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.
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.