Rowan Pelling Sex Advice Column:
Since a long-term relationship ended I've been trying hard to find someone new, without success -- it’s been two years since I had sex.
My best friend says it’s because I stick to a ‘no sex before the sixth date’ rule and says modern men can’t wait that long. But I believe you should get to know a person properly before you commit to intimacy.
My friend says she’d go to bed on the first date ‘with the right man’. Surely that’s unwise?
The main reason I dislike the dating bible The Rules is the absurd title; it suggests a set of relationship commandments have been handed down to the authors from Mount Sinai. But there are no rules in love, only guidelines, so everyone has to develop their own personal code.
It sounds as if that’s exactly what you have done with your ‘six dates before sex’ stipulation. You want to know a man’s character and to feel comfortable with him, which is totally reasonable. Indeed, many women — and men — I know would think you are rushing things.
One friend of mine has made so many mistakes in love, she’s declared she won’t make love until she’s known a man for at least six months and feels he is a stayer.
Not everyone feels the need for such restraint. A recent survey of single British women found that 34 per cent of respondents in the 30-plus age bracket would go for broke on a first date, while an American study for Match.com showed 44 per cent of women had sex on the first night. But the statistics didn't reveal how many of those hasty encounters led to relationships.
Among the long-established couples I know, a vox pop demonstrates making love on a first tryst needn't be a tactical error: They said that if you felt true electricity immediately, deeper feelings and intentions will swiftly develop. But these couples admitted they would have been equally smitten if it had it taken months, because the right person is worth waiting for.
So although your friend blames your dating strategy for your romantic disappointment, the real reason is almost certainly that none of your prospective suitors has been a good match.
Most of us become more discerning as we age, and there aren't that many people who inspire that sensation of ‘our eyes met and sparks flew’. It’s normal to take a couple of years to track down someone who rings all your bells. The real question is, what is your current dating goal? If it’s simply to have sex then, fine, follow your pal’s advice, relax your rule and play the field.
However, if you want to know your partner pretty well, then stick with what suits you. It sounds to me as if you’re the kind of person who might find a stretch of abstinence preferable to feeling you've been hurried into sex.
Remember that there are plenty of reticent males who also feel deeply uncomfortable about being stampeded into bed — and many others who simply prefer to play a longer game because it’s more thrilling.
As one male friend puts it: ‘The whole purpose of going out on dates is to build up some erotic tension: a pleasure deferred is a pleasure intensified.’
The key point is that any man who doesn't think it’s worth waiting six dates for the privilege of making love to you is hardly going to hold your hand when you’re ill or show any other form of commitment.
By Rowan Pelling
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