Mike: This is Mike Hennessy. And I’d like to welcome you to today’s interview with Betty Russell. Betty Russell is a Dating and Relationship Specialist dedicated to providing relationship advice to serious-minded singles as well as a professional matchmaker who helps them find their ideal match. To learn more about Betty, visit her website at www.BeFreeToLove.com.
Betty Russell, welcome. We’re so glad to have you with us today.
Betty: It’s a pleasure to be here.
Mike: Betty, we’re going to be talking today about perhaps the most sticky issue that comes up when it comes to dating. A number of our subscribers have asked us, when is the right time to be physically intimate with a man? And some experts recommend to women that they wait until 3 to 5 days while some experts believe there’s no hard and fast rule and you can have sex as early as the first date.
Well, some women feel that making a man wait makes them more desirable, some tend to face the problem of men losing interest or pulling away from them as soon as they sleep with them.
As an expert, can you share your thoughts and insights on when you would recommend women to make the choice to be physically intimate with men?
Betty: Sure. I’d love to. I have to admit that there’s no easy answer. Each of us have certain things to consider well before the heat of the moment threatens to ignite our nickers. So, I drew up a list of - a little checklist of pre-sex considerations.
What’s on your mind exactly? That is, it’s hard to know more than what’s on your mind is being engaged or stimulated. If you’re deeply attracted to someone you’ve seen once, twice, 20 times and you’re contemplating having sex, figure out what your intentions are beforehand. Do you want a fun-filled night or are you looking for a serious relationship?
Fun, sexy times in a date, that’s fine. The honorable thing to do is to communicate that with your date. And the golden rule applies here. Wouldn’t you want to make an informed decision before getting into bed? Do your date the same courtesy.
Are you looking for a serious relationship? If that’s your intention, here’s the scope. Studies indicate that for a successful relationship, it is better to put sex off until later than to jump quickly into bed.
The studies often also make it clear that women enjoy a heightened sexual response when they feel secure and loved as in a serious relationship. And men feel more sexually confident.
Another item on my checklist is what about STDs and birth control? I know this might be an awkward conversation but it’s not as awkward as getting a diagnosis later on. So yes, be smart. Be prepared. Be prepared to have the talk. Don’t risk your health in the future to avoid stepping on someone’s toes.
And generally speaking, your date should be on the same page. If he or she is horrified by the fact that you’re being responsible about safety, that’s a problem. That’s something to consider.
Another pre-sex consideration is, are you clear about your emotional boundaries? Because sex is so fabulous and so intense and evokes such strong feelings, both men and women can feel vulnerable and emotionally charged after having sex. And I don’t mean just the right after in the glow moment.
The very fact that the relationship has become sexual often leads to specific ideas about what comes with that such as expectations, expectations about trust, respect, love, being exclusive, all these things may emerge unconsciously for you and your partner and are you ready for that? if you want things to stay simple and easy, sex might change it.
Another consideration is, what are you physical boundaries? As with everything, the sexual preferences fall within a bell curve but even so, sexual activity varies greatly. So don’t be afraid to speak up about what is and what isn’t acceptable for you. If you have established trust and feels secure with one another, you would not be afraid to bring up your comfort zone. If the idea of speaking up honestly in a vulnerable, sexually charged moment is terrible for you, you’re not ready to have sex with this person.
Another consideration is what if you’re not sexually compatible? And this is a big deal. It’s a tough one. Sometimes there is enough emotional connection to sustain a relationship and develop a mutually satisfying sexual relationship. However, sometimes basic sexual incompatibility is a warning sign. So no matter how much you respect, like, and enjoy your partner, the sexual fuse may never be lit. In that case, it’s really not fair to either one of you to pretend otherwise.
When this happens, this is where a lot of women experience men pulling away. And I know this is a big question for a lot of women. And the reason this happens is because the relationship doesn’t have a solid emotional attachment to sustain it.
In other words, the shared emotional intimacy would allow partners to work towards a mutually satisfying sexual relationship especially if that wasn’t the case in your first encounter. And sex without emotional intimacy as we all is possible and it can be fine and even great at certain times in our lives but in a relationship, sex without intimacy is just sex. It’s not particularly meaningful and it’s not likely to sustain the relationship.
The truth about men and women, we’re capable of keeping our emotions out of sex. Men seem to be able to compartmentalize this a little bit better than women. And this can be destructive to relationships when it closes the box on feelings. You need to keep these feelings flowing and you’re more likely to keep your relationship together no matter how hot the sex is.
There is an old saying, “Men look for sex that sometimes results in emotional intimacy and women look for emotional intimacy that sometimes results in sex.”
Now, these are gender stereotypes so they’re not true across the board. And it may or may not be true for men and women you know. But the bottom line is sex is not just about sensual gratification. And it can be for many and outward manifestation of an inner desire for closeness.
So, I want to talk a minute about emotional intimacy and what it is and what it looks like and what it feels like. It’s when you share deep communication that is real and meaningful. That doesn’t mean you can’t giggle over or tease each other about forgetting to change the toilet paper roll.
But when you share and talk and unburden, you feel heard. And when you listen, you really do listen. You connect, empathize, and support throughout your communications. Your feelings are shared, not just the feelings you think that will be acceptable to the other person but all your feelings. And this requires the communication I mentioned earlier and it demands openness, vulnerability, authenticity, trust, and really, true honesty.
Active listening is a vital part of a superb communication. This kind of listening happens when you generally care about one another. When that is case, nothing is too small, too stupid, or too silly to be listened with empathy. There is real trust in emotionally attached intimacy relationship.
And the basic is when it comes to emotional attachment, there are many kinds of trust. You trust that when you express your emotional needs to your partner. They will be heard, respected and met. In a solid emotional attachment, you have a long-term commitment. This is what flows into place after the titillating thrill of the new relationship proceeds. A relationship that will stabilize successfully is one in which both partners tap into their emotional intelligence and they connect in authentic way.
And the most important part is to remember, it’s a work in progress and you accept that you will get there in the end though you may not always want to work at maintaining your intimacy.
There are a few essential keys to achieving emotional intimacy. And the reason that is so important is because sex without the emotional attachment is just sex. So we don’t want to experience the men pulling a disappearing act. That’s why I’m putting a lot of emphasis on emotional intimacy.
The few essential keys are communication, both verbal and physical, feeling seen, heard, and understood and valued, personal integrity, true knowing how you feel and what you believe to be true for you, emotionally connected to yourself and your feelings. And the trust that you have by expressing your emotions that they will be met, heard, and respected.
A lack of emotional intimacy leads to distance and relationship failure. And it’s a combination of the emotional and physical intimacy or attachment that really gives a relationship its wings.
While our question for today is, what is the right time for sex in a new relationship, there are a whole range of characteristics to intimacy on a physical level that are not always sexually-related. Sure, physical intimacy can involve sex which is a wonderful fulfillment of sexual chemistry between two people. But at its best, it’s also an expression of closeness and attachment that goes beyond physical.
Physical intimacy can be all about cuddling, touching, and kissing. And this can be sexual too or not. There is magical intimacy that happen when truly close touching and cuddling and even kissing does not results in sex.
For some, this will seem obvious. Others are thinking, “What? Really?” It pleases the senses and an aesthetic experience for the physical and not just sexual you, the you that sees, smells, touches, tastes, and hears. Physical closeness and an openness of the senses can take you to a very high place and open you up to even greater emotional bond with your partner.
Physical intimacy can provide stress relief. Subconsciously, there have been studies that have shown that physical intimacy and sex add to a longer life. If your granddad lived to be 97, think about that or not.
Physical intimacy allows you to convey how much you care about someone through affection and touch.
Physical intimacy helps you share your desires openly and trustingly and not sexual desires but all your desires. Being close to someone in that way lets you be even more vulnerable and honest about yourself, your wants, and your needs.
To go back to the question, when is the right time to have sex? I pulled people of generations on this big question. And you’re maybe surprised by the responses I received. Basically, there were no blanket rules or always true patterns because the choice is invariably based on individuals, nature and circumstances, the level of the relationship regardless of age or experience.
However, many preconceived ideas that boomers would be on the conservative than the millennials were pretty much shattered. One millennial stated, “No sex before monogamy.”
On the flipside, here’s the best quote from a boomer, “At my age, I’m going to enjoy every opportunity to enjoy sex.” I thought that was funny.
So when is the right time to have sex? Here is my answer. Having sex before an emotional attachment is made can make it difficult to be objective about the relationship.
I love Mae West’s angle on sex as emotion in motion. I think we forget that emotional component will get us into trouble. And the all-around intensity of sexual expression can fog our lenses big time. So you can miss any red flags that might be flapping in the wind. Without the sex charge, it is at least a little bit easier to maintain some objectivity. Once you’re sexually intimate, breakups can be more complicated and hurtful if you realized you’re not a good match.
An exact number is not possible. But maybe a few months, may 6 to 10 days is a good rule of thumb to go by. If you know who you are and what you want from your life in relationships, it will be easier to avoid big mistakes.
On the other hand, there are no guarantees in love. We must be patient, learn from our mistakes, move on and believe that love and yes, awesome sex is out there.
Mike: Betty Russell, great information today. Thank you so much for joining us.
Betty: Thank you. It's my pleasure.
Mike Hennessy: And this is Mike Hennessy and on behalf of the team at LoveEvolveandThrive.com, I would like to thank you for listening to our interview with Dr. Sylva Dvorak and we wish you the very best in your relationships.
For free tips and thoughts on relationship advice for women, from hundreds of experts and authors, please visit our website at www.LoveEvolveandThrive.com.