Is Patti right?
December 23, 2011 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Is no "sex without monogamy" worth a try?

After having been out of the game for a while, I'm back into the dating scene. I've been meeting people that I'm interested in having a relationship with (one person in particular). I'm a 24 year old female who is looking for a long-ish term relationship rather than casual dating.

Patti Stanger says that if you're someone like me, you should stick to the rule No Sex Before Monogamy with the idea that your partner will "fall in love" with you more easily if you don't put out so quick. Kissing, making out are all fine and dandy, but oral or penetrative sex is a no-no.

I'm willing to try it, but I'm curious about whether this has any teeth. Anecdotes, rebuttals, etc are all welcome. I know each relationship is different, but if this is a pattern, I'll give it a shot.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (44 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a 24 year old female who is looking for a long-ish term relationship rather than casual dating.

You know what you want. You don't need to borrow someone else's standards. Do what interests you and what you're comfortable with. Other people are far too variable in personality and temperament to allow any such rule to be stated with certainty. If you think "no sex without monogamy" (I assume this is the phrase you meant to type given what follows) is right for you, then go for it.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:01 AM on December 23, 2011 [6 favorites]

Patti Stanger is not my cup of tea in any way, shape or form. I make no bones about that.

I think that a lot of what I've heard from her is fairly sound, in general, but I would hesitate to take relationship advice of any kind from a fifty year old single woman.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:11 AM on December 23, 2011 [5 favorites]

the idea that your partner will "fall in love" with you more easily if you don't put out so quick.

I don't see how this could work, honestly; even if there's a subset of people more likely to fall in love just because sex is off the menu, are "more likely to get attached to partners they see as partially unavailable" or "less likely to get attached to partners they see as sexual" really qualities you'd look for in a long-term partner?

But that said, if you're not interested in sex when things are no more serious than casual dating, then don't do it. Being yourself and being open and honest about what you want has a pretty goo track record for finding long-term compatibility.
posted by Catseye at 10:11 AM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Rules, rules, rules. Rules about sex and love and dating work for the people for whom they work, and do not work for people for whom they do not. An asshole will string you along until you have sex, regardless of how long, and then split or be an asshole. A good guy can have sex with you on the first date -- or even before an official 'date' -- and be a good guy to you forever.

Would you take advice from Dr. Phil? If you have a lick of sense, probably not. So why take advice from someone with a different TV show on a different channel? This person has no idea who you are or the kind of people you date, or want to date, or want to fall in love with. Physical intimacy has a natural progression to it, and the natural progression is dictated by how the people engaging in it feel, not how they've been instructed to act by someone whom they have never met.

If you feel like you want to take things beyond making out, take it there. If it "makes" someone less attracted to you, do you really think this person would be a good match if you had waited? I know many couples, and I have never heard anyone say "oh, she everything was awesome, but she wanted to have sex too early" (I'm assuming your straight and there's a giant gender assymetry here, FYI, but that's another conversation entirely.) What I have heard is "I liked her, but I didn't like the sex, so I didn't want to keep seeing her." And you believe me, a serious lack of sexual compatibility is not a fun thing to discover after you've emotionally invested yourself in a person.

Keep as much deception, artifice and intrigue out of dating as possible, and you will have a better time. Dating, for the most part, is miserable, and trying to trick people puts another layer of "ugh" onto it that doesn't need to be there.
posted by griphus at 10:11 AM on December 23, 2011 [23 favorites]

You may have a much easier time settling down with one person someday, if that's your cup of tea, when you know what you want sexually and know how to communicate that. One fantastic way of figuring those things out is exploratory sex with people you trust. Figuring these things out while in a monogamous relationship with a particular person will certainly bring you both closer together, but not knowing oneself well can also thwart a new, potentially amazing partnership. The latter is especially true when your peer group is within the age range that this experimentation is encouraged and considered socially acceptable. Casual sex without monogamy is just another option, but it's in no way a better or worse route than monogamy.
posted by theraflu at 10:12 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

It isn't the case that monogamy is equivalent to love. If you are looking to have a monogamous relationship, it may beehoove you to only sleep with people who want to be monogamous with you, but that won't necessarily have anything to do with their falling in love with you.
posted by emumimic at 10:13 AM on December 23, 2011

I think essentially putting miles on yourself emotionally and physically just because it seems to be expected is an unnecessary risk and a ridiculous recipe for unhappiness if what you want is a lasting relationship with one person.

You know yourself, so why behave in a way that will set yourself up for more problems and heartbreak? Patti Stanger may be a weird-o, but she has some excellent advice now and then, and she's especially right in this case.

No man who has ever been worth my time was put off by the fact that I refused casual sex, and I regret even letting the short-time whatevs dates lay so much as a hand on me. They didn't deserve it. When you want different things, why even let men like that, once you find them out, take up space in your mind or heart?

'Cause guess what? Now that I've found the perfect partner for me, none of those experiences with other men do anything but clog up my memory bank with dross. Experience isn't necessary if you keep your eyes open and stay aware of what your intuition says.

Dating to find out "what you don't like" is as productive as going bankrupt to see "how *not* to spend money".
posted by devymetal at 10:14 AM on December 23, 2011 [15 favorites]

What a very strange view of Patti Stanger's. Sex is what you do in accordance with your nature and in accordance with any legal or profoundly moral rules of your society. That's it. It is not there to make someone fall in love with you - and it won't work that way anyway.

Love and sex are linked, but not in the way Patti seems to imagine. You can love someone, have sex with them, do it for years, and then stop loving them, or love someone you never have sex with, or be unfaithful (bad word) to someone you love very much, or faithful to someone you don't really love a lot. It's your body, your life, your sex, your decision.

There are very few rules - Only have mutually agreed sex and only with an adult able to make rational decisions (no getting someone drunk - including yourself- just for sex, for example); Decide if you are going to be an open or closed relationship and then never break the trust; Don't hurt anyone, including yourself; Remember that receiving is just as important as giving - do both fully. Be happy in your sex life. That covers most things - Using your vagina as a carrot to 'get your guy' is definitely not one of the rules, it's just a very bad idea.
posted by nickji at 10:18 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well I think if you want a long term relationship and would prefer to get sexual in that context then it makes sense to get to know someone slowly in order to find out if they are interested in a long term relationship with you and vice versa. There really are a lot of people looking for just sex and a lot of people will either lie, or be lying to themselves about how they feel about you in order to make the sex happen faster.

Waiting doesn't mean that the relationship will work after you do start having sex, but it does mean that if nothing else, you can build trust that this person has compassion for you and cares about the fact that your preference is something long term and has an interest in a long term relationship too. Even if you wait and then have the sex and it doesn't work out, you will feel less like you just got used and more like you gave the kind of intimacy you and the other person were looking for a shot.

In my experience, guys (maybe gals too? I don't date women so I don't know) tend to be on a pretty quick time table of initiating the sex and I find I just can't even date under those circumstances.

I find that sex is not enjoyable for me if I don't feel like the other person has intimate feelings for me and wants a long term relationship to work. It just feels awful under those circumstances. I don't personally get anything out of it. I guess the idea is that you put up with it and give the guy sex early on so they can try you out and decide if you're worth investing any more time with, but that just feels awful and I don't want to play that way.

So no, for me if a guy feels casually and non-committal then I will not get anything out of sex, because for me the emotional intimacy and the trust in long term sharing of compassion and affection is what encourages me feeling comfortable engaging in that way with someone. I like the emotional intimacy and it's interrelated with feelings of arousal and sexual feelings.
posted by xarnop at 10:19 AM on December 23, 2011 [10 favorites]

I will add, I wasn't saying you should feel like I do, but know what makes your heart happy and whatever it is, try to engage in a way that honors your self, and hopefully is mutually compatable with another person honoring what's in their heart.
posted by xarnop at 10:20 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's the best thing worth trying: know what you want (you've already got that down, which is huge), be open and honest about what you want, and be happy, confident and comfortable with yourself/in your own skin. Nothing else is really important when it comes to meeting men, or if it is, it's too idiosyncratic for us to know what to tell you about it.

Patti is probably only right for a certain subset of men who you probably don't want to be involved with; men who would fall in love with you, hopefully, are not men who have a whore/madonna dichotomous view of women, which is what her advice seems to imply to me. But if you like guys like that, maybe you should listen to her.
posted by clockzero at 10:23 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Patti Stanger says that if you're someone like me, you should stick to the rule No Sex Before Monogamy with the idea that your partner will "fall in love" with you more easily if you don't put out so quick.

It's not just that every relationship is different (although they are); it's that every person is different. Lots of people have indiscriminate sex until they find the person they want to be with. It works for them.

I don't have indiscriminate sex -- that is, I only sleep with people I'm monogamous with (or at least interested in being monogamous with). That works for me.

Back when I did have indiscriminate sex, it worked like this: If I had sex with you on the first few dates, it meant that I had already decided that I wasn't interested in anything more than sex. People I wanted a relationship with had to wait a month or 3.

I have no idea who Patti Stanger is and have no interest in finding out, but I'll say this: No one can tell you what will work for you. It's between you and your partners.
posted by coolguymichael at 10:23 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think Patti's point is to not make a sexual investment in a relationship that isn't going in the direction you want. She says no sex until you're exclusive, which means two people like each other well enough to not see other people and are presumably establishing something meaningful before introducing the sexual element. Are you the kind of person who is OK with their sexual partner having sex with other people? If you want to be exclusive, are hoping this person who is sleeping with others will eventually realize that you're 'the one' or 'special' and stop sleeping with those others. Will you be hurt if exclusiveness doesn't happen after sex, even if the other person isn't sleeping with someone else?

Lots of people have sex with people they don't know well but find attractive, and sometimes that's the start of something but more often than not, it isn't.

The odds are in your favor by waiting, but this guarantees nothing, because like with all relationship it matters whether the other person is honest or an asshole. But presumably by waiting, you have time to figure this out.
posted by shoesietart at 10:24 AM on December 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

Oh, one caveat: don't make the mistake of thinking that a man's feelings or character will change because of how you feel about him. If you meet a guy you like who isn't down with a monogamous, long-term-oriented relationship, but you're super crazy for him, don't allow yourself to think that maybe he'll change his mind. That way lies heartbreak. Find someone who's right for you from the beginning.
posted by clockzero at 10:25 AM on December 23, 2011 [8 favorites]

I think that after a couple successful dates with anyone, you might want to tell them that you're into taking things slow for a while as far as sex goes and you'll tell them when you're ready. This is useful for a few reasons:

1. It allows them to know up front what your terms are, so they have the option of backing out if that doesn't work for them.
2. If they agree to it, the way they agree to it and the way they respect it might be good indicators of how things might be in the long term; if they're understanding and completely cool about it then that's a good sign and if they pout and pressure you then you know you can write them off.
3. It establishes an early pattern of open and honest communication - also useful in the long run, if there's a long run to be useful in.


Some people won't be able to hang with that. Some people will say they can and really mean it and really believe they can but then they find they can't. Some people will say that they aren't able to build an emotional commitment to someone if they have no idea how you match up with sexually. But some people can. Unfortunately, there isn't a way to figure out which of these you've got your hands on until they're given a chance to show you.

I kind of feel like Stanger's idea is based on the behavior where a guy doesn't stick around if a girl puts out early. I think this is a little chicken-and-egg, really: It wasn't the sex that changed things. Sex was the only thing he wanted, so once he got it, he was gone. There was never going to be a relationship there anyway. Some men do this. Some don't. Again, no way to tell which one you're dealing with without putting it to the test, but if they don't want you for more than sex, they'll often fade out when they aren't getting what they want quickly; you can hedge your bests by just taking things slow.

So just take things slow. Don't set hard and fast rules on exactly which milestone is the one at which you'll bed a dude. But don't hop into bed with him right away, either. Maybe not until you've been dating a while and things are clearly headed in the monogamy direction.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:26 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would second xarnop: if you don't enjoy sex outside of a long-term and committed relationship, then don't feel pressured to. Different people have different feelings about sex and commitment/monogamy; I have learned that I only like sex in a committed, monogamous relationship. I am happy that I have a relationship like that right now, but if it should ever (god forbid) end, I would look for another and probably not have sex with dating partners until we were committed (which for me also means monogamous).

It's not about what will influence/manipulate the other person, but about what would make me happy. If you are like me (and xarnop), then you should feel free to not have sex until you want to.

I should note: there are men who also want sex to be something for a committed relationship rather than casual dating - sex can be very bonding for both men and women.
posted by jb at 10:27 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, and just to clarify.

My dating history has been pretty positive-- no cheaters, no abuse, and while I dated extensively, certainly do not have a torrid sexual past. Yet I STILL look back on my past intimate relationships-- even the best ones-- as basically pointless, since I was looking for the perfect fit, and none of those guys ultimately made the cut.
posted by devymetal at 10:29 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

It is totally, completely, utterly normal and even standard to only have sex when you know you are in an exclusive relationship. Sometimes that can happen really quickly. Mind you, I'm not saying that you will know exactly where the relationship is headed at that point. But to know that your date isn't doing anyone else for the time being? Totally normal, and the way I have done things in all my 20 (!) years of dating.
posted by yarly at 10:31 AM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm a 24 year old female who is looking for a long-ish term relationship rather than casual dating.

Then I think no sex without monogamy is a great idea for you. But not because of this bunk about people falling in love with you more easily.

Patti Stanger says that if you're someone like me, you should stick to the rule No Sex Before Monogamy with the idea that your partner will "fall in love" with you more easily if you don't put out so quick

It's a good idea simply because

a) It sounds like you don't WANT sex without monogamy.
b) It will weed out the people who aren't looking for the same thing as you and/or aren't that into you beyond sex.

Go for it.
posted by cairdeas at 10:42 AM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Uhhhh....No Sex Before Monogamy was always my standard in my dating years. It wasn't about following rules or trying to trick anyone into falling in love with me or anything like that. Making out, kissing, all that, too--I've always been a one-woman man. Old fashioned, perhaps, but completely normal, as far as I know.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:43 AM on December 23, 2011

I think devymetal is confusing "this advice was right for me" with "this advice was right".

FWIW, her advice is right for me too - sex outside of a committed relationship has, the few times I've tried it, been dissatisfying and ultimately pretty pointless for me, even though I found the guys in question physically attractive.

For a lot of people, however, casual sex/hookups/fuckbuddies are all totally awesome.

For a lot of other people, they're somewhere in between.

I agree with cairdeas/mrmoonpie - it has nothing to do with somehow magically forcing men to fall in love with you. It's about how and why sex is satisfying for you.

None of us in this thread know what sort of person you are. Only you know that, asker.

Good luck!
posted by kavasa at 10:46 AM on December 23, 2011

Monogamy!=love. You can decide to be exclusive with someone but not be in love. So yes, I think that rule is a good rule to have.
posted by two lights above the sea at 10:57 AM on December 23, 2011

Patti Stanger says that if you're someone like me, you should stick to the rule No Sex Before Monogamy with the idea that your partner will "fall in love" with you more easily if you don't put out so quick.

A starving man will eat day two day old bread and think it's a feast, BECAUSE HE HASN'T EATEN IN A WHILE. Surely you want someone to want you for being you and not because of an enforced dry spell.

It's fine to wait for sex, if you want. Just don't expect that waiting period to be some magical step to everlasting love.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:00 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

You know what they say about dating - "Just be yourself!"

This is often misunderstood advice, but as soon as you start projecting as something that you are not, you're screwing up your chances of finding people who are interested in you.
If a rule feels like who you are, then follow it to the degree it feels right. If not, don't.

(For what it's worth, a lot of women - in my area at least - seem to have a similar but slightly different take on this - no monogamy until sex. Date multiple people at once, and when one of the relationships heats up, end the others. But I'm in an area with more guys than girls, so this kind of buffet dating might not apply so well in other areas)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:05 AM on December 23, 2011

"A starving man will eat day two day old bread and think it's a feast, BECAUSE HE HASN'T EATEN IN A WHILE. Surely you want someone to want you for being you and not because of an enforced dry spell."

I find this a perplexing way of looking at this. If sexual intimacy can be described as a NEED in men, and without it they are starving in desperation, then why can women (or anyone) not say they are in a state of starvation without a lifelong marriage partner because that is a NEED that fills their spirit?

I'm not saying you might not be right to look at it this way, but I think in and of itself if you're having sex or agreeing to a lifelong partnership to fill their sexual/emotional/romantic state of starvation --- you could at least acknowledge that starvation for want of long term commitment is as valid a "need" as sexual gratification.

What I mean to say is this seems to needlessly make people who want to take things slow- with sex or commitment- look like their depriving their partners in a cruel way. And I think it's as problematic as saying that partners who want to hold off on a long term emotional commitment or agreeing to monogamy as needlessly starving a partner in "need" of a life partner.

I don't think that refraining from having sex or agreeing to monogamy or marriage or romantic love with someone is starving them. Is it?
posted by xarnop at 11:11 AM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

What I mean to say is this seems to needlessly make people who want to take things slow- with sex or commitment- look like their depriving their partners in a cruel way.

They are. Noting was expressed about not having sex in order to take things slow.

What was mentioned was withholding sex to make your partner "fall in love with you more easily". The technique sounds like manipulative torture i.e. cruel.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:40 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't think that refraining from having sex or agreeing to monogamy or marriage or romantic love with someone is starving them. Is it?

I don't think that's the point. Rephrased without words like "need" and "starve", there are people who will jump through extreme hoops for sex, which defeats the point of putting out hoops for sex in hopes that those hoops act as a filter which only those in love will jump through. The world doesn't work like that.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:45 AM on December 23, 2011

Thanks for clarifying Brandon, I agree with you completely. I just find it strange that I notice a lot of people refer to sexual gratification as a need, but a life partner as a want. I find it strange because both use other people to fulfill your own desire/want/need-- and neither are actual survival needs. So to me both are equally valid as "needs"--- I just didn't want the OP to feel like wanting to go slow is itself needlessly harming a man by depriving him of sex.

But no I don't think going slowly should ever be viewed as tool to cause a partner to fall in love with you. Then again, what about exercising to have nice muscles to entice your partner to want sex? Lighting candles to generate a romantic mood? It gets confusing, but if you pressume that your partners needs are equally valid as your own and that you want to find someone who generally has the same vision of interaction you do--- then your goal is not to manipulate but to enjoy each others company.

I feel there is a lot of pressure on women (or maybe men too?) who want to go slowly with sex, so I just didn't want the idea of waiting to itself be painted as a manipulation tactic. It can be a perfectly valid need to want to wait for a commiment of some sort to get emotionally comfortable enough to have satisfying sex.
posted by xarnop at 11:49 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Rephrased without words like "need" and "starve", there are people who will jump through extreme hoops for sex, which defeats the point of putting out hoops for sex in hopes that those hoops act as a filter which only those in love will jump through. The world doesn't work like that.

I don't disagree that there are people who will jump through hoops for sex with one particular person. But I think there is a far, far larger proportion of people who will be up for sex if it's conveniently available, but wouldn't go to any extremes for it. And would rather just find someone else or maybe not even bother with it. It's the latter group of people who really gets weeded out.
posted by cairdeas at 11:50 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think if you withhold sex with the idea it will make someone fall more in love with you, you will be disappointed.

I think if you put off sex until you are in love with someone because that is how you prefer your sex (I am that way) then you will be better off.

Make sure you are not confusing the two. If you get enjoyment out of sex regardless of being in love, and it does not cause you grief in any other ways, then you'll be disappointed by putting off sex for either reason.
posted by Nattie at 12:13 PM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm a 24 year old female who is looking for a long-ish term relationship rather than casual dating.

Patti Stanger says that if you're someone like me, you should stick to the rule No Sex Before Monogamy with the idea that your partner will "fall in love" with you more easily if you don't put out so quick.

I have no idea who Patti Stanger is, and I don't see why it matters who says it. The commenters who are criticizing Patti Singer are make irrelevant ad hominem attacks.

As a 30-year-old man who's in a similar situation to yours, I more or less follow this rule. I don't understand the huge attraction of having sex with one person one day and a different person the next day.

But I also don't understand the argument that holding off on sex will make someone "fall in love with you more easily."

Do whatever you genuinely want to do. That could mean following a rule. But follow that rule because you want to follow it, not because someone else told you to.
posted by John Cohen at 12:46 PM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you are not comfortable with casual sex (and I'm not) then don't do it. It sucks, a lot, but it also sucks being intimate with people who don't care about you...when that's not what you want. Other people can do what they want but if it doesn't work for you, then don't do it. (on preview, I totally agree with xarnop).
posted by bquarters at 1:14 PM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Some people become attached easily. If you have sex with that kind of man, then he will "fall in love" with you. Except that he's not in love with you, he's just trying to make the romance work. So either he takes longer to get to know you and actually be on love with you, or else he slowly realizes who you are and feels betrayed/foolish and it's a mess.

I am big on not rushing into sex if you are looking for a realationship.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 1:14 PM on December 23, 2011

You can't "make" someone fall in love with you.

There are a number of tactics, ranging from playful seduction to flat-out manipulative Jedi mind-tricks, that can help to fan the flames of attraction, if they are there. If a person is about as attracted to you as they are to last Thursday's cold porridge, using these tactics won't change that.

Anticipation is a big part of seduction. So in this sense, if you refrain from hitting the sack before the first date, it helps to *not* kill off the anticipation. It may also screen out people who are only looking for sex and/or refuse to wait for it; these two sets of people do not completely overlap. However since this is in accordance with your wishes and values, you should keep to your terms and conditions whether or not they increase any given guy's attraction to you.

Waiting doesn't guarantee emotional safety, though, because people who are deceptive and who habitually shag around will just get the sex elsewhere and conceal this fact from you; but they have all the time in the world to wait for sex from you. Although it's something of an extreme case, people like this exist, and they also have no compunction about using manipulative Jedi mind-tricks to get you to fall in love with them so you'll eventually put out. As you might guess, keeping the knees together is not going to shield you from getting your heart broken by this kind of person. However, another aspect of waiting is taking the time to observe. People can't help but drop little hints about their real intentions. For example, the third time someone makes a joke about how their favorite sport is cruelty to animals, you may start to suspect that they're actually not joking, and you eventually may realize it's time to hit the eject button - perhaps not before your heart is broken, but at least before you shag him and he secretly films it and shows it to all his little sociopath friends (for example).
posted by tel3path at 1:16 PM on December 23, 2011 [5 favorites]

Patti Stanger says that if you're someone like me, you should stick to the rule No Sex Before Monogamy with the idea that your partner will "fall in love" with you more easily if you don't put out so quick.

I have a really hard time thinking of any relationship where one partner acts in a way to make the other person more likely to love them as healthy. It just seems to reduce the partner doing it to something that's not worthy of love outside of that action, and the person on the other end to a set of Pavlovian reactions.

I personally think when it comes to sex the only rule should be "whatever you both enjoy, when you both want it." There are plenty of great reasons to wait on sex, to make yourself more lovable isn't one of them. Rather than wanting a person who loves you BECAUSE of your sexual choices, you should focus on finding a person who loves you and respects your right to make those choices, whatever they are.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:56 PM on December 23, 2011

There is no guaranteed, sure-fire way to ensure that you will get someone who will fall in love, commit, or be faithful to you for any duration of time. That's it, that's all folks.
posted by sm1tten at 2:59 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't do it to game somebody, but if you prefer not to have sex until you've agreed on exclusivity, I don't think that's going to be at all difficult (with people who also want a relationship rather than something casual only). A lot of people feel that way for lots of reasons, it shouldn't be a big deal.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:16 PM on December 23, 2011

I'm in exactly your situation. I have at least a couple single female friends who use this strategy, it does not seem out-of-the-ordinary or prudish.

I also know a lot of single guys who pretty much live weekend-to-weekend and from their perspective, if they find a girl who says this, they're going to make a decision right then whether to commit any more effort. So using this rule to convey what you want (a committed relationship) IMO makes YOUR life a lot simpler.

Last relationship I got in, HE wanted to wait. This drove me CRAZY at first (not like sexy-crazy. Like you've-got-to-be-kidding-me-crazy.) But in retrospect, it allowed me to think a lot more clearly about him and about our potential before clouding it with sex--bonding hormones or whatever? It also forced me to feel comfortable being in a relationship without launching into "hey you know sex is so uncomplicated let's stick with that" early on.

I have no idea whether this was calculated on his part, I don't feel it was malicious or manipulative, we ended up having a great relationship and sex life so... there you go.
posted by ista at 6:25 PM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I went from sleep with them after 5 mins to waiting as long as it took and the waitings worked out better for me.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:36 PM on December 23, 2011

Do not use sex as a means to any end other than babies, because that's the only outcome that you can count on. You can't even count on that as it turns out, but you can count on that more than you can count on it having any particular effect on any given relationship.

Doing otherwise is basically using sex as a means of manipulating people, which is Bad and Wrong.

Now, on the other hand, there are plenty of decent reasons to abstain from sex before monogamy. But they have more to do with respect for yourself, the other person, and the nature and implications of sexual intimacy than they do with trying to push things towards any given outcome, relationship-wise.

That being said, refraining from sex for a while will give you some perspective that you'd likely lack if you went for it. Having sex with someone triggers all kinds of bonding hormones which make objective reasoning very difficult. This is probably why so many couples who are actively bad for each other stay together so long: they're thinking with their hormones instead of their heads. This won't necessarily mean that things will be awesome, but it may well help you avoid situations that are Not Awesome.
posted by valkyryn at 7:05 PM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

I am reading this book (the title is terrible, but the book is interesting - a feminist read of the social messages around dating, particularly for women). I'll paraphrase two interesting things that the author says:

-Studies have shown that if two people want to get into a relationship, the timing of when they have sex doesn't matter. They can have sex after 1 hour or 1 year, it all comes down to if they want to be in a relationship or not.

-"Make him wait for sex" stems from a transactional view of relationships; the man pays, shows that he's a good provider, etc., and the woman "rewards" him with sex. Think about this in the context of Patti Stanger: she gives advice about conventional gendered relationships where very wealthy men hold all the financial and decision-making power and relationship power for women resides solely in their ability to have sex or not. If that's not the kind of relationship you want, I would think twice about taking advice from her.

It sounds like you (a) want to get into a relationship and are trying to figure out the best way to do that and (b) are trying to protect yourself from getting hurt (given these, maybe you're not quite ready to be dating with a relationship in mind?). For (a), make sure you are looking at the person and if they're a fit for you, not just the prospect of a relationship. For (b), if having sex early on in a relationship makes you feel vulnerable in a way you're not comfortable with, don't do it. But if you do have sex with a guy, early on or not, know that's not what dictates whether or not you end up together.
posted by theflash at 7:46 PM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Anecdata: I am very eligible. I will "fall in love" with you more easily if you put out quick.

I hope that didn't sound too gross. Sorry. No time to write a better reply. Merry christmas.
posted by krilli at 9:39 PM on December 23, 2011

I think it's a good rule of thumb. As others have said, you can't "make" someone fall in love with you if they weren't going to anyway. Great relationships are built mostly on compatibility, chemicals and mutual respect, but how you start off a relationship can have a big impact on how it progresses. You can definitely start it off on the wrong foot and mess up something that could have been great, so your willingness to consider minor factors that may influence how a relationships starts off is commendable.

On a theoretical level, your withholding sex for a reasonable amount of time will weed out people who just want to have sex without the commitment you are seeking. However, it may also weed out people who would have committed eventually, but have enough access to casual sex that they don't feel like jumping through hoops, so keep gratuitous hoop jumping to a minimum. Don't move the goalposts! Furthermore, I don't think it's a popular view re: some corners of feminism, but holding out a little bit DOES seem to convince guys that you're a girl worth committing for, and not just someone to sleep with and forget. Many guys want to feel like they are special to you, and like they are getting something that not everyone else gets. Acting coy (in a playful way? not a stern way.) and waiting a little longer to have sex could start a relationship out on a foot where you are getting the commitment you desire.

Anecdotally, in my sex / relationship life I've always been really impatient, and did have a couple semi-long-term relationships that started with sex on the first date, or before we were actually dating. These relationships had a common theme where the guy would not want to commit to me, said things like, "I just don't believe in monogamy" and then 6 months later dumped my ass and started seriously dating other girls in committed relationships. I did find, though, that the relationships where I did wait a month or longer to have sex were the best relationships of my life, and were committed on both sides. In these cases I waited due to factors beyond my control, or I probably would not have had the willpower to resist. I hope I won't have to date much again because of the happy relationship I'm in now, but if I do then I'm going to try to wait to have sex because it's what's worked well for me in the past.
posted by permiechickie at 9:46 PM on December 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

Data Point: My wife and I were originally a one night stand that ended up being serious.
posted by schyler523 at 2:21 PM on December 24, 2011

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