If I invite someone to come over to my apartment on a fourth date...
November 5, 2013 4:55 PM   Subscribe

If I invite someone to come over to my apartment on a fourth date, how is that interpreted? I am dating a new guy who I like. I haven't kissed him yet. I think he is pretty interested because he is in touch a lot and he always schedules the next date before the end of the last one. He is pretty outgoing and I am pretty reserved. He seems pretty respectful and kind of good at reading signals. He asked what I wanted to do for our fourth date because he'd planned the previous ones. I wanted to invite him over to cook something together, etc. Basically I want to make out with him but don't want to sleep with him at this point. If I invite him over to my apartment will that be read as, "I want to sleep with you"? I'm new at this.
posted by mermily to Human Relations (29 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Are you trying not to use your voice at all? Because what I have done is say, "I don't want to have sex yet," if things look like they're going in that direction.
posted by rhizome at 5:05 PM on November 5, 2013 [6 favorites]

It really, really, really depends on the person. Some people will expect that a 4th date obviously means sleeping together, regardless of location. Some people will be uncomfortable going to your house at all. A good, respectful guy will not assume anything other than that you want to make him dinner (though he may or may not hope for more). But it's not improper or leading anyone on to ask them over to your apartment fully clothed, or to kiss them without intending to have sex.
posted by brainmouse at 5:08 PM on November 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I don't think it's so much the inviting him over part that might be misinterpreted, but it's possible he may try to take things further than you're comfortable when you're making out. You just need to communicate your boundaries. Not a big deal, it's the basis of a relationship. If he's at all a reasonable and decent person he's not going to accuse you of being a tease because you made dinner for him.
posted by WhitenoisE at 5:09 PM on November 5, 2013 [5 favorites]

If you want to make out but don't want the risk of things going further, invite him to dinner and a movie. Movies are dark and great for making out, and you won't risk giving him the wrong impression.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:10 PM on November 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you're inviting somebody over to your house and it's the fourth date, there may be a presumption of sex on his part. As noted above, just use your words pre-emptively to avoid misinterpretation and/or hurt feelings -- communicate your expectations explicitly and all will be well.
posted by killdevil at 5:11 PM on November 5, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: It may be read that way, even if you say "I don't want to sleep with you at this point," because some men are obtuse and/or have hopes/expectations/fantasies that have held up through experience/porn/locker room stories.

Which you should say, by the way, at whatever point you think you should. Some people will say that is when you make the invitation, others when it looks like he's trying to go past 2nd or 3rd base. Others may say both.

If you are pretty comfortable setting and sticking to boundaries, by all means... but if you struggle with that in any way, I'd go with a different plan for date 4.
posted by sm1tten at 5:11 PM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

It is possible that he will see it as meaning that some sort of physical intimacy is on the table. It is also possible that he won't. If you have an opinion one way or the other on the matter, you should communicate it to him before things head very far in that direction. Like, if you only want to kiss, tell him that. A good time for that would be while some, but not much, kissing has happened.

There's no way to say for sure without knowing him. Just be prepared to have the conversation if it comes up and you'll be fine.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:12 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I understand your concerns....there's some kind of rumor/tradition that the third or fourth date is usually when you and the object of your affection get a little busy, and it may be that a lot of people may think something's gonna happen because that's what they've heard is "supposed" to happen.

But that doesn't mean it does have to happen that way. If you start making out, just stop for second and tell him "just for the record, I just want to make out tonight and that's it, 'kay? Cool." And then go back to it. (Of course, if he's not cool with that, then that is not your problem - it is his for having an issue with your clearly-expressed boundary.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:13 PM on November 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think if you haven't kissed him yet, he will be unlikely to think that you're ready for sex. I think a house date, cooking together, etc., is a lovely idea for a date and of course you need not do anything you're not ready for. If he's respectful, as you say he is, he will ask before assuming and he will honor your wishes. Don't worry at all. But do, as rhizome says, use your voice.
posted by janey47 at 5:13 PM on November 5, 2013 [8 favorites]

I think the fact that you haven't kissed yet will set the tone that this is not an invitation to sex, but it is always in your best interest to verbally set clear limits!
posted by cecic at 5:13 PM on November 5, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: If he's basically a respectful and with-it guy, and y'all haven't kissed yet, he will probably know that sex isn't in the sequence for date four, but that's not a definitely.

Keep it structured and in the living room :) Plan for dinner and a movie and if you're not comfortable coming right out with it, just say at the beginning of the date that you have to be up early in the morning tomorrow, that's polite enough and everyone knows what it means.
posted by ftm at 5:13 PM on November 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

I've definitely done this before and think that cooking together can make for a great date. The trick is to establish very clear boundaries and expectations beforehand. A great script eliminates any confusion and paves the way for fun!

"Hey, let's make dinner at my place next Friday! I been wanting to see _____ as well. We can watch that after we eat."

Making out will, of course, ensue after/during the movie. Just communicate what you want (and what you don't) - you'll have a wonderful time!
posted by WaspEnterprises at 5:16 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Maybe 'I don't want to sleep with you tonight' might be a good form of words here.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:16 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I was dating, yes, I would have interpreted "come over to my house for the 4th date" as "let's sleep together." But only as an initial interpretation of her intent, not some kind of rule like "we are on date #4 and we are at her house, OF COURSE we must sleep together!" And as others have said, the lack of kissing so far would have pushed back this impression somewhat too.

Obviously if that is not your intent, you can clarify by stating more-or-less explicitly what you want to happen and / or what your limits are. It doesn't have to be awkward or come off as rejection - you can just say something like "I'm ready to sleep with you right now" or "I'm not ready to go all the way yet" that indicates it is not going to be happening tonight but you are looking forward to the relationship continuing to evolve as time goes on. When I was dating, I heard things like this plenty of times too, and that was that. You can really gauge a guy's character by whether he gets upset or whiny in response to you telling him this.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 5:21 PM on November 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

Are you sure it's been established that this is intended as a romantic relationship?

It seems that way, but I am just throwing that question out there, because there is such a thing as guys who just want to be friends, or he also may not be straight. I mean, it seems more likely that he wants to date you romantically, but there's always the possibility, if it hasn't been clearly stated, that this is a "just friends" situation.

But if you've had three dates and he hasn't tried to kiss you (even if he wants to) I agree that he probably won't be expecting sex on the 4th date.
posted by bearette at 5:22 PM on November 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

I am a fan of using words rather than signals to communicate. "Hey, I would love to make you dinner at my place this weekend but I don't want you to think this is a booty call. Are you cool with watching a movie after?"
posted by DarlingBri at 5:35 PM on November 5, 2013 [12 favorites]

I think I would assume that something was going to happen, but if my date said "I'm not ready to have sex yet," that would be fine.

Usually inviting someone into your home in a romantic context puts sex on the table. The fact that sex is on the table doesn't mean it has to happen. Consent is not "well she invited me over." Consent is consent. There is no point at which someone now gets to have sex with you because of X or Y commonly accepted omen.
posted by Sara C. at 5:35 PM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

So the fact you haven't kissed means it's less likely he's thinking you're going from zero to 60 at your place. But still, I think most people would think sexy times if you haven't verbally communicated that you want otherwise. Before you guys meet, maybe send him a little message about it. "Hey, I want to thank you for being so respectful about taking things slow. You're super-hot but I want to take the physical aspect one step at a time because I'm new to this." Then straight-up say "I don't want to have sex yet" if he asks or when it looks like things are starting to get hot n' heavy.
posted by schroedinger at 5:37 PM on November 5, 2013

Oh, and re "watch a movie after", I would be careful using those words if your intent is to imply a chaste evening. In my experience of going over to a date's house to cook dinner and "watch a movie", the latter is usually a euphemism for "and have sex".

I'm not saying don't watch a movie, I just wouldn't add in the prospect of a movie with the intent to communicate no sex.

I think you should communicate that you don't want to have sex by saying "I don't want to have sex tonight." Any other sort of vague signal is unlikely to accomplish the desired effect.
posted by Sara C. at 5:38 PM on November 5, 2013 [8 favorites]

Best answer: My personal strategy (note: personal as in you are in no way required to follow my example) has always been to keep dates simple. Dating is really complicated by nature, so throwing in situations that are easily misinterpreted is rarely helpful. Therefore, I usually don't invite someone over to my place unless sex is an option for me. This helps alleviate dashed hopes and prevents having to give the ever awkward, seemingly random: "no sex tonight, not saying that you were assuming or anything, I'm just saying in the off chance that you were..." *oh god this is weird, quick subject change and forced smiles*.
posted by Shouraku at 5:46 PM on November 5, 2013 [12 favorites]

One method with boundary-setting is to say what you ARE willing to do along with what you're not: "I'd really like to make out with you tonight but I'm not ready to have sex yet."
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:51 PM on November 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: It's certainly OK to invite him over for dinner and not have sex with him. If he's as good a guy as you hope he is, he will absolutely not be offended by not getting to have sex and will also do his best to conceal whatever disappointment he might feel when making out/kissing (if that happens) doesn't turn into sex. The question in my mind is one of safety -- if you have to gently, kindly, firmly and clearly state a boundary (e.g. "this is great and I really like you but I don't want to have sex tonight so let's not go any further, OK?") will he respect it or will he push? That is always the main concern in my mind, not disappointing someone or "leading them on" because after all a good partner won't see the situation that way in the first place.

It's impossible to be totally safe when inviting a new romantic partner over to your house for some one-on-one time, unfortunately. You can minimize your risk though. Firstly, you have to ask your gut. You say this guy seems respectful and is good at reading signals, so you sound like you're OK on that front. The next thing you could do is have a friend on call. Leave your phone in the bathroom and if things seem sketchy excuse yourself to go pee and text them (or call 911 if things have somehow gotten that bad) to drive over and interrupt you guys. (Arrange this plan in advance.) The third is to have a pre-prepared excuse for cutting the date off early, something along the lines of "I have to get up super early for work tomorrow" or similar. That way if you need to cut things short you'll have a plan for ejecting him from your house with a minimum of dangerous confrontation.

Not that you should expect to have to do any of that stuff, but unfortunately shit does happen sometimes and it's best to take simple precautions. As far as whether or not you're in the clear from a social perspective to invite this guy over and not bang him, yes of course you are! You always are, always. You may have to verbally assert a boundary at some point because miscommunication is possible, but it shouldn't go beyond that. Verbalizing a boundary isn't an inherently bad thing -- sex and romance is complicated and sometimes things need sorting out in an explicit way. Being able to do that is part of being a good partner. If you are concerned about your ability to do it, it may help to have a pre-prepared line and to rehearse it to yourself in the mirror a few times before he comes over.
posted by Scientist at 5:57 PM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, be explicit about what you're thinking, where you are in your head, etc.

I once had a woman tell me she doesn't even kiss on a first date, then insist on me taking her to my place--we'd met at a neutral location--because she was too drunk to drive. I slept on the floor. Apparently, sex *was* on the menu for the second date, which kinda caught me off guard (and condomless).

So, yeah, Be Explicit.
posted by notsnot at 6:51 PM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you don't want to be absolutely explicit (which is understandable) the code that I've used and my friends have used is, "I'd like to take things slowly." It's pretty much universally understood to mean, "I don't want to have sex tonight, but I like you and would like to continue spending time together." (Of course, one of my friends had her potential paramour respond with some variation on, "We should have sex because one of us could die tomorrow" - but that just means it's effective at weeding out the douchebags!)
posted by littlegreen at 7:40 PM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Speaking from the male point of view, it would be preferable if you told him as much in advance as possible that you know you don't want to have sex. The worst thing is to wait until the last possible moment, for obvious reasons. Definitely use one of the scripts offered in this thread to text him before coming over. It will save you from worrying about it all night and it will save him the embarrassment of rejection.
posted by conrad53 at 8:50 PM on November 5, 2013

You are a woman. He is a man. You have been seeing each other in a pretty explicit romantic context.

What is wrong with saying, "I'd like to have you over for dinner, but just to make clear, I'm not comfortable engaging in sexual activity just yet. I'd like to make out with you, but let's keep our clothes on." ?

Seriously. Half of the problems of relationships is because people are not OH MY GOD EXPLICIT ABOUT WHAT THEY ACTUALLY WANT. It's fine to play social games and niceties with people you interact with superficially, but in personal, intimate, romantic relationships, don't expect your partner to be a mind reader. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
posted by Unangenehm at 6:07 AM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

What? I would never guess that guys might assume they would have sex if invited over to a new girlfriend's house on a fourth date. Ok, sure, the trope is that men assume they'll have sex wherever and whenever they are- but I would not assume anything if I were the dude in question.

Now, on the other hand, if AFTER a date out you invited me back to your place and it was already late without a specific objective in mind "We'll pick up the Mr. Bean DVDs so you can get caught up" or "I'll give you some of that quinoa so you can experiment with it" then yes, that would be a little more of a situation in which I might assume you would be interested in sex.

Regardless - even if you invite him back to your place and tell him you want to have sex with him - you don't have to go in any directions you don't want just because he thinks (mistakenly or otherwise) that you are going to do something. If he is as nice as he sounds, he wouldn't ever want that to happen. That will require some communication, hopefully it will be from both of you.

Have fun!
posted by arnicae at 6:15 AM on November 6, 2013

Yes, there is a likely presumption of sex. Please set boundaries BEFORE the making out starts, not when he's trying to take your clothes off.
posted by cnc at 11:21 AM on November 6, 2013

I would tell him that I would like to invite him at my place for diner but I am not ready for sex yet. I would say that because I am pretty sure he would expect to have sex with you. I wouldn't wait until last moment to say that.
posted by daile at 9:23 AM on November 8, 2013

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