their parents to take an active role in telling them everything about birth control, it rarely happens. Instead, misinformation is The Rule, abstinence is the only option spoken of much of the time, and, well—as Laura noted, utter abstinence is aimed at much oftener than achieved.

In Europe, parents usually feel remiss in failing to shepherd their children through sexual transitions as they would any other major life transition. Helping kids become responsible sexual beings is part and parcel of the parenting job description there; it's not One Talk and it's not Just Talks.

Although Americans often take this to mean the Europeans think anything goes sexually, that’s not the case—Europeans simply are, on a grand scale, much likelier to say exactly what they expect, including how to avoid disease and heartbreak and how to behave with integrity and responsibility in a sexual relationship. The expectations voiced usually involve a) *carefully* picking *one* sexual partner and b) staying with that one sexual partner exclusively and c) protecting oneself in many regards in that relationship.

In this, the USA could—and again, this is data-backed—truly stand to emulate rather than lead.

In other words: Rock on, you’re right, and thanks for an insightful and data-driven contribution.

September 9, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Hi, Kendra, nice to hear from you, and thanks for a spot-on question or two.

The prefrontal cortex (PC) is the portion of the cerebral cortex located in the frontmost part of your brain, behind your forehead, and it is hugely important because it’s What Makes You YOU. It’s the grey-matter repository of your personality, planning, judgment, morality, inhibitions. It’s what keeps you from laying hands on the really H-O-T individual who just passed you in the hall, much as you might fancy him/her.

And it’s not finished developing until we’re 25.

This has many implications. Most important for this discussion, it means that people are often not really great judges of the long-term impact of their actions before they reach that age, and it also means external influences have much greater impact before age 25 than after.

It’s why you can’t rent a car before you’re 25—the sense of immortality is not present until this brain area finishes ‘cooking’, and people often take needless risks;

it’s why some universities are okay with faculty-student sexual relationships *only* if both parties have surpassed the age of 25;

it’s why marriages in the teens fail at a rate of 90% in the culture at large unless the parents and subculture are hugely involved in helping ‘raise’ the newlyweds;

it’s why violence and sex are so much more impactful for young folks than older people.

It's even, I think, why we place so much importance on how and with whom virginity is given. It's almost always given before age 25--when it will be highly impactful!

Short form? The world and your experiences in it change the developing brain, and those changes can be life-long in their effect on your future. And that's why the PC matters.

For instance, violent video games have been proven to cause violent behavior in male minors (experimental proof, no wussy correlations here!); but adults post-finished-PC aren’t impacted much.

Likewise, casual sex at an early age is in all likelihood more influential than it would be at later ages. So, as research I’ve covered elsewhere records, women who’ve had a larger number of sexual partners in their teens are much likelier to have affairs later, compared to women who had one or two (or zero) sexual relationships while young.

Upshot? I agree with you, 25 is unrealistic for most people as a target age for abstinence. (I find it quite humorous that of the people I’ve met who insist on abstinence ‘til marriage—and they expect marriage to be delayed ‘til the mid-20’s—none of them abstained that long themselves!)

Any look at the data shows people historically and currently haven’t gone for the Abstinence Only plan too well…at least, not for that long. Indeed, it defies a mating psychology that was formed when 25 might be about 2/3rds of a person's lifespan...if you were lucky.

Instead, for health and happiness, Science would suggest delaying the age of first intercourse; limiting the number of partners to a minimum; and practicing emotional and physical care within those very few relationships.

(Again, Curtis—the #1 predictor of how long kids wait, and how many partners they have, and whether they behave maturely, is Parental Involvement! Thanks for giving me the chance to say it again!)

September 9, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Dear 90-Day Trial Period,

Thank you for sharing your experience, and kudos on your burgeoning relationship!

I have not read the book to which you referred, but I might, given your recommendation.

The issue I usually have with books like that is that they're rarely based off anything but opinion; and opinion, even from someone logical or well-educated or experienced or intelligent--is just so often wrong.

So what usually happens when I do read these books is this: I find some of the information is supported empirically, some isn't, and it's impossible (if you don't already know the science) to tell the difference.

That said, there are some opinion-only books that I find to be largely supported--some are even almost alarmingly simple and insulting, such as "The Rules". (I think if I'd known the science when *that* was pub'd, I could have made good use of it myself! Alas, it was written in words no self-respecting woman of her own aspirations could stomach...)

Anyway, thank you for giving me something to chew on. I just might have to start doing a popular-book review here and there...

Come again!

September 9, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Hi, Gillian,

How very kind and thoughtful of you; you made my day.

Readers do send private thank-you's from time to time, and they always make me feel like the million bucks I don't make writing this blog :). Sometimes, I'll go on Amazon and see a new positive review of Love Science there, too, and feel this adventure of mine is making a difference. It's a tremendous joy and affirmation to see that.

Moreover, your contributions and those of the other Wise Readers who write in really help make LS what it is. I thank you for your time and talent and ideas.

Fortunately, Love Science is a labor of...well, of love. If you are finding it helpful, then I'm vastly rewarded. Thanks again.

September 9, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Dear Panda 5,

Welcome to Love Science! Nice to hear so many new voices on this thread.

In answer to your question, giving oneself away (physically and emotionally--but especially physically) can indeed be literally physically dangerous for a woman if she chooses a man who is unloving or unwilling to provide and protect.

Women everywhere hate (and I use that word meaningfully and with full impact intended) a man who can provide but just plain won't--who just plain doesn't love us--it's a horrible feeling. Better to be with the janitor who loves us heart and soul than the rich cad who is only in it for what he can get sexually from us.

In a future article, I plan to fully explore the Why of Why Love Has Always Existed (no, it was not invented by middle-English courtiers), and why it is so extremely vital, especially to women, in human mating.

For now, though, in sum: Women who insist upon burdening themselves with the Unloving or the Unwilling are indeed at risk of abandonment, assault, emotional abuse, destitution, and a host of other outcomes I would not wish upon mine enemies.

Love & Generosity: They're not just Good Ideas, they need to be Requirements.

September 9, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

I like the speech you have Ingrid. Also the answer about the prefrontal cortex. Can you give me some ideas for a little speech to say to my daughter? She will turn 13 this year in 7th grade. I told her about sex, I don't think she's done it, but she likes boys and I know she is tempted. I told her no dating until 16. If I tell her about the prefrontal cortex, well. She will roll her eyes. I would like to say abstinence until marriage (wouldn't we all?). But I can't live up to that, so how can she. People feel bad when they fail a standard anyway. I need a speech to tell her about these impacts you are instructing us, but I am feeling overwhelmed.

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPanda 5

Dear Panda 5,

As the mother of a daughter (and a son!), I can well-understand your angst. As it turns out, the worst policy seems to be saying nothing, followed by saying that abstinence is the only acceptable route (unless you give birth control information, fully, with it), followed by making One & Only One Talk. These three modes of dealing with kids' emerging sexuality have an ironic outcome: Kids become *more* likely to have sex sooner and with more partners.

As another Love Science column shows, what's needed now is Information. Frequent Information. From You. About not only the mechanics of sex--but Your Values and Expectations and aaaalll the info regarding birth control.

So I'm glad you're willing to give it and only need the right Information and advice to get started.

Please read this LS column and make sure to read all the comments afterwards, too; it will answer your questions about how to talk to your daughter about sex, how *not* to, and hopefully, it will give you confidence. Writing it changed my own parenting for the better--I hope reading it helps you, too.

Here's the link:

September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDuana

PS: Panda 5, a good introductory speech (not to be confused with The Talk, since there isn't Just One Talk), could be this:

"Honey, you're growing up and of course, you're starting to get interested in boys. I know this is something we haven't talked much about, but it's something we need to discuss anytime you have a question, and sometimes we'll need to talk about it even when you don't have a question.

"I've been shy about talking about sex with you, and I realize now that if you're going to grow up to have a happy relationship, it's my job as a parent to teach you about it. So I'm going to start talking with you about sex and relationships, even though it may be awkward for both of us.

"I've bought this book I'd like you to read as a starting place [see comments after article for suggestions]. Please look it over, and then we'll talk more. Okay?"

Your daughter may act as if she's above it all--but odds are, beneath the eye-rolling, she'll be relieved *you're* to be her guide. And you will be doing her one of the greatest services a parent can do.

September 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

I love the line on how women upgrade themselves using stall tactics - "You don’t let just anyone into your, um, club! And that, my dear, is sexy."
I like the other part also where female-talk strays into wondering if a man is serious... all I can say is when he's ready he will definitely tell you - you are for him and he is for you. I don't think there's as much second guessing with males they either are or they aren't - unless, they are leading you on to fill in for when something better comes along. That's the only potential threat to watch out for.

Plus, as women keep the wolves at bay during courtship men usually start to share descriptions of what they are fantasizing about exploring with a women. There's that old song playing in my head as I'm reading this, "It's In His Kiss," that says it right there. If he's enamored with you he will be taking whatever chance there is to eat you alive in a kiss, on the neck, hands through your hair, all while trying to entice you with intimate secrets he whispers privately into your ear.

The most affirming fact for men in this article is that it seems women wait on men to take the lead in taking dating to a higher level.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSPC Horrigan

Well observed, Mr. Horrigan--well observed! I particularly like your clarification that, "The most affirming fact for men in this article is that it seems women wait on men to take the lead in taking dating to a higher level." Yep. If men want things to go further, the ball is generally in their court. A way I often express this to clients is: Men have the right of pursuit; women, the right of refusal.

I'd also like to second Tom's idea that a guy loves the icing (sex), but will only stay for the long-term if there's cake (substance, not merely style) to go with it.

Too many of my female clients have assumed that if a man wants them for sex, he wants *them* (or that giving sex will make him want them and not just the sex). No--until some level of commitment is achieved, it can't be told whether he views her as the icing or the entire cake. And having sex too soon dramatically impacts the likelihood of being today's icing and nothing more.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDuana
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