The Right Time For Sex

When should you and she cross that line? After weeks? Months? A couple of cocktails? Here, real women weigh in.

By Tracey Haskell

o you met someone new, and the sexual tension is getting unbearable. When should you do the deed? Well, there’s no hard-and-fast rule, but perhaps these stories from other women like you will help you decide:

Check for crazy tendencies
“I’m a traditional person at heart and I like to wait about three months. I’ve always heard
“If you see potential for a serious relationship, it’s better to wait at least a month.”
the saying, ‘If you see crazy coming, cross the street.’ I don’t think you can see if she’s crazy until you know her a little bit longer. There have been a few times when I’ve dated someone short-term, and the relationship didn’t pan out. It’s probably because as time passed, I saw that maybe she was a little on the crazy side.”
—Kristine, 41, retail manager, Oklahoma City, OK

Trust your gut
“I really don’t have a rule. My girlfriend and I are both sporty. We met playing pick-up basketball and spent the night of our first date making out in sweaty sports bras—nothing could have been dreamier. Bay to Breakers — a San Francisco event — was two weeks into our dating frenzy. We got up early that morning, ran eight miles, met friends for lunch, walked back to my apartment, showered, and got into bed. It was right for us. We could just tell without having to have a full conversation about it.”
—Kelly, 28, educator, San Francisco, CA

Look before you leap
“I can usually tell when the time is right the moment I figure out what kind of future the relationship has. If it seems destined to burn out early, I may think, ‘OK, well let’s do it because I know you won’t be around long.’ But if I know that someone may very well be around awhile, I don’t rush it.”
—Julie, 29, writer, Brooklyn, NY

Expect the unexpected
“If it’s just a fling, everybody gets busy quick. If you see potential for a serious relationship down the road, it’s better to wait at least a month so you don’t cloud your vision by having sex too soon. With my current girlfriend, we were both in existing relationships when we met. I wasn’t really thinking of dating or getting involved with anyone else at the time. So we developed a friendship and a working relationship first. Then, over a period of a few months, that all changed because I got to see the true person.”
—Carrie, 39, pastry chef, Minneapolis, MN

Friends first
“I wait to have sex until I get to know the woman a bit, ideally a few weeks. It’s a good way to weed out the women who just want to have casual sex or the women who just got
“I’m not in a huge rush to fall in love with the ‘wrong woman.’”
out of a breakup and want to latch onto the first single girl they meet and pack the U-Haul. I’m not in a huge rush to fall in love with the ‘wrong woman.’ Getting to know each other as friends first is a healthy way to figure out if you are compatible, have common interests and goals, and know each other in a genuine way without hormones affecting your judgment.”
—Chris, 29, engineer, Denver, CO

Make it worth the wait
“Sex is what I have with people I probably will never see again—and the right time for that is as soon as you are alone. If I’m serious about someone, I think the right time to make love just happens. In my experience, that can take weeks or months but it’s always worth waiting for. I met my first partner at a peace movement in the UK. She was a heterosexual at the time, and she was engaged. I knew her for about a year before we had sex for the first time. We were together for five years, and now we’re still close friends: She’s like family to me.”
—Maggie, 48, artist, London, UK

Sleep together first
“Until my current relationship, I didn’t realize the value of waiting. I was OK sleeping with someone new the night I met her (once without even knowing her last name). However, my current girlfriend and I got to know each other over classic dates. We kissed and slept in the same bed quite chastely before having sex after about six weeks. The waiting — even that little bit — made the moment more special.
—Caitlin, 25, teacher, Alexandria, VA

Tracey Haskell is a writer and editor in Brooklyn, New York.
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