When Should I Have Sex With Him?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

My friend Bart was talking about some women friends of his who were very confused about when to have sex with the guys they liked.  They want a relationship, but if they have sex too soon, then the guy doesn’t call, and if they waited to have sex too long, then the guy stopped calling after a couple of dates.  So what’s the sweet spot?  When should you move to the boudoir?
So to help you women, and men, I will now tell you when you should have sex with someone.  Or how soon you should call after the first date.  Or when you should ask to move in with them:
When you feel like it.
Note here that these women aren’t asking, “When do I want to do this?” but rather, “When should I do this in order to best emotionally manipulate them into staying with me?”  And as with most things that attempt to manipulate people into falling in love with you, that usually doesn’t work out that well.  If you’re not actually doing what you like when you’re with a partner, then you’re going out of your way to court someone who actually doesn’t like the things you do.
Which means, essentially, that they’re falling in love with a lie, and you’re falling in love with someone who’s unsuited to you.
This isn’t a woman thing, by the way: you see it all the time with needy guys trying to figure out how to get the hot blonde to fall in love with them.  I say, abandon the idea of entrancing them into love with you, and be who you are.  If you really want to call someone the day after the first date, and they find this so needy that they would never speak to you again, well… I hate to tell you, but they’d probably be shit at supporting you emotionally.  The best relationships occur where you naturally sync up, discovering to your delight that hey, I really wanted to hear from you now, two days in, and here we are!
Treating your potential lover like they’re a puzzle to be cracked doesn’t work out well for anyone.  The good news about gaming your partners is that you do, in fact, get more dates, as you’re suppressing all your desires to try to match theirs.  The bad news is that when you win, your prize is someone who doesn’t actually like you.  They like this imaginary construct that you actually hated being.  And as Christina Lavin so wisely sung, “It’s a good thing he can’t read my mind.”
Now, doing what you want to do often means you get dumped a lot.  That sucks.  It’s painful when you like people and they don’t like you back.  But you know what’s more painful?  Waking up one morning four years from now and realizing you’ve wasted several years of your life dating someone who you actually never liked all that much.
I’m not saying not to spruce up a little for your first date.  I’m not saying not to try new things.  But if you don’t want to have sex yet, and they leaves, then you’ve got a jerk who only cared about sex… and if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, then trying to retrain them using some Pavlovian sex-reconditioning usually gets you two unhappy people.
Do what makes you happy.  Eventually, you’ll find someone who likes doing that, too.  And you’ll be able to be happy together without some heavy compromise spackling your mess of a relationship together.
My two cents.


  1. Sarah Rain
    Oct 25, 2013

    I take your advice and have sex when I want to (usually the second date; I build in a wait/ reconsider period for myself after the first date so I have a chance to think about whether I really want to get into something). But based on other people’s experiences, it’s more complicated than you think. When women choose to have sex is perceived as having a big symbolic component, whether it really does or not. Men have explicitly told me that if women have sex on the first date that tells them they’re not interested in anything serious. Just like wearing certain clothes can communicate more than just an aesthetic preference, this does too, and a man’s assumptions about the situation in the beginning may mean that he jumps to conclusions, but does not necessarily mean that he’s not worth having a relationship with. It’s functionally a reaction based on a faulty first impression. So the question becomes how to make the right first impression, and that’s what these women are trying to navigate.
    I see the solution as to be really clear and upfront about what you want, and to be willing to put yourself out there to initiate communication. Which I believe is part of your proposal too. But the tone of your piece makes it sound like you’re frustrated by this foolishness, which I understand, but don’t know that you get exactly where it’s coming from.

    • TheFerrett
      Oct 25, 2013

      And I get that, but I also think it’s terrible thought.
      If a guy is the sort who’s all like “Well, she’s not interested in anything serious, so I won’t ever follow up to ask,” then you’ve got a guy who is either a) really not particularly interested, or b) so caught up in how he believes females should act according to some arbitrary set of rules that he can’t actually see people, just “Women, am I right?”
      If it’s b), then those are the sort of guys who usually turn out to be not particularly good partners. They don’t see you as you. They see you as Other. And I remain unconvinced that this makes for good long-term matchups.

      • Hel M.
        Oct 25, 2013

        I think in some/many cases, people see you as a set of societal expectations of what you are, a set of stereotypes (manic pixie dream girl, intellectual nerdy guy, etc) *until* they actually get to know you. Sometimes it is worth exploiting the stereotype so they are in your life long enough to get to know the real you.

        • Sarah Rain
          Oct 25, 2013

          This. We all make generalizations when we meet people. This particular assumption about women’s sexual behavior is widespread enough that I wouldn’t consider it a dealbreaker in a guy. I am guilty of making similar assumptions. I tend not to make a point of getting to know men wearing polo shirts. Polo shirts signify a certain sort of preppiness that is often associated with a set of beliefs and behaviors I don’t like. Some of my male friends and lovers wear polo shirts occasionally; I know they’re not a definite marker of unfortunate values. But they’re correlated enough, in my experience, for me to be unlikely to put a lot of effort in to getting to know a random polo-shirt-wearer. Maybe this makes me too close-minded and people should avoid relationships with me, but once you get past that snobbishness(?) on my part, I am pretty awesome. Guys who assume interest based on women’s sexual behavior could be the same way.

  2. Jenny T.
    Oct 27, 2013

    I have to say, I agree with your advice perfectly. I never thought about it that way but after meeting my bf, it makes perfect sense. I have the freedom to take my happiness in hand and he only gets pissed at me when I am too scared to share things completely with him. Its difficult to understand complete acceptance when you have been judged in every previous ‘love’ of any kind.

  3. Yet Another Laura H.
    Oct 28, 2013

    I think for me, “When I feel like it, and I know her well enough to be reasonably certain she’s not a judgmental, slut-shaming person who lets her perception of propriety decide who shares her bower long-term,” is more my speed (as I think you implied in your follow-up, “opposite sex” not withstanding). If I don’t trust you enough to drink with you, I’m certainly going to be too uptight to enjoy letting you go down on me. But I’m kind of a traditional dumb ol’ girl that way…

  4. Michele
    Oct 29, 2013

    Great topic and one that I have been kicking around most of this year and many previous years. Sometimes your damned if you do and your damned if you don’t. This whole “how long should I wait” business baffles me. Like there is some code, which I have read about in Steve Harvey’s books and The Bitch Book. What I just don’t get is why is it not ok to have sex on the first date if you want to! So I have to play some charade and pretend that I don’t want to have sex with Mr. X? Make him think that my standards say I have to wait X amount of time… At 46 years old, life is short and you have to have fun and enjoy life while you can. Who made these rules? So am I a bad girl if I sleep with him when I want to or am I a “good” girl if I pretend that I want to wait for a spell? I want to think that if someone digs me their not gonna have some tally in their pocket to see how long I hold out on them. I get the cat and mouse game but really?!! If a man enjoys his time with me he shouldn’t judge me on how long it took to get in my pants, he should call me again and have another date. Fuck the games!


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