Ask Lynn-I want to wait for sex

It could be a conversation stopper or the key to a deeper relationship. When it comes to sex, how do you tell your dates you’re holding out for The One?

By Lynn Harris

ear Lynn,
I’ve dated a lot since my 20s, and I’m a romantic guy who knows how to treat a lady. I feel like I learned a lot from my experiences and that I’m aware of what women want.

At 32, I’m settled in my career with my priorities straight and I feel it’s the right time to start a family with that special someone. I know what I’m
She may not do a happy little jig, but she should not judge you for it.
looking for and I’m confident that things will always work out.

My only concern is sex. We all know that sex is important in a relationship. And I love sex, of course. But I worry that too much, too soon, in a long-term relationship will ruin things down the road by making the relationship dull. Therefore, I want to tell the special women I date that I want to wait for sex. I’m worried, though, that it will send the wrong signals: that I’m not attracted to them, or that something’s wrong with me. How do I approach this with a woman with whom I might want to spend the rest of my life?
– Demure Dennis

Dear Demure Dennis,
You probably know this, but I’ll give you the pep talk anyway: There is nothing wrong with waiting for sex. People like you who decide they’re interested in taking their time are normal, thoughtful, sexual people. So if you really want to hold off — and communicate your reasons honestly to someone with whom you already feel comfortable — she will hear it in your words and feel it in your vibe. She may not do a happy little jig, and she will have to decide for herself about how she wants to proceed, but she should not judge you for it.

That said, while there’s nothing wrong with waiting, it’s not guaranteed to achieve your stated goal. How
Sex changes a relationship, and sex also changes IN a relationship.
long are you talking about waiting? Weeks, months? Until your wedding night? Even longer? (That may not go over so well.) If you do the math, you’ll see that in order to stay with someone until you’re, say, 92, that’s SIXTY YEARS of intimacy. Holding off for a few months or even a couple of years is something, but it’s not going to be much more than 1/20th of the long haul you’re talking about. Waiting may make for delicious and worthwhile anticipation, but it’s not going to lock in your sexual future for eternity.

See, sex changes a relationship, and sex also changes IN a relationship. This is inevitable no matter how long you hold off at the outset. You get older, you maybe have kids, your lives and needs and tastes change. You’ll have to keep revisiting — and reinvigorating — your sexual relationship, no matter what.

But again, if you want to take it slow at the outset, by all means do so. You have nothing to lose. There’s no need, though, to go into your whole 40-year-plan. Just say you want things to be different with her. You think it’ll make it special when it’s that much more irresistible. And be sure you work together to define your terms (“OK, when can we do this? How about this?”). Whatever happens, you’ll have your answer. Either you’ll find someone worth waiting for (and vice versa), or you’ll find someone for whom you just can’t wait.

Lynn Harris ( is co-creator, with Chris Kalb (, of the award-winning website — you can visit BG's blog to discuss this letter! A longtime journalist, Lynn has written about dating, gender, and culture high and low for Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Times,,, and many others. She is currently the communications strategist for Breakthrough, a transnational organization that creates pop culture to promote human rights. Submit your own dating questions for Ask Lynn via Your question may be answered in a future column.
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