Are there really rules for when it’s okay to have sex with someone we’ve just started dating?
For men, it’s usually “as soon as she says yes.” At least that’s what my male friends like to say.
For women, the rules are different. We are taught that there are certain guidelines we must follow in the arena of sex. There’s the five-date rule, the three-date rule and the two-to-three month rule. There’s the simple, “when it feels right” rule. And then for some of us, we have a hard and fast “when I know he’s not sleeping with anybody else” rule.
I like to think I’m a rule follower by nature but when it comes to sex I definitely don’t follow anyone’s rules but my own. And for most of my life, I thought this was okay. It worked for me.
But just recently, I realized it wasn’t working for me any longer. I’ve spent months beating myself up for not waiting a little longer to sleep with the last person I dated. I convinced myself that it didn’t work out because I didn’t follow the “rules.” I’ve shamed myself into believing that he didn’t take me seriously or pursue me the way I wanted because I gave myself to him too easily.
So, the other night, when I found myself getting super emotional during a conversation with a close friend because I’m still carrying a lot of shame around that choice, I realized that I need to more clearly define my own set of rules and start following them before dating anyone else.
And although I agree that what works for one person doesn’t work for everybody, there is still one rule I feel should be mandatory for both men and women:
We shouldn’t be having sex with anybody unless we can talk about having sex with them.
Many of us avoid having a real conversation about sex and what it means to us with a new partner. For men, it often feels too presumptuous or forward to bring it up believing women will feel it’s all they want.
For women, it can sometimes feel awkward, uncomfortable and unromantic to actually have a conversation about sex instead of allowing it to happen organically.