Dealing with Sex Too Soon in a Relationship

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When is the best time to have sex in a relationship? Are you worrying you may have had sex too soon? Let our dating coach relieve your fears.

Was It Sex Too Soon?

Reader Question

My parents introduced me to a very nice man. We've gone out five times and the last time we had sex. Do you think that was too soon to have sex with him? I really like him and he likes me. We have so much in common. He and I both went through a divorce a year and a half ago; we were both married about 20 yrs. He dated a couple of women that he met online, but nothing good. Me, nobody, I took a break to clear my head. So I only dated him. I want to keep having sex with him; I just hope it was a good decision. I guess I'm old fashioned and afraid to have sex too soon. I really want a good, steady relationship with him. What should I do??? Am I supposed to play a little hard to get after the fact?? Do people still have to play games? Or can they be upfront. Please help me and give me your professional opinion. I'm worried, cause I don't know what he's thinking, and I'm a little afraid to ask.~~Christine

Expert Reply

Dear Christine,

The last time you were single was in the 80's. For many women dating during this period of time was about looking for a husband. Today, while some women will date to marry, many are delaying marriage until later in life. As a result, dating in the 21st century may be for the purpose of companionship, someone to do things with before one gets married. Here dating is about learning how to ask for what you want in a relationship and learning how to be a good partner. These are two important skills everyone needs for a committed relationship. Many women to feel disconnected in their sexual and emotional intimate relationships with men due to a discomfort in learning how to ask for what they need.

This might be why you have so many doubts after having been sexually intimate with the man you like and why you are second guessing your own decision. You are dating in a new decade and your experience with this is very limited. One of the benefits of being a woman over the age of 40 is that developmentally you are entering a time in your life where you feel more compelled to ask for what you want in a career, friendships and in life. As you begin to experience this freedom, you will feel more comfortable in your own skin. So if you really like a man and want to have sex with him, you won't second guess if it is a good decision, you'll know what the right decision is for you. Being in this time of your life can be very liberating. That is one quality that many a man finds attractive, a woman who knows herself and is confident to ask for what she wants.

One tip that may help you now and in the future before deciding whether or not you want to be physically intimate with your date is to understand that dating goes through stages. The first stage is the "meeting or deciding" stage. Here two people meet and go through a series of interactions or dates. During these meetings each will ask questions of other and share information about him or her self for the purpose of deciding if there is enough chemistry to continue going out. For this reason, each person is likely to continue meeting other people as well. Having sex during this stage is purely physical. For women who were raised to believe that sex is something you engage in for the purpose of entering into a long term relationship, sex at this stage could be wrought with guilt if the dating doesn't continue.

Stage two is where two people have decided that there is enough interest to continue to getting to know each other. True dating happens during this stage. Although one or both of you may continue to date other people during this stage, this decision has more to do with personal preference rather than commitment to a relationship. During this stage two people feel the excitement of getting to know each other leading to spending increasing amounts of time together. Dating during this stage usually last for two to three months before moving to stage three. Having sex during this stage is more about lust than about love making. This is because the key ingredient, "trust" is not fully developed and you need trust between two people to make love. For women who have begun to feel an emotional connection within the relationship, sex at this stage could lead her to hurt feelings should the relationship end.

In stage three, each person will make the decision of whether each wants to continue the relationship. This will lead the couple to openly discuss the topic and make an agreement about continuing to date or not. Dating in this stage moves into something more predictable and is likely to be mutually exclusive. Others see the both of you as a "couple." Trust begins to develop as two people are more willing to share intimate and personal information. Feelings of emotional vulnerability develop with the sharing of information. As a result, sex at this stage feels different as each person experiences a giving of oneself. Should the relationship end during this stage, heartbreak, grief and loss are emotions usually experienced.

Since there is a natural progression to dating, hurrying any stage can lead your partner to feel as though you are needy. Appearing needy or desperate is a definite turn off. Choosing to have sex during any stage should be based on an informed decision and your personal desire. Having sex should not be a result of feeling of pressure, guilt or using sex as a vehicle for getting someone to commit to a relationship.

While it may be hard for you to do, I recommend you have a conversation with the man you are currently dating. Not talking to him about such an important topic as what is happening within your relationship will keep you feeling unsure of yourself and your relationship with him. This is very disempowering. Being able to talk with your date about his thoughts, feelings and perception of the intimacy the two of you have experienced as well as sharing your thoughts and feelings will be empowering for you.

~~Lori

Dealing with Sex Too Soon in a Relationship