Thursday, September 6, 2012

How Long Should She Delay Sex?

On some occasions women ask me how long they should wait before having sex with a man they are dating.

Rules girls say three dates; one dating expert says three weeks; Steve Harvey advises three months.

For my part I belong to the Steve Harvey school; I also say three months.

I do not need to tell you, but women who hear the advice tend to react with horror. They see it as a symptom of my advancing age and a clear sign that I do not understand young people. Invariably, they ignore my advice.

Today’s reality being what it is, waiting three months or even three weeks before having sex feels wildly improbable, even impossible.

No man will stick around that long without having sex. And if his date says No, he will easily find someone else who will say Yes.

Contemporary dating customs dictate that a girl wait no longer than three dates before making the beast with two backs.

Waiting for three months before having sex feels to many women like a formula for terminal solitude.

Then again, when a woman wants to know how she can best achieve her goal of a long term relationship leading to marriage—like it or not, that is most women’s goal—then it is dishonest to tell her that it makes no difference whether she has sex sooner or later.

Cultural norms are a fickle mistress. No counselor should offer bad advice because he wants to appear to be young and hip. The best advice is often when clients do not want to hear, because they know it's true.

No one is suggesting that a few good relationships have not been founded on early sex, but those are the exception, not the rule. 

In any event, researchers from Cornell University have studied this question and have discovered that we were all wrong. If a woman is seeking a happy and fulfilling long-lasting marriage, she does best to refrain from consummating her love for six months.

Of course, it seems completely unrealistic. Wherever did they find modern young people who are capable of waiting six months for anything? Aren’t young people taught, as an article of faith, that they should not have to wait for anything, and that they should grab life by the throat and squeeze it as hard as they can.

The Daily Mail reported on the Cornell University study:

It seems mother was right after all. Relationships that start slowly are more satisfying in the end.

A study of hundreds of couples found those who waited to have sex were happier in the long-run.

Women particularly benefited from not leaping into bed at the first opportunity. Marriage also seemed to make them happier than co-habiting.

It continues:

Around a third of the men and women said they’d had sex within the first month of dating, while about 28 per cent waited at least six months, the Journal of Marriage and Family reported.

Analysis of the data clearly showed the women who had waited to have sex to be happier. And those who waited at least six months scored more highly in every category measured than those who got intimate within the first month. Even their sex lives were better.

It is worth mentioning, even if only in passing, that the rule only seems to apply to women. For reasons that all adults should know, sexually speaking, men and women are differently constituted.

As you might have guessed, feminists are torqued by this study. Witness the bilge offered by Amanda Hess at the DoubleX blog.

To her confused mind, a woman who has a happy marriage might, in her heart of hearts be unhappy. Because it does not satisfy her personhood!

In her words:

What the Daily Mail doesn't say is that half-year stretches of celibacy may make a woman more satisfied in a long-term relationship, but they don't necessarily make her a more satisfied person.

In the feminist life plan women are supposed to find happiness on their jobs, not in their relationships. This is convenient for feminists since an ideological commitment to their cause tends to be a relationship killer.

Hess points out, correctly, that not all women want long term relationships. Some don’t even want to get married.

If she is suggesting that women who sleep around are perfectly contented with their love lives, she is, as I see it, deluded.

Besides, if women are being pressured into having sex before they want to—which is a main reason why women have sex too early—then one reason is that a sufficient number of their sisters have been giving it away for free, thus skewing the marketplace.

Why don’t writers like Amanda Hess recommend that the women who are giving it away for free change their ways? Why do they always assume that women who want to get married need to act in a way that is not going to help them achieve their goals?

So, let’s say that this study is only relevant for women who want to marry, and whose minds are not saturated with ideology.

Why does deferred gratification seem to work better? Could it be that self-discipline and self-control are signs of good character? Could it be that a man who believes that women’s bodies are interchangeable is not a good relationship prospect?

I would add that if you wait before having sex with someone you will be having sex with someone you know. It’s not quite the same as having sex with someone you love. Falling in love can happen in far less than six months.

The Daily Mail reports on the reasons offered by the researchers:

The researchers said delaying sex gave couples time to get to know each other and work out just how compatible they were.

Without this period of courtship, judgment can be clouded, leading to couples falling into unfulfilling long-term relationships. The study’s authors said: ‘Precocious pre-marital sexual activities may have lasting effects on relationship quality.

‘Courtship is a time for exploration and decision-making about the relationship, when partners assess compatibility, make commitments and build on emotional and physical intimacy.


n.n said...

Exactly. Recognizing that the opportunity of dating is not simply about "friends with benefits" would go a long way to mitigate occurrences of irreconcilable differences. The differences exist, in part, because they are virtual strangers with a common desire for instant gratification, which they hope will occur without consequences and, unconsciously, without betrayals.

Wow. And people think that material greed is the exclusive or even principal source of all evil. There are causal factors of corruption which need to be addressed. While treating symptoms is a perpetually profitable enterprise, it does not lend itself to developing a viable relationship, family, or society.

Anonymous said...

I'm an odd duck virtually incapable of having sex (not "sleeping with") a woman I don't love. It worried and shamed me for a long time. I have no explanation. -- Rich

Anonymous said...

Funny, I just commented on another blog, the same answer as you, Stuart.
The longer you wait, the more you know the person, the fewer "notches" you wind up with.
In today's dating world, if you sleep with a person too early, you get caught up between the emotions that fake their way in during intimacy and the REAL feelings you are developing for that person. It is nearly impossible to differentiate. I think that if you have sex too soon with someone, you wind up staying LONGER with the wrong person, because you get caught up in the emotional chemistry that intimacy produces. You build that person larger than life, and then you overlook the REAL fit.
And if the man can't wait, then he wasn't the right one anyway.
I have done a lot of online dating, unfortunately. And I have purposefully weeded out a LOT of men by making them wait for dates. Actions speak way louder than words!! Those that really are wanting sex quickly weed out in two weeks. Those that are willing to wait will wait...
I've seen way too many men and women with the wrong people for way too long, and usually those couples started with "a bang".
Start slow, build up the chemistry...
Teach our daughters/nieces/nephews to have enough self-respect to do the same...

John said...

Mr. Right will wait. Mr. Wrong will not. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this.

Dennis said...

That which one gets with little effort is worth what was expended for it. Nothing. Ever notice that the parts of one's life that one most value is that which one had to work the hardest to attain?
One should never sell themselves for a low price or for free because that is what one is saying they are worth. No one respects that which is free. That is why children usually have more fun with the boxes instead of what was contained therein.

Fred Z said...

Ah well, no doubt the Gods of the copybook headings will shortly terminate this current immoral phase of western civilization by delivering ever more incurable STDs.

Already there are many instances of gonorrhea that are impervious to cephalosporin antibiotics, heretofore used as a quick cure.

We have forgotten that the principal reason for moral rules was often to keep people alive. Now wash your hands and keep your pants on, OK?

Dennis said...

Fred Z,

Funny how nature has a way of enforcing certain rules of moral behavior. I suspect that the same diseases that killed a number of GIs in Southeast Asia and were caused by casual "slut" sex will be coming here soon.
Guess what? Free birth control pills will not act as a deterrent. We might have to go back to wearing a "raincoat in the shower."

Anonymous said...

From a man's perspective I resent a woman who has sex with everyone for years until she is in her late 20's then decides she wants to hook a man into marriage and somehow believes playing coy is the way to do that. If she doesn't want to have sex with me please, please tell me after the first date so I can move on and maybe find someone who is interested in me and not conniving to "hook" a man. The very fact that this must be planned and carried out like a military attack says way to much about the person and their personality. Presumably she will then use withholding of sex in marriage as a way to continue to get what she wants. Wonderful! That's what real love is made of.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous male - I am sorry you have run across women that have been overly active in their 20s and are now withholding or playing games while they try to hook you into marriage.
Yes, this sounds like the type of woman you should avoid.
I am curious how you make the assesment of any person you are starting to date that they "used to be permiscuous" but now you are even considering dating them... Why would you even consider dating someone that used to be permiscuous? How do you know they used to be permiscuous? Why have they stopped?
Personally, I can sleep at night as a woman knowing I have held myself in high enough esteem through my 20s, 30s, and now...
And I am happy to continue the search this way. I only speak for this one woman, but I am hopeful there are many women like me (encouragement to you to be hopeful!) that are not holding out as punishment or hooks to men. Rather, we are keeping something sacred, not for everyone to use freely...
Ps - I wish I could have said it as eloquently and concisely as John or Dennis!

Sam L. said...

Waiting helps one figure out whether the other person is a nut, and if said other is, allows one to say "Dodged a bullet, there". Had one of those.

Dai Alanye said...

The answer to how long to wait should be referred to Anne Boleyn. She made a good catch, although her marriage was brief.

But if a woman asks you such a question it only indicates one thing. She wants YOU.

Anonymous said...

Anonomous woman: That was the given in the article. If a person was a virgin or already choose to not have sex then they would not have to make the decision to now date men and withhold sex to force them to marry them. DUH!
The obvious solution is to not go through your life trying to coerce every man you date into marrying you but rather to fall into love, mutual love. The idea that withholding sex is the key is juvenile and counterproductive. It is the basest approach to a relationship and smacks of fraud. I would not want a life partner that connives and deceives to get what they want. So indeed; yes, if you don't want to be intimate with me then let me know before or after the first date and don't plan to "snag" me or string me along. If you are so bereft of emotion and capacity to love that you have to plot against your choice of life mates then please, please show me a sign early so I don't get caught in a loveless relationship.

Anonymous said...

In my case of being long married then divorced in my 40s I was shocked by how quickly women wanted sex. Even if I was willing or wanting to wait I found THEM expecting it by the third date - and we're talking divorced moms, not party girls. Even when I tried to find someone with higher standards I was ultimately disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, anonymous male, I was agreeing with the core of the article. Choose a good gorl from the start. Many of us have NEVER used this tactic as a means of manipulation.
Many of us are still out there, and DO have enough self-respect to hold out for months... It may help many of us make it to marriage as virgins... At the very least, it helps most of us respect ourselves by keeping our number of notches low on our own bedposts... That will help us get am equally respectable man...
There are good women still out there, and I hope we can still teach the young ones to respect themselves too...
Great article!

Anonymous said...

anonymous male at 10am. That is so sad... I've seen this and heard about both men and women... Seems the worst cases were right after separation and
Divorce (In fact I know of men who sought women in that circumstance because they knew it would get a fast result nearly every time!)
So disappointing that they seek sex as a way of building back their self esteem... I know I can't change the world, but I can do all I can to be a good influence on
My friends and nieces and nephews...
What else can we do?