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November 8, 2011 11:18 AM   Subscribe

When can we have sex without me seeming to be a slut???

I’ve been online dating for awhile now. In the beginning, I had ‘rules’. Absolutely NO SEX until date 3. Well, needless to say, serial dating just plain sucks. If I find I go out with someone who is not going to be someone I want to continue to see…but we make out, etc…sometimes, I will have (protected) sex with them and never call/text them again. They usually don’t call or text me again, so it’s all cool.

Here recently, I’ve been feeling like I’m ready to be serious and really look for someone whom I might be able to have a LTR with. What are some “rules” you follow as to sexual activity on dates? I know if girls give it up on the first date, they aren’t often seen as ‘keepers’.

FYI: I’m female, 39.
posted by Amalie-Suzette to Human Relations (50 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Whenever feels right for you. If the guy you're with judges your long-term potential on that basis, he isn't worth going long-term anyway.

But personally, I wouldn't sleep with anyone unless I was in a committed relationship with them. That's just me, it's not you.
posted by litnerd at 11:22 AM on November 8, 2011

I know if girls give it up on the first date, they aren’t often seen as ‘keepers’.

This is bullshit. If a man likes you, he likes you, if he doesn't, he doesn't. Have sex when you both want to. No one's going to refuse to marry you because you had sex too early in the relationship.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:24 AM on November 8, 2011 [70 favorites]

I'm not so sure that there are any quite so hard-and-fast "people who have sex on the first date are sluts" rules like that. I don't think it's a matter of "I don't want to have sex becuase he'll think I'm a slut," I think it's a matter of you deciding that for yourself -- "I don't want to have sex until I know you're someone I want to keep around for a while." You know? And if that's a decision you've made, then great.

(If anecdata helps: all three of my best LTRs, there was sex on the first date. But the chemistry and the "oooh, yeah, I think I want to stick around with this for a while" was apparent immediately in all three cases, and all three of them were really, really great guys; two of them are still really close friends.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:25 AM on November 8, 2011 [12 favorites]

Whenever you both want to. Do you really want to be in a relationship with a guy who thinks that if you want to have sex as often as he does, you're a slut?
posted by Adventurer at 11:28 AM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

A lot of people will tell you that it's fine to have sex as soon as you get the urge but I disagree. While I agree that it would work this way in a perfect world and that the "slutty" stigma is annoying as hell, the sad truth is that a lot of guys will judge you for giving it up too soon, without even being conscious of why they're losing interest. Also that it's really hard as a woman to not get invested after sex, so you want to make sure the feelings are mutual before you do.

I don't agree with the idea that all men who get turned off by women giving it up too soon must be assholes. The behavior is dickish, sure, but it is such a common response that I think it is partly wired into the male psyche (at least in a lot of cases).

I'd wait until you feel emotionally intimate with the guy enough to trust him, however many dates that takes. If you feel like you're having sex with a stranger it's probably too soon.
posted by timsneezed at 11:31 AM on November 8, 2011 [7 favorites]

Do what you like. If the guy is on the same page as you, they won't balk.

FWIW I had sex with on the first date with my now-husband and we've been together for nealry 10 years.
posted by gaspode at 11:32 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

If a guy's going to judge you for the temerity of having sex with him he's really not a guy you want to be dating anyway.
posted by lydhre at 11:33 AM on November 8, 2011 [23 favorites]

I'm a (happily married) guy the same age as you are, and I would have to say that as we get older our standards and expectations about sex change - we all get more mature about it, and I would say that any guy worth pursuing for a LTR is not going to judge you about having sex on the first date. That said, sex on the first date should be something you want to do, rather than something that you feel obligated to do.

My personal view is that women after 30 become infinitely more interesting and sexy. 40 is a great age, with great insights and great personality. I would say that men in this age range may be looking for someone who is more than just sexually compatible, and are instead looking for a true mate - an intellectual and spiritual companion.

My sense (I haven't dated in many years) is you may want to hold off on sex early in the relationship, not because it makes you seem like a slut (remember, at this age we're all adults), but instead to emphasize the romance and the courting.

But if you want to have sex, then you want to have sex.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:33 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

My wife and I got naked and had sex on the first date, after knowing eachother for a week.

But that was only 27 years ago, so it still might not work out for us.
posted by Danf at 11:41 AM on November 8, 2011 [58 favorites]

A good dude will be seeking out an empowered woman. Am empowered woman has sex on her grounds, not society's. Things are a little more complicated than that if you live in a small town or hang out in a small community where gossip is a thing that matters, but that's the long and short of it. A guy that will have problems having sex when you want to have sex -- first date or tenth date -- will probably have issues with other aspects of you as well. He is, of course, entitled to them, just as you are, and they might not be make-it-or-break-it issues, but a guy seriously judging you (as opposed to just turning you down for the sex and continuing to see you) strictly on the basis of the timing of when you want to have sex isn't really worth it.
posted by griphus at 11:42 AM on November 8, 2011 [6 favorites]

They usually don’t call or text me again, so it’s all cool.

These being the dudes who would not have been worthwhile whether you had sex with them now or later.
posted by griphus at 11:44 AM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think you have to play it by ear. I'm trying to imagine a situation where a woman told me, "Oh, I like you, and I want to have sex with you now, but I need to wait till date five because that's what people on the internet told me" that I would take well.
posted by bswinburn at 11:46 AM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

You really, really need to take a good hard look at your thinking on this whole topic. You are 39; you are not a girl. Sex isn't something you "give up" either, and that kind of mindset posits men and women in a really unfortunate way. And on the heels of that, withholding sex is not a stance you take to lure men into long term partnerships with you.

My husband and I had sex before our first date. By not pretending to be someone I'm not, I ended up with someone who likes me the way I am. Surely that's the long term goal here, right?
posted by DarlingBri at 11:49 AM on November 8, 2011 [40 favorites]

The answer to this question depends on whether your goal is to maximize your likelihood of finding a man with whom you can fall in love, or maximizing the number of men who could potentially fall in love with you.

If it's the second, then yeah, the standard "no sex til date 3" rule is a standard for a reason. There is certainly a subset of the male population that thinks less of women who give it up too easily, and it probably is larger than the subset of the male population that will rule a woman out if she doesn't sleep with him on the first date.

However, if this is your goal, I also think you're doing it wrong. You don't need dozens of men to fall in love with you...you just need the one right one. And, the most efficient way to find him is to ruthlessly weed out all of the not-quites as quickly as possible. In that respect, sleep with the man when you feel it's right. If you think that's the first date, and he never calls back, that's fantastic! That's someone who was never going to be a soul mate, who's no longer wasting your time! But if sleeping with men doesn't feel right until weeks or months have passed, wait. If he thinks you're frigid and goes away, again, he has an incompatible view of sex and relationships to yours, and now he's no longer wasting your time.

You sound like you have some experience with the whole dating thing, but also like whatever you're doing now isn't really making you happy. Perhaps it might help to think about past relationships where you really felt like the "getting to know you" process worked well, and made you feel comfortable. Where did sex come in with those? Right at the beginning? Very quickly? More slowly? Take that as a template, and explore from there.
posted by psycheslamp at 11:50 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

You're 39 and you still give a shit what some guy you met once thinks about you? DO WHAT YOU LIKE.
posted by spicynuts at 11:50 AM on November 8, 2011 [17 favorites]

I don't think because you have sex on the first date you are labelled as not a keeper. If the person you are with is someone who wanted more than just have sex with you, you will have more than just sex with that person.

You said it yourself, in the past you'd have physical interaction with someone (I'm sure to satisfy your physical need) and nothing more. If you wanted something more, you would be sure to speak to that person and make a point to see that person again.

Maybe you wait before sex because you want to concentrate on other aspects of the relationship and that person you are with. It really doesn't mean you are a "slut" because you want physical interaction! You're a healthy woman with a healthy libido. Your prospective partner would be lucky to share that with you, not judge you on it!

Don't worry so much about that and do what comes naturally. You should be liked for the entire package that is you and anyone who can't do that is someone you should bypass.
posted by Yellow at 11:53 AM on November 8, 2011

Well, some people seem to get an intuitive sense of when to do it, but others find rules helpful.

If you're the kind of person who finds a rule helpful, I think the Third Date Rule is as good as any. It's the most well known, so a man isn't going to judge you as either particularly slutty or as playing hard-to-get if you follow it. If you want to play it safe because a guy seems like he could be a good catch, may as well stick with that.

I saw another of your posts says you have ADHD. I wonder if that might be relevant, because you seem to be making your mind up faster than most people do. Lots of people stay undecided about sex/relationship/dump for several dates.

There's a lot of advice in this thread to follow your instincts, but if you think your instincts might be different to most people's, it might actually be helpful to follow a rule instead. Some guys may be a bit put off by someone who behaves in an untypical way on the first date when he's still making his mind up.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:00 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

If they're judging you for something that they are doing themselves, then they're pretty messed up to begin with and you would do well to not think about what any of them think.

The right guy will stick around because they're crazy for you. Enjoy the heck out of your dating single years. I wish you luck.
posted by inturnaround at 12:03 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

You're 39 and you still give a shit what some guy you met once thinks about you? DO WHAT YOU LIKE.

I don't know. I think almost everyone gives a shit about what others think of them and it's often something we have to struggle against, so I think it's wrong to act like that makes someone abnormal or immature or unevolved or whatever. And I also think it's really hurtful to be intimate with someone (physically, emotionally, sexually, whatever), and then have that person judge you for doing so, blatantly lose interest in you for it, and/or straight up disappear on you.

So I understand why the OP gives a shit and I don't think it makes her abnormal at all, in fact I think if she ignores/tries to stifle/doesn't respect that aspect of herself, she will get really hurt. It's okay the OP is not some robot who can't be hurt by what others think, and it's okay for her not to want to put herself in situations where that is likely to happen. In fact, not wanting to put herself in those situations is a good thing and displays healthy self-respect and self-care.

OP, here are my thoughts on your question. I think it's impossible to nail down a hard-and-fast rule about timing because everyone is different. Plenty of people won't have any issues at all no matter when you guys have sex. And plenty of other people will have issues with it at all sorts of stages of dating, and have virgin/whore complexes that last even into marriage.

My advice is -- if you think you could get hurt by these guys if you were rejected by them after sex, then get to know these guys a little bit before having sex with them. Get to know their attitudes about sex, and other things in life. Get to know how they treat other people in their lives. Get an idea of a bit of their dating history. Then I think you'll have a better base of information to go on to figure out whether sex with them is a good idea.
posted by cairdeas at 12:04 PM on November 8, 2011 [6 favorites]

Nthing the "I had sex on the first date with an SO and never once considered that a negative" stories.

Have also had SOs who didn't hop right into the sack.

Your "Madonna/Whore" false-dichotomy is getting seriously in the way of your good-guy hunting. Give it up, and follow a path that feels right with the man you're with (and the woman you are). Even if it doesn't work out for this guy or that, at least you'll know you did what was right for you.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:05 PM on November 8, 2011

I think you are coming to this question from a slightly flawed perspective.

Having sex on the first date isn't "bad" because guys who would otherwise make great long-term partners will be turned off at your behavior in a way they wouldn't if you had waited until some other predetermined period of time. The (possible) benefit to waiting it out a few dates is simply that you can make a better determination that sex isn't the only thing the man in question is interested in in the first place.
posted by The Gooch at 12:06 PM on November 8, 2011 [6 favorites]

To my mind, the main reason not to have sex on the first date - especially with internet dating - is simply that you haven't built up any trust with the person and you don't really know them. So you run the risk of sleeping with a jerky person and feeling bad about it later, or having some kind of awful/painful/infectious/secretly-photographed encounter. The thing is, sleeping with a guy who then thinks you're trampy and never calls again - well, that's no real loss because he wasn't a keeper anyway, but you had to go through all the emotional stuff about "will he call? do I want him to call?", which is a net loss, unless you enjoyed the sex enough to make up for the angst - in which case you probably wouldn't be asking this question.

I tend to wait until I feel some trust with the person - sometimes that's the first date (especially if I've known them in real life) and sometimes it's later. It's the trust that's the trigger, not the time.

Also, it's a bozo filter - back when I dated guys, waiting meant that I never slept with the kind of guy who is really inflexible and thinks "if she doesn't put out by [TIME] then there's something wrong with her". And that type of thinking - instead of flexibility, interest, compassion, humanness over dudebro homosocial scorekeeping - is a GIANT red flag for me.
posted by Frowner at 12:08 PM on November 8, 2011 [5 favorites]

When can we have sex without me seeming to be a slut???

There is nothing you can do to prevent people with negative attitudes about female sexuality from perceiving you as a slut.

I know if girls give it up on the first date, they aren’t often seen as ‘keepers’.

There is no "it" for "girls" to "give up" because sexual activity is an equal exchange of giving and taking.

Feminism: consider it!
posted by milk white peacock at 12:12 PM on November 8, 2011 [31 favorites]

You're 39. It is seriously time to throw out the Cosmos. You can have sex as soon as you'd both like to have sex, and as long as you treat it like reality — that there are no rules in relationships save those consented to by both parties — it won't be a problem. But if you try to come up with some sort of mathematical formula and involve all of society in determining when you have sex, you'll continue to be disappointed.
posted by klangklangston at 12:13 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

Instead of worrying about when to "give it up" (which is a phrase I don't like; instead of thinking it as a thing you surrender to someone else in a moment of weakness, think of it as getting some! which is more proactive and fun. But I digress) focus on figuring out what you want from a relationship, besides sex.

See, in the early stages of dating, it's really easy to think in terms of chemistry and physical attraction and sexual tension and kind of mistake that for relationship potential. So you can keep that escalating for an evening, or a few dates, or however long. Then you finally get it on, and all that initial attraction that's been building up finally releases. And it's great, but then afterwards you two are sort of standing in the dust, and you realize you didn't have much else besides that initial attraction, so you have nowhere to go with the whole thing.

If you find that happening with guys you really dig, take a step back and ask yourself if it was the person you were into, or just the ride. If you find it happening with guys you know you're not into, well... do you like doing it? Do you enjoy the sex, and are you going into it with a clear head, without leading the guy on? If so, that's totally fine! If not, that's when to change your ways. Keep in mind the end result - "eh we'll never talk again, and I'll feel (happy/sad/blank/lonely)" - and decide if that's what you want.

Do whatever and whoever you want, whenever you want. But if you're specifically looking for a long-term relationship, you're going to be looking for things like "is he trustworthy" or "can I share an apartment with him and not scream" or "do we have similar goals in life." Sexual compatibility is a large part of that equation, but it's not the whole thing.

The third-date (or later, if you like) is actually a pretty good policy, but not for the reason you think. It's not to sort out the keepers from the players or to come across as a "good girl" or whatever. That's all bogus and you can throw it right out. It's good because it takes sex off the table for a little bit, so you can begin evaluating the other person on all the other qualities that make up a good LTR, and screen for dealbreakers and red flags. It'll be easier to let go of the guys you're not fond of if you don't get on the sexy rollercoaster ride right away.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:25 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

It's pretty simple: if you own your sex life, you are not a slut. You can meet a guy, say "hey, I can already tell this date will not work. Let's make the best out of a not so great situation back at my place" and not be a slut. 

If you date a guy who looks good on paper and your friends like him and you follow the rules like a good girl and don't have sex for X dates but then on date X+1 you feel like you have to give it up because he's such a nice guy, that's a mistake.

If you start having any kind of sexually activity because you think it's normal or expected or for any other reason than that's what you want to do and you're lucky enough to be with someone likeminded, then you'll get into trouble.

Your sex life is something you control and it is nobody's business.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:27 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't agree with the idea that all men who get turned off by women giving it up too soon must be assholes. The behavior is dickish, sure, but it is such a common response that I think it is partly wired into the male psyche (at least in a lot of cases).

Disagree. I don't know any men who care about when women have sex, or if they have random sex (although I'm sure many such men exist, and they are assholes). On the other hand, I've known an awful lot of women who think it makes other women slutty.

For myself, I'm not opposed to having sex on the first date (back in my dating years, that is). But if I did, it meant that I had no other interest in you and you weren't going to hear from me again. Not because I thought you were a slut, but because if I liked you I would have waited awhile to get to know you. Sex is easy; relationships are hard. I wouldn't want to jeopardize the hard thing just to get the easy thing.

So I support the 3rd date rule, if it's someone you might actually want to date.

You're 39. It is seriously time to throw out the Cosmos.

Agreed. Do what works for you.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:32 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

In regards to sluttyness (god I hate that word). I suggest that you do whatever makes you not feel like a slut.

If not waiting until the third date will make you feel like a slut, then wait until the third date.

If first date sex does not make you feel like a slut, then have sex on the first date.

I apply this to all my dating situations. For example, should a woman ask a man out? If it makes you feel desperate and unattractive then don't do it. If you would feel like a coward for not womaning up, then go ahead and ask him.

tl;dr Do what will make you feel good about your choices.
posted by Shouraku at 12:43 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

What are some “rules” you follow as to sexual activity on dates?

Everyone will have a different answer to this. If you want a rule in terms of "not until the nth date" or "not until we've known each other for x days," you can find someone who will answer with any given value of "n" or "x." You're an adult; do what you want to do, not what you think someone else expects you to do.

By the way, by framing the question in terms of women who have sex on the first date being viewed negatively, you're inviting an overwhelming response that it's fine for women to have sex on the first date. In other words, if you ask people what they think of an anti-woman stereotype, of course they're going to denounce it. In my opinion, having sex on a first date isn't a great idea for anyone, male/female/whatever. I just don't see what the rush is, whereas I do see a lot of value for getting to know someone (for more than one specific day) before doing that. I agree that serial dating can be a drag, but I just figure, "that's life." But again, it's up to you to set your own rules.
posted by John Cohen at 12:48 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

If it makes you feel desperate and unattractive then don't do it.

The problem here is that if something that can either benefit you or keep things the same -- and not, in any way, hurt you! -- seems that onerous, you might want to examine why, rather than just piling it in the back of your mind in the BAD category. It might turn out that you don't really have a reason to have a problem with it, try it, and have it turn out to work out for you splendidly.
posted by griphus at 12:50 PM on November 8, 2011

I would think that people who think/call you a slut are not people you want to be associating with at any point.

Talk about sex/intimacy and when with the people you date.

Your sexuality is something that you get to define, not others, and especially not in a healthy relationship that works for all of the people involved.
posted by anya32 at 12:51 PM on November 8, 2011

Man here, there are some risks to having sex with someone you don't know: disease, their tendency to be a wierdo, whatever. For women there is also pregnancy (no contraception is perfect, right?).

So my rule is wait and see if either you would have sex just once because it might be fun or if this one is a potential keeper and then decide. Sex on the first date is usually just hormones, if you feel that way how about sleeping on it then getting together again the following day? At weekends that can even be the morning, a breakfast date followed by sex is a decent alternative to traipsing round shops.
posted by epo at 12:53 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I know if girls give it up on the first date, they aren’t often seen as ‘keepers’.

Is this a real thing or some TV/movie trope that's seeped out into the world? I'm a guy. I don't think this idea has ever seriously crossed my mind when considering whether someone is a "keeper" or not.
posted by chasing at 12:58 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

"Sluttyness" is not the real issue here.

You are interested in finding a LTR. Finding one of those is pretty difficult. It's time consuming and takes a ton of emotional energy. Sex sucks up emotional energy like a motherfucker AND it often comes with a lot of extra stuff that can make it hard to tell who is a good match for you and who is really just fun for right now.

I'm going to say "waiting" as a rule is a great thing when you are looking for a long term partner because it gives you a chance to really see if you and he like eachother enough to date exclusivly for longer than it takes to get naked.

It's not waiting because the internet told you to, but taking things slow because you think the dude is hot but really want to know him as more than just a sex partner.

As for how long, arbitrary rules are silly, but if it makes you feel like it's easier to put a blanket number on it-- two things- 1. you don't have to tell the dude you're waiting for a specific date, and 2. you don't actually have to follow your own rules all the time. If on date two you are madly in love and you see things working out, whatever. do what you want.
posted by Blisterlips at 12:59 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

Oh- and you asked for personal rules.

I fail because the dude I ended up with was a rule breaker for me. I ended up picking my SO at a bar after we randomly walked into each other for the second time ever.

My friends and I were wilder in our early twenties, but at one point when both my best bud I were single (and interested in finding serious relationships) we made a pact with each other about how we were going to behave so that we wouldn't be distracted by naked boy parts or other things. This is what we did and why.

1. No "hanging out." If a dude wants to go out on a date- it has to be called a date. If someone asked her "do you want to hang out later?" her response would be "are you asking me on a date?" This has nothing to do with money or any other weird thing- this is so the dude knows that casual sex is probably not what you are looking for.

2. No sex until you know enough about them to be reasonably sure they are not an asshole, and that they are not just trying to get your pants off. Not having sex right away does a great job in weeding out dudes who are only interested in sex. I think we made a rule of like two weeks and/or five dates- but the number was more of a way to avoid being confused by attractive boys with smooth lines.

I ended up going on a ton of dates, none of which ended up really working out, but I was a lot more confident. My girl ended up following the rules and ending up with a dude who was completely appreciated her slow approach. He told her later he was glad she was slow- it reassured him that she was interested in him and wasn't just trying to party.
posted by Blisterlips at 1:23 PM on November 8, 2011 [8 favorites]

When can we have sex without me seeming to be a slut???
When you don't fear that your sexual partner will see you that way.

I don't follow any "rules." I have sex when I am physically and emotionally ready to share my body with someone and be prepared for whatever the rewards or consequences are. With my current boyfriend, that was date 1.

I do think it's interesting that you choose to have sex with men you don't want to pursue serious relationship with but plan on withholding sex from the ones you do see a future with. I am pretty sure that is not going to work the way you want, but best of luck to you regardless.
posted by sm1tten at 3:31 PM on November 8, 2011 [12 favorites]

So: there are X men in the world, and a fraction of them, you'll meet, and a fraction of them, you'll like enough to sleep with, and a fraction of them will be a good long-term partner for you.

It isn't a question of "giving it up too soon means I'm a slut and they won't think I'm a keeper"; it is a question of "how are you treating the other person?" If you behave as if this is a one-night-stand, that's what you'll get. If you behave as if you're serious about relationships, you'll get (some) serious relationships.

The devil, then, is in the details: how do you behave if you're serious about relationships? Well, one of the things you'll probably do is wait until you know someone quite well before you sleep with them, because that level of intimacy is something that can be much nicer when it occurs in the context of a serious relationship.

In short, don't avoid sex on the first date because it will label you, or cause you to be rejected. If you're going to avoid sex early on, do it because you have learned that intimacy is better with a committed partner. And if you don't agree with that -- if you think sex itself doesn't require a serious relationship -- then go ahead and have sex right away, but have your ducks in a row on what does represent "serious relationships only, please" behaviors.

My two cents, anyway.
posted by davejay at 3:38 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, sm1tten's last paragraph is a whole lot of wisdom in two sentences.
posted by davejay at 3:38 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I dont think having sex early in the relationship is bad or even a factor when it comes to moving into a long term relationship. That being said I think its good to wait until date number three. Anytime after that is fair game to have sex and pursue an ltr.
posted by ljs30 at 4:02 PM on November 8, 2011

I've never followed any rules. In my first LTR I waited 5 months, but then again we were 15 and 16 years old when we started dating. In my next LTR I slept with him on the first date. We were together for almost four years. In my current LTR, I slept with him multiple times before there was even any discussion of dating. He married me, so I guess that makes me a "keeper" in his eyes.

Unless the guy has an icky attitude about women who like sex being sluts, he's not going to write you off for sleeping with him on a first or second date. If he likes you, he'll continue liking you after you've slept with him. If he does think you're a slut for doing the same thing he did, and with him, then good riddance.
posted by keep it under cover at 4:07 PM on November 8, 2011

Sm1tten's last paragraph is definitely on-target. It reminds me of this comment by autocorrect in another thread, in which that approach (sleep around with guys you see no future with; wait for sex with guys who are potential LTRs) was recommended. That seemed like a really ass-backward way to do things and lots of guys would be pretty turned off that a woman had a sexual fast track for other guys she just wanted to have fun with, but that they were on the slow track for the guys with "potential." No thanks.
posted by jayder at 4:14 PM on November 8, 2011

I know if girls give it up on the first date, they aren’t often seen as ‘keepers’.

YMMV. We had sex before (or instead of?) the first date, and things are going fine years later. But I also think that waiting a few dates is a great way to weed out the people who just want a quick fuck and to move on; if you aren't interested in that, then waiting is a super easy way to filter that out.

I do think it's interesting that you choose to have sex with men you don't want to pursue serious relationship with but plan on withholding sex from the ones you do see a future with. I am pretty sure that is not going to work the way you want, but best of luck to you regardless.

I think that is an excellent observation. Really, I think that many of us would do better (or would have done better back in the day) to do a better job of spending more time with (and have more sex with) people who are fun and treat us well, and spend less time (and sex) with crummy people who aren't even fun to talk to.
posted by Forktine at 4:58 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think it's a mindfuck to have sex too soon. You hardly know this person, yet you've done one of the most intimate things possible with them, they've seen you naked, etc. I don't know how to act after that even when I KNOW I like someone and they like me, so it's way too puzzling and stressful to figure it out with a virtual stranger.

If you're looking for something serious, I'd wait at least a few dates and listen to how you feel and what you think about the guy. This is just good emotional maintenance, in my opinion.
posted by amodelcitizen at 5:01 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

On the one hand, I agree with a lot of the above that you are a 39-year-old woman and shouldn't be worrying about this stuff.

On the other hand: one thing that I've run into as a possibly somewhat "slutty" person is that having sex on the first date makes it a little harder/weirder to date around as much as I might like. Like, it would be one thing to go on dates with a bunch of different people within a short time frame, and then if one is seeming like potentially more of a keeper, sleep with that one, BUT if I've just been on a first date with someone and slept with that person already, I might be resistant to go on first dates with other people too soon after that, because I've at least temporarily put my emotional eggs in that first guy basket (as it were). Alternatively I guess I could just constantly be sleeping with lots of different people all the time, but that seems a little overwhelming.

I am not sure if that made sense. But anyway, I have had several LTRs that started out with first-date sex or a casual hookup, and I don't really have any particular rules. Do what makes you happy!
posted by naoko at 5:13 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Withholding" has a punitive sound and is not a good word to use to describe a woman who waits to have sex because she wants a deeper connection with a man she has just met.
posted by amodelcitizen at 5:51 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

I agree that having sex with a guy on the first date will not drive away a guy who likes you.

However, I will say that if you really like a guy, sometimes it's worth waiting because if he's not that into you, and only in it for the sex, it will hurt more if he dumps you after you've had sex (whereas if you haven't had sex yet, it tends to not hurt as much, at least in my experience).

therefore I see waiting to have sex as a way to protect one's own emotions, unless you are the type that can totally divorce sex from your emotions.
posted by bearette at 6:43 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Heh. I could very easily ask this question myself.

My current philosophy, now that I am beginning to feel more interested in a relationship and less sex-starved, is to delay sex with the men I feel have relationship potential. Not because I'm afraid of what he will think of me, or that I think sex too soon is "bad," but because I know that I find it hard to actually get to know people once I start sleeping with them. I just want to have sex all the time and my deal-breakers kind of get fuzzy.

Plus, when it doesn't work out, I've become emotionally invested and it takes me a while to move on and get back in the dating game - even if it's clearly a nonstarter I will spend a decent amount of time crying over the dude - and that means I've lost time when I could be finding someone right for me.

I have no idea what the right of amount of time to wait is. :P
posted by bunderful at 8:30 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you think if a man sleeps with you on the first date, he's a slut*? If so, then it may be that you are someone who prefers to wait, and that's fine. If not, then it sounds like you need to think about either the men you choose or the way you think about your interactions with them - and a lot of good advice has been given on that front already.

*I know a lot of hetero women who find sluttery in men to be an enormous turnoff
posted by mippy at 8:17 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I know if girls give it up on the first date, they aren’t often seen as ‘keepers’
Only put out on the first date if you can put the above sentence out of mind.

Around sex I think people interchange facts with opinions/values/behaviours they were raised with.
posted by variella at 11:28 AM on November 9, 2011

Sexual morality aside, there is a valid reason for going slow on sex from someone you might be serious about. Sex starts a flood of bonding neuro-chemicals that tend to cloud your judgment of a potential mate. Research supports the idea of keeping physical intimacy in balance with other types of attachment and intimacy -- women who go slow tend to have better relationship outcomes. You can read about it in books like "How to Avoid falling For a Jerk."
posted by cross_impact at 12:29 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

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