What are the sexual steps you take while dating?
November 26, 2011 4:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm female in my mid-twenties and due to circumstances have been a late entrant into dating. I've been out with several guys (ages 27 - 33) and am trying to get a better handle on how quickly things move forward in terms of physical/sexual. So while every guy, girl, and experience is different, could someone share what they might consider standard in their experience? I'd be curious to know what peoples' typical natural progressions are (for a person they're dating, not a hook up) in terms of the steps, not necessarily timing. For instance, do you generally do the first base/second base/third bases in order?

A few related/follow-up questions:
1. If a girl you've been dating invites you up after the date, what would you expect? Or what if she randomly invites you over for a movie one night? (When I say "expect" I don't mean that, once X happens you demand to receive Y, but to the extent that there's a lot of nonverbal communication happening, what are you guessing she's trying to indicate by extending those invitations)

2. I've found that once I allow the removal of clothing, things often move very quickly. If I don't want to go too far, and I don't want to be misleading, should I try and stop things a few steps ahead? Or to put it another way, once she's in h

3. On the male-side, what are some "tests" that you do to try to get a sense of whether she wants you to move further? And what kind of responses do you wait for? (For instance, the kiss on the cheek to test for the kiss on the lips. Hand on the the thigh to test...I don't know what.)

4. Do you ever get to a point where you start ignoring mild resistance? For instance, if she let's you take off her clothes--down to bra and/or underwear--but then pushes your hands away at certain stages, would you view that as like a "just for show" resistance, and try to play through? (Not saying whether this is right or wrong; just wondering if once she's been OK with something--like taking off the bra--is that enough to indicate to you that she's actually fine with going further)
posted by sowrite to Human Relations (32 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

You can stop any time you want. Doing steps 1, 2, 3 doesn't necessitate steps 4, 5, 6 at any point. Stop relying so much on signs and cues and ask for what you want and don't want as everyone does these things differently and has different expectations. Guys shouldn't ignore your resistance, mild or otherwise.
posted by peacheater at 4:26 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think "bases" are mostly irrelevant with adults (in my experience, anyway).

It's been more than a few years since I've dated, but bases and removing some clothes and not having sex sounds more like the high school progression of intimacy, when the couple is perhaps newer to sexual intimacy and each "base" seems more significant and the couple is avoiding intercourse but interested in other genital play.

I think I'd find it a bit odd as an adult if we started to make out, then undress, and then stopped.

Of course, communication is key, but I think if you invite someone over and make-out, it might not proceed to sex (and it's okay and good to be upfront about that along the lines of, "Let's just keep to kissing tonight, eh?"). But, I wouldn't start clothes removal If I had no intention of having some kind of sex / genital contact with the person.

You can always change your mind, but I suspect that is not what you are talking about, right?
posted by bluedaisy at 4:27 PM on November 26, 2011

4 - No one has ever done this to me and I would be really upset if they did.

2 - Generally guys seem to think if you're naked, there's going to be boning involved. Or at least a blow job. I usually try to keep my undies on if I have no intention of those things happening. It's perhaps symbolic, but it works.

1 - I think inviting someone up afterward indicates...something. And that something depends on the people. For some it might mean there's gonna be some kisssing, or maybe oral sex, or maybe even sex sex. But it certainly usually denotes more than "I enjoy your company, let's exxtend the evening" and more like "I enjoy your company, let's take this one more step". YMMV.
posted by hepta at 4:30 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Honestly, it depends on what you're looking for; if you want serious long-term, move slowly, keep things light for a good few dates. This doesn't mean it can never work out if you move more quickly though.

1. If I got invited up after the date, I'd be expecting a drink and makeouts. Anything else is a bonus. I'm fairly reserved though, and I get the impression many guys would think this inherently means sex is on the cards.

2. If you don't want to be having sexy times, keep the underwear hidden. I think in general western culture believes that underwear is private and only gets shown to people with whom physical intimacy is a given. Some people may not assume this, but many will.

3. Can't really comment. My relationships haven't required testing, the red and green-lighted options have been made pretty clear to me.

4. Personally, any resistance is cause to back off. If I'm unsure, I ask, and I'd consider ignoring resistance at the very least rude if not downright unethical. Equally in the other direction, I am not at home with someone playing hard-to-get with me.

Basically, I'd say don't take any clothes off, or let him do so, unless you want to go all the way. Keeping a bit of mystery is alluring anyway.
posted by fearnothing at 4:32 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I generally do the steps in order... but I don't often give out easily, unless I think someone is super amazing I stop when I need too. Sometimes that's been weird and they've ended up wanking themselves off... BUT i don't worry about things.... and you shouldn't either!
posted by misspony at 4:40 PM on November 26, 2011

A few rules I follow:
1. I never tell a guy where I live until the 2nd or 3rd date. I don't want him knocking on my door in the middle of the night.
2. Once it has progressed to me letting him pick me up, I allow him in my home as little as possible. I'm right by the door when he arrives and I kiss him goodnight before I unlock my door.
3. When I am ready to allow more, then I invite him in. Some men take that as a friendly invitation, some go right to naked.

Men invite me to their houses on the first date, often. This doesn't mean that they want to have sex with me right then and there (although, you have to be careful who you are alone with). Most of the time it means that they are proud of their homes and they want to show me that they can be good providers.

Sexting is never a good idea.

Basically, if you are not comfortable enough with a man to discuss birth control or what his expectations for sex are, you shouldn't sleep with him. For me and for most women, the big o's happen when we are most relaxed and with someone you are comfortable with.

Sex does not equal an exclusive relationship or even a call the next day. Don't assume it does.

And yes, you can always change your mind but that can lead to date rape. It takes a lot for a man to reign it once he gets the green light. Don't take off your clothes unless you are okay with going all the way.
posted by myselfasme at 4:40 PM on November 26, 2011 [5 favorites]

Check your MeMail.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:46 PM on November 26, 2011

2.) I'd keep the clothing on unless you've already been pretty clear that sex is off the menu.

4.) A guy who tries more than the mildest coercive technique-- like once-- is a super creep *HOWEVER* the level of ambivalence you express is a factor here!!! If he begins to look at you with puppy dog eyes and tries to lightly touch once more you if you are essentially expressing, "I'm tempted but I dunno." well, that's acceptable. However, if you really say no and he's not listening, the guy is a super asshole who should be immediately kicked out of your life. Men worth your time don't push like that-- EVER.
posted by devymetal at 4:51 PM on November 26, 2011

No is no and all that, but mentally? Yes, I would interpret removing clothing or inviting me up after a date to be a very very likely step toward actual intercourse, and I would be a bit surprised if that wasn't the intention.

Offended, probably not. Angry, no. But surprised.
posted by rokusan at 5:03 PM on November 26, 2011

I'm curious what the consensus is about part of question 1 -- 'Or what if she randomly invites you over for a movie one night?' Is that generally considered a hint that more than a movie is likely?
posted by greatgefilte at 5:10 PM on November 26, 2011

I didn't do "tests" with dates (I'm married now), but there are some signs of interest that I would notice. If the woman is comfortable with casual physical contact (hand on shoulder, stuff like that), I take that as a sign of interest. If she never initiates it and shrinks from it, probably a sign of disinterest.

Inviting me up to her place means nothing with regards to possibly having sex. Disrobing I would take as a clear sign that sex is imminent. I agree No means no, and I'd always respect that (this scenario never actually happened to me), but that would definitely be sending a mixed message. For that matter, in my own somewhat limited experience, every hot'n'heavy makeout session has led directly to sex, and those have always happened spontaneously.
posted by adamrice at 5:12 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

In my limited personal experience as a dating lady in her mid-twenties, things vary. I've had multiple dates with people who I never even kissed, and a couple first dates that went all the way and turned into long term (as in years) relationships.

The in-between stuff I've experienced was basically fooling around with folks who seemed into that sort of thing, and of course you take your clothes off for that. Those dates started off very flirty, very drinky, and then quickly led to public make-out sessions, so both parties involved seemed to be on the same page. (To clarify my definition of "fooling around", in my case it involved everything up to (but not past) oral sex.). In those instances, although clothing was off, I don't think there were that many hard feelings when full-on sex was not had, even though I don't have any recollection of clearly stating that before I removed my clothes. A good time was still had by all, so what's the issue? And if that's acceptable for a series of events that could be referred to as hook-ups, I don't see any reason it wouldn't be okay for more slow-moving dates.

A truly classy guy will find a sexy way of getting verbal confirmation before sex, even if both parties are full-on into it, so life is way too short to spend time with a dude who tries to push the issue after you've said no.

Reading some other folks' comments, I will say that my dating demographic at the time included a lot of folks with roommates, and I had roommates as well, so there were elements of safety in that if somebody had turned out to be a dick.
posted by sometimes_a_pony at 5:14 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Lesbian here, so a slightly different perspective, but (when I was dating), if my date were to take off her bra, I would assume it was okay to touch her breasts. If she took off her underwear, I would assume it was okay to touch her there, too. If she moved my hands away, I would ask if she wanted me to stop and respect her wishes. But, I do assume that removal of clothing means touching in the naked areas is okay.

I would guess that asking me in after a date meant makeouts, at least, but I would still feel the situation out.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:17 PM on November 26, 2011

I found that making my boundaries super clear & managing expectations (mine and theirs) was the best thing I ever did for my sex (and love) life. I was direct when subtlety could have worked, but there is something awesome about being really clear ("I don't want to have sex tonight, but do you want to take some of our clothes off and make out until we're both hot & bothered & have to go take cold showers?") and playing within those boundaries that takes the pressure off of wondering where the make-out session is going to go and allows you to fully enjoy what you are doing. Subtlety is awesome, but often confusing and not for me! I'm more of a "whisper in your ear exactly what dirty things I want to do" kind of girl.

What worked best for me was to decide beforehand what I thought my limits would be and communicate them clearly ("Want to come over and watch a movie & make out high school virgin style with all of our clothes on?"). If I was on the fence about how much sexual contact I wanted then I expressed my preference for the lesser amount of contact & then adjusted on the next date if I had regrets.

It is awesome that you are asking about what different things mean, but meanings vary from person to person, so if I were you I'd work on making your boundaries clear before you get into ambigious territory and saying no whenever you feel uncomfortable. (If you're already comfortable with this, ignore my advice!) There is no magical set of rules.

Be playful, be sexy, own your sexuality and what you want & communicate it to your partner. Have sex on whatever timetable & whatever bases order feels best for you & be aware that may vary radically depending on who you date.
posted by studioaudience at 5:36 PM on November 26, 2011 [16 favorites]

When I'm not into someone, I avoid 100% of the awkwardness by not accepting an invitation into their home at night in the first place. Either I like someone enough to be intimate and have sex or I don't: why lead them on by taking my clothes off? Why make out with somebody you know wants to bone and then leave them hanging? It's not fair to them, it wastes my time, and the only thing you get out of it is unnecessary drama. Or if you're really lucky, date rape and stalkers.

Movie nights are for real friends, not hey-let-me-get-you-alone-in-the-dark "friends". Hell, I stopped going on coffee dates with people I'm not interested in when it's clear they're only asking because they want more later. The sooner you're upfront about your intentions, the better off everyone will be.
posted by aquafortis at 5:45 PM on November 26, 2011 [8 favorites]

2.) I'd keep the clothing on unless you've already been pretty clear that sex is off the menu.

Yes, totally this. If you don't want to go "all the way" (ugh), either make that clear with your actions -- keep all your clothes on -- or your words: "I'm going to take my shirt off, but that's as far as it goes tonight, ok?"

There are gray areas like below the shirt feel-ups that you'll have to negotiate, but I find the level of undress to be the best indication of what's on the table unless specifically said otherwise.
posted by supercres at 5:51 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Or what if she randomly invites you over for a movie one night?

Depends what's already been done in the course of dating. I think that early in dating, I would interpret a request for "a quiet night in" like this as a desire for a step up in intimacy- from square one to kissing, from kissing to full-on feely-up makeouts, or from full-on makeouts to intercourse.
posted by supercres at 6:04 PM on November 26, 2011

I think you can be direct but in a playful way. But this has to be your style too and you have to be in the right vibe during the date/relationship. So if you invite someone in after a date or over for a movie date, but then turn around and say in a vampy-finger pointed way "But don't get the wrong idea!" or "don't think you're getting lucky" can work and be flirty. If not, it will just come off as strange. I've had someone say back "don't think you are" and then I immediately wanted them more. awesome.

If you want to enjoy some clothes off time without "sex" you can also say after some making out something like (ok this is awkward), "I'm not interested in taking it too far tonight. Can you handle it?" Light hearted but clear. I'm usually way more saucier but you get the idea.

Sometimes it can just be as simple as "I like you but there isn't going to be sex for awhile until I get to know you better." If he is ok with that than he'll keep showing up. And if he isn't he'll disappear and he isn't the right guy for you.

If the person physically moves it forward, you decline, and he tries again, then immediately end the night. Not ok.
posted by Kitty Cornered at 8:08 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

With me its all about comfort levels... I've been on first dates that ended up in the bedroom, and I've dated guys for months without more than a few goodnight kisses. Things happened once I felt comfortable enough to want them to happen.

Of course, for me, a lot depends on how well I know a person. Sleeping together after the first date isn't going to happen with some guy who I met online, but is likely to happen with someone I've been friendly acquaintances with for a few months. I need to know they're not going to be psycho, and I need to know them well enough to trust that they're not lying about STD/etc type statuses... So I don't really have a timeline, it mostly depends on when I feel I can trust them, and when I feel comfortable taking things into the realm of physical.

In your case, I would be straightforward about being new to the dating scene.. let them know how comfortable you are with certain things. If you want to "take it slow" let them know what that means to you (needing time to get comfortable, a certain number of dates before you think you're ready, or "I'll tell you when I'm ready to move forward")... Keep in mind, this makes you responsible for making the first move when you're sure its what you want to do.
posted by myShanon at 8:34 PM on November 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would urge you to have a conversation about your boundaries BEFORE sexy time happens. That means before the clothes come off but after interest has been stated/indicated.

I come from a sex-positive background with a ton of sexual assault support workers and sex educators as friends, so I am particularly sensitive to signs of disinterest and boundaries being reached. I'm also a little on the submissive side so I tend to wait for my partner to either tell me to remove their/my clothing or ask. I am completely ok with "no" meaning stop right now. I don't think this is the norm for straight men.

As far as bases go: I don't even know what those are. I tend to find myself in situations where we have some kind of sexual activity (manual, oral, penetration; any of these counts) or none at all (well kissing yes but that's less sexual), there's no halfway point. There's no "ok let's just take our tops off and nothing else", if that's what you were asking.

1. Expect is the wrong word... more hope? Want? Makeout time, assuming signals about this were given prior. Anything more than that is a bonus.
2. This discussion should happen before any clothes are removed.
3. I don't think this through that much. There's nonverbal body language like the way her head tilts when our faces are close to each other, how her breathing changes, etc. that let me know if she's into it. Anything more than kissing usually gets a "is this ok?" check-in because consent is sexy and there's something kind of awesome about hearing someone say "yes".
4. Generally if the clothes come off, that's a signal to touch what has been shown. If she pushes my hands away, I check her expression and try to figure out if she's fighting for fun (this usually means she's smirking) or if she's upset. If the expression is hard to read, I ask. If you don't want to use those parts sexually, either discuss it or leave those clothes on.

Again, I am incredibly atypical compared to the usual straight man. My key advice is to discuss this WITH WORDS before you're naked and have passed your boundaries. It's ok if these boundaries then change but at least give your partner a starting point. Be honest and straightforward.
posted by buteo at 9:27 PM on November 26, 2011 [4 favorites]

Generally, everyone just muddles through this. Its amazing the species reproduces.

My advice is be aware--everyone and every pairing is different. A mindful approach, focusing on the situation, rather than a checklist is great.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:51 PM on November 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

4. Do you ever get to a point where you start ignoring mild resistance?

Answering for myself, definitely not. Consent and trust are sexy to play around with, but not on the first date. But from talking with friends of both genders, I think it is pretty clear that a lot of people don't see it that way at all. People sometimes put up fake resistance expecting it to be violated, and people someones expect that resistance is fake and can be ignored. Personally I think that is a crappy way to interact and a recipe for disaster, but the reality is that you can't take it as a given that the guy you are making out with will react the way you expect or hope if you want to put the brakes on suddenly.
posted by Forktine at 11:16 PM on November 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

1. If a girl invites me up, I'd hope that we were going to have sex, and would think of it as a reasonable possibility, but if it was just drinks and a bit of making out I certainly wouldn't complain.

2. I don't think there's anything wrong with being clear about your intentions. I've had girls say anything from the fact that they like taking things slow to just outright saying that they're not going to sleep with me that night, and in none of those situations did I ever consider it a negative thing. Putting them on the same page as you in as clear a way as possible is a good thing.

3. I tend to wait for the signs either to be incredibly clear and obvious, however if I ever feel a slight bit of resistance when taking it to another level (i.e. she puts her hand on mine to stop it from going further) then I know what the line is and readjust accordingly.

4. As previously stated, if she's indicated that, I know where the line is and I don't cross it. I've had a girl stop me at one point, but then guide my hand to do the same thing later on that same night when things have progressed further.
posted by gregoryg at 1:00 AM on November 27, 2011

This is not something you can, or should, plan like you were following recipe instructions. It varies, depending on you, the other person, the moment, the mood and many other unforeseeable and often barely-tangible factors. The bottom line is relax and go with the flow. If you feel hesitant and in need of boundaries or more time, behave accordingly. If you feel mad for it and it's reciprocated, dive in. I mean, why not?

Now, that said, boundaries on both sides have to be respected, without exception.

Do you ever get to a point where you start ignoring mild resistance?

No. Never. Just NO. The only way this would ever be acceptable would be in the context of some mutually-agreed S&M play, with all the usual safeties in place and fully understood. Anyone - male or female - has the right to call a halt at any time, even if it seems like a really dickish, prick/clit-teasing time to do it. Otherwise you're into sexual assault/rape territory, right? An expression of reluctance or resistance should always be taken at face value. Besides, do you really want to push sex on someone who may not be sufficiently into it, or you? I would hope not.

The other thing about respecting indications of resistance/reluctance is that if the resister is playing silly "hard-to-get" games (and depressingly, this does happen), they'll certainly know not to do that next time if they actually do want you. If you respect all wishes, whether sincere or not, your partner will know exactly where they stand with you.

For instance, if she let's you take off her clothes--down to bra and/or underwear--but then pushes your hands away at certain stages, would you view that as like a "just for show" resistance, and try to play through?

No, no, no. This would never be acceptable. This would be assault. If she pushed me away, I would treat that in the most direct, face-value way and back off, probably with an apology. She's saying no, she doesn't want that. This sort of thing shouldn't even be a source of doubt.
posted by Decani at 4:28 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you invite me up to your apartment and start taking off your clothes and then decline any sexual activity, I would find that misleading. And no, that absolutely does not entitle me to try and refuse your resistance -- It does make me pretty inclined to ignore your phone call the next day because I don't want to be dating someone with the sexual maturity of a 17-year-old. I am a 30-year-old man, I do not want to do the same things I did in high school. I am not really that excited about touching your boobs as an end in itself.

Actually, I'm married, so it's fairly moot for me, but if I wasn't, I'd want to date someone that treats sex in a bit more adult manner. My wife and I did not have sex on the first date, but we did have sex the first time we started undressing around each other.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:13 AM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you, this has all been very helpful. For the record, in terms of my question #4, I've experienced several variations.

One was with a guy who seemed to very clearly respect that I didn't want to go too far. He constantly checked in and I found that comforting. On the other hand he eventually stripped to boxers and invited me to take my jeans off a couple times. I still feel like he was a really stand up guy, but now in hindsight wonder if he was actually trying to get further than I had thought.

Another time what with was a guy who I told very explicitly that we weren't going to have sex. He verbally acknowledged and said he thought it was too soon as well. However soon after he took my bra off and then later tried to get my underwear off more than once despite a very hard shove at his arm. At the time I felt he was definitely aggressive but I didn't have enough of a frame of reference to really know. I don't think I felt violated, and if I have to be honest it made me feel very desired. I wondered if that level of slight aggressiveness was the norm.

The last guy was an acquaintance I brought home after a party. He unzipped my dress, I zipped it back up. He later tried to go up my dress and push my legs apart. After a few rounds of resistance on this same action I started telling him to stop. It took a good 10 seconds or so for him to finally stop and get up. This time I knew right away that it wasn't right. That said, I didn't want to make a scene so it took a while to get him out of my apartment.

It sounds like generally people think that at least the second two incidents violate a standard code of conduct. But if it's really that egregious then it's happening to me repeatedly so I feel like I need to take some responsibility for it. I'm trying to understand what I did that may have led him to think I was giving the green light. Again, this has all been very helpful.
posted by sowrite at 10:50 AM on November 27, 2011

It's completely inappropriate to "push through" if someone's resisting. There are guys out there who will push through, whether verbally or physically, or who will act all hard done by if things get all het up and then you put the brakes on. There's also guys out there who will move things on faster than you're comfortable with, until you're stuck in a situation you didn't mean to be in and you're somehow feeling guilty about the idea of saying "no thanks". It doesn't take someone malicious, just someone clueless or bad at reading signals and used to people who move quickly.

So, if you're not really really confident with being assertive and clear with people, I think it's wise to try not to be alone in a private place with a guy unless either you're happy that you'd have sex with him, or you've discussed explicitly what you're up for and you trust him to stick to that. Either way, if you find yourself feeling pressured to do something you don't want, exit stage left as fast as possible. Break up the situation immediately and move back to somewhere that's not private or you're not alone. You may feel like an ass, but feeling like an ass is WAY BETTER than ending up in a situation you didn't want and you don't know how to stop.
posted by emilyw at 10:52 AM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

The important distinction here is that while ignoring or pushing through resistance is not ok, as plenty of people here have explained, it is also super common and sometimes even desired or expected. I don't think it is at all safe to assume there is any universal consensus on this or that people's reactions and behaviors can be easily predicted.

And there is endless room for nuance and miscommunication. Does pushing someone's hand away mean "not tonight," or "not this moment, but please try again in a few minutes"? I don't think you are going to find general rules or clarity, or any easy way to avoid negotiating things anew each time.
posted by Forktine at 11:13 AM on November 27, 2011

1. I expect that being-invited-up means she wants to move from conversation to more physical things. What that means depends how far we got physically outside. I try not to assume much.

2. I've been slowed or stopped while kissing, various stages of undress, various stages of sex, etc. It's called "listening to feedback". Sex should feel good. When you're beyond your natural pace it feels bad, so you give feedback to get that corrected. That should be respected. I have a natural pace too and sometimes a woman has moved too fast for me. Don't waste your time with someone who won't accept clear feedback.

3. Try-a-thing, feel-response. Response should ideally be enthusiastic and escalating, or at least passive but indicating clear contentment and pleasure. If she pulls away, goes cold, changes subject, etc. that's a clear signal to change, slow down or stop.

4. Unless we'd explicitly discussed it as a game she likes to play, I would not push past expressed resistance. It's a lot worse to cross that line by accident than to accidentally not get laid.

Re followup: It sounds like generally people think that at least the second two incidents violate a standard code of conduct.

Yes. You gave feedback and they ignored it. It's doesn't matter if what they did was "standard" or not. It's true that a lot of men will do that. They're all doing the wrong thing.
posted by ead at 1:21 PM on November 27, 2011

In regards to the men who tried to push a bit... it may be that the second guy thought you wanted him to behave that way, but 3 and especially 4 I would be wary of ever being alone with.

My suggestion if a guy starts pushing and tries again (after you've pulled away, pushed his hands away, or however you've physically shown you don't want what he's trying to do).. the second time, physically remove his hand or step out of reach and verbally say "No". It might cool down the moment of passion, but its safer for you to take a step away and explain you're not ready to go that far yet. Make it clear where the boundaries are first, if you continue with the making out... "I really enjoy kissing you, but lets keep it above the waist"

Also, I've learned over the years that keeping the make out sessions out of the bedroom helps avoid the risk of mixed signals (most guys I've been with assume that moving to a bed is the green light for sex). Couch make outs can be fun. Lounge, lean back against the arm of the couch. If they move to lay stretched out together on the couch pause to remind them that you're not ready for sex.

If its someone that you're enjoying going on dates and spending time with, and think you may eventually be ready to take that step, let them know that as soon as you're ready you'll tell them so.

If you're meeting these guys online through dating sites... I'd consider putting something on your profile to the effect that you want to take things slow, get to know each other, and not have sex unless it becomes a committed relationship. It should help weed out some of the guys who are just looking to hook up.
posted by myShanon at 4:30 PM on November 27, 2011

After a few rounds of resistance on this same action I started telling him to stop.

I think you should be making your expectations verbally explicit immediately a boundary s crossed [or even before], rather than 'After a few rounds of resistance'.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 5:10 PM on November 27, 2011

Make your boundaries clear verbally as soon as you can, and say something as soon as one of them gets crossed, if at all. Remember, your date might have different ideas about what "cues" mean, so dispense with all that and just speak honestly. You can couch it in flirtation or compliments if you feel awkward. But say it. You can't count on someone to interpret subtle cues and body language unless they know you well, in my opinion. and even then it's not always easy to do and can lead to misunderstanding.

Also, I think that well-adjusted men like a responsive woman in bed. It lets them know when they're doing something right, and in my experience, good communication generally leads to great sex/intimacy, whereas poor communication and poor boundary setting leads to disappointing sex.

If they are pushing a little and you don't want to do anything more but you're enjoying yourself and you want to stay at the same level: "I'm really enjoying ____ but let's stop at ____" as MyShanon suggested, that's great advice.

When you feel a line has been crossed and you are uncomfortable: "Stop. I'm not comfortable ______ because we haven't known one another very long and I prefer to take it slow, as I've mentioned. Let's call it a night." Get up, get dressed, move away.

If you move it to the bedroom, then to some, yes, it will seem like sex is on the menu. Stay out of the bedroom. Keep most of your clothes on. If you want to come or make your date come without having intercourse, then flirt about it and tell them that; establish that as the expectation and if your date is respectful they will be happy to keep it to that with you.

Remember, when someone is pushing at your boundaries insistently and ignoring your response, they're telling you something important about themselves, which is usually, "I don't respect your wishes and don't mind pressuring you to get what I want! Don't date me!"
posted by zdravo at 6:14 PM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

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