Got A Question About Sex?

Here, solutions to some of daters' biggest concerns, from the three-date rule to overly-steamy emails.

By Sari Locker, Ph.D.

o matter how many questions about sex you’ve had and (we hope) found answers to over the years, if you’re out there dating, you’re bound to come up with more. Whether that’s Should I really wait until date #3 to do the deed?, How come she no longer tears my clothes off as soon as we shut the front door?, or What if he’s turned off by the size of my thighs?, you can rest assured that you’re hardly the only person pondering these issues. As a sexologist, I’ve answered many of these questions on Happen, but given the slew of new queries that have been flooding my inbox, I thought it was time to tackle some of your latest, and most common, concerns—and give some advice that I hope comes in handy.

I’ve always heard people say that you should never sleep with someone on the first date and at least wait until date #3. If you know you like each other, what’s so great about waiting? Does it make the sex better?

The passion of hot sex on a first date can be an incredible feeling for some people. Still, many find there are benefits to taking things slowly. One obvious one is that by
A lot of my friends in relationships met online.
waiting, you get to spend time together and figure out if this is someone you’d like to date seriously. Sex, in turn, feels more meaningful and safer since you know this person cares about you. In a recent survey, couples who’d held off on having intercourse for at least three months reported more satisfaction with their sex lives than those who had sex earlier. If you choose to have sex on a first date, that’s your prerogative; however, you should know that it will rarely turn into a serious relationship. According to research conducted at the University of Chicago, only 10 percent of couples who have sex during their first month of dating end up marrying. Forty-seven percent of those who waited a year or more to have sex got married. So it’s all about what you’re looking for out of your sex life… and your relationships.

I’m overweight and self-conscious about having someone I’m dating see me naked. Is there anything I can do to alleviate my anxiety?

Many people who are overweight find that starting a workout programs helps boost their self-image—and no, you don’t have to wait weeks or months until the pounds start coming off. Your outlook will improve almost instantly, since just knowing you’re making an effort can have a magical effect on your mindset. You can also battle self-consciousness by shifting your focus away from your flaws and toward parts of your body that you do like. All people have something they’re proud of, whether that’s toned arms, killer legs, or a sexy smile. Say out loud all of the things you love about your body and why (e.g., “I love the color of my eyes because they’re dark and mysterious.”). As for the big night, know it’s fine to work within your comfort zone and cheat a little so you don’t feel too exposed. Rather than being completely naked, try wearing a silk nightie or lighting some candles rather than keeping the lights on. Honestly, most people would probably be so excited that your flaws wouldn’t even register on their radar!

I’ve been corresponding with someone via email and things got pretty steamy. How can I slow things down when we start dating in person?

It’s easy for people to get carried away with a flirtation when they’re safely ensconced in their homes behind a computer screen. And since this can indeed get someone’s hopes up for your face-to-face meeting, it’s probably best to have the “we should slow down” dialog before you meet in person. Since you two already seem to have rapport online, consider breaking the news via this medium as well—that way, your date won’t feel deceived when he or she meets you in person and you can relax about your date. Just keep your tone casual rather than heavy and regretful, along the lines of “Hey, things got pretty wild between us online last time, so I thought I’d just make it clear that while I might be interested in making that a reality at some point, when we meet I’d like to take things slowly.” Who knows? Given lots of people are braver online than in person, your e-buddy might feel the same way you do and find it a relief that you brought it up.

I’ve been dating this woman for a few months, and when we first started having sex, it was really creative. Now, however, it’s pretty meat-and-potatoes. What happened?

Many people pull out all the stops when they first start sleeping with someone,
You have to make a conscious choice to fall in love.
largely because they’re trying to make a great first impression on their new partner. Then, once things get more comfortable, they no longer make the effort. To tap back into her adventurous side, you’ve got to differentiate between what she really likes doing versus what she was doing just to wow you. For example, maybe all those crazy sexual positions she suggested you two try early on weren’t really her thing—but maybe, deep down, she’s always dreamed of trying a little role-playing. Of course, telling her you want your sex life to be the way it used to be won’t encourage her. Instead, phrase it in a way that suggests you want to take things to the next level with her. Say something like, “I really want to know you on a deeper level and would love to hear about something you fantasize about.” Asking about her fantasies is much less threatening than asking, “So what do you want to do?” but nonetheless can be that first step to some amazing new exploits together—or, at the very least, an opportunity to share them verbally. And that’s pretty racy all in itself.

I enjoy using my vibrator and would like to use it during sex with men I date, but I am worried about scaring them off. How should I introduce it?

Many men would enthusiastically welcome the use of sex toys in bed and thank their stars they’ve found a woman who’s comfortable enough to share this side of her sex life with them. But since some men might worry that your vibrator is making up for his shortcomings, you’re best off making it clear that it’s something you want to share with him rather than use to shut him out. You could say, “I want to show you something I really find a turn-on, and I hope you will too.” When you bring it out, show him first how you use it on yourself (a sexy show few men wouldn’t enjoy seeing) and then ask, “Do you want to see how it feels?” and try using it on him (men can find it arousing, too). Or, ask him to wield the controls during sex. Once guys see how your vibrator is just an accessory to lovemaking rather than his replacement, he’ll probably be fine with it.

I have little to no sex drive, and that obviously makes dating difficult. Pretty much everyone I date is raring to get physical at some point, and I just know I’m bound to disappoint them. What can I do?

There’s plenty you can do, both on your own and with a new partner. For starters, consider seeing a doctor to have your hormone levels checked. Hormone levels can have a huge impact on libido, and treatments (such as a testosterone patch) can help. If you’re found to be in tip-top form physically, you may want to see a sex therapist, who can discuss with you whether your past sexual relationships or attitudes toward sex are dampening your drive. (You can find a sex therapist in your area by searching the website for the American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors and Therapists at Finally, consider discussing this issue with the next person you’re dating and feel seriously about—that may be scary, but this gives you the opportunity to explain that the issue is with you, not whether you’re attracted to your date. Plus, it shows you care enough about this person to be upfront and are want to work on it—and that’s something any date will appreciate.

Dr. Sari Locker, Ph.D., is a sex educator, TV personality, and author of the bestseller, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex. She has degrees in psychology and sexuality education and was the host of Late Date with Sari on Lifetime Television. Her website is
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