Dear Dr. Date,D…

Dear Dr. Date,
Do you have any idea how long people usually wait to have sex with someone they are interested in or should you just follow your heart? I have gotten into trouble acting too quickly and sex was all it turned out to be. Sometimes I believe it would have turned out that way no matter how long I waited. Any thoughts?

How long you should wait is completely up to you and your partner. I gather from your letter you feel that you’ve been waiting the wrong amount of time and now wish to look to the wise actions of everyone else. Well, everyone else is pretty screwed up, too. I don’t have an average waiting period for you, but I don’t think that’s what you need. An answer like three weeks, two days, four hours and 12 minutes won’t make sense for everyone. The problem comes from the fact that each of us have different desires from our respective relationships. Some of us want non-committal rollicking good-time sex, while others of us want committal rollicking good-time sex. If you and your partner don’t want anything past sex (this doesn’t necessarily mean just a one-night stand), then you might as well get down to business right away. If, however, you are looking for a deeper, more meaningful connection that is going to be an important part of your life for several months or years, then why not take it easy?
Personally, I like to refer to the song, “Nice and Easy,” sung by Frank Sinatra. The essential message is that when two people know they are going to be spending a long time together, why rush into things? This message comes out clearly in the stanza: “We’re on the road to romance, that’s safe to say. Why make all the stops along the way?” Too true.
The biggest problem comes when one person wants sex and the other wants a relationship with all the trimmings. Another complicating factor is that people often don’t fit neatly into one end of the spectrum or the other.
Most of us are hopelessly lost in between wanting only sex one day and a relationship the next. The solution is not to have people wait a specific period of time, but to have people understand themselves better so they can be truly honest when the time comes for them to say what they want.
My suggestion for you is to stay safe both physically and emotionally and have sex when it feels right.