Dear Dr. Sherman,
I never know how long to wait before getting physical on a date. What should I do?
Dear Confused Woman,
Defining what sex means to you will bring you clarity. If you are someone who separates sex and love, then you are free to get physical without emotional expectation. Many women are choosing to do this more and more often these days. This only works though if you can enjoy sex without knowing what will happen in the relationship.
If, however, you’re someone who gets emotionally attached when things get physical, you need to carefully answer the following questions. Does sex mean to you…
- That your partner should call you the next day?
- That you and your partner stay friends?
- That you are exclusive?
- That you love each other?
- That you think you’ll get married?
Once you are clear about your answer to what sex means to you, then it’s time to assess your relationship in order to determine if there is a match in how the other person regards it. If you expect to be exclusive, discuss it before you sleep together. If you want to know whether your partner has really strong feelings for you, then ask. You can also look at their behavior to see if it has been matching their words.
And, when you sleep with someone and it means something different to them, don’t be mad. Your partner is a different person and may have a different agenda for sex, and about your relationship. Remember, they haven’t lied to you because you never brought it up! It’s up to you to make your values and needs clear to yourself and then to your partner. Then you can stand by them, and if you do sleep together you know what you are getting into. I’ve seen many women accuse a guy of being a jerk because he wanted to date someone else after they’d slept together. She is blaming him for his choices, but she never brought up the issue, and maybe even was already envisioning them married and buying a house together.
You’re both adults and are both responsible to have conversations, and to share your truth, if it’s important for you to be on the same page.