onenightstand How soon should you sleep with someone?

This is an oldie but a goodie. And yesterday, during a conversation with a single girlfriend about a new guy she's met, I found myself FEELING like an oldie. As in a nanna. She met this guy she really likes last weekend and this weekend, they're going on their first official date. I was very excited for her and then the following words came out of my mouth…"Now, DON'T sleep with him on the first date, will you?"

Oh dear, I used to be cool and now I'm The-Pope-Meets-Fred-Nile-Meets-Some-Freaky-Just-Say-No-Person.

This is actually what I think but it's not a position based on morality. I've never bought into all that. But I DO think that when you have sex with someone too soon? Before you get to know them a little bit? Things can go haywire very quickly. FOR YOU.

A while back, I wrote a column called The Six Month Rule which really made me very popular with single men. Oh wait, the oppposite.

I wrote:

Gentlemen, I have some news that could ruin your weekend. In fact, if you’re single, it may well put a dampener on your Friday and Saturday nights for a long time to come.

onenightstand How soon should you sleep with someone?

There’s a growing underground movement among single women and it’s called The-Six-Month Rule. Its main principle is breath-takingly simple: when you meet a new man, don’t sleep with him for six months.

Unlike its retro 90s cousin The Rules, where women were advised to channel their inner prissy virgin, Six-Month girls are not prudes. Or manipulators. Nor are they busting to be brides.

The Six Month Rule is not aimed at hooking, trapping or luring a man for marriage, sport or any other purpose. Neither is it some religious movement to discourage pre-marital sex. Hell no.

According to those who espouse its virtues, The Six Month Rule is simply a way to avoid dud relationships and protect yourself from baggage and sexual regret. An added bonus is that it minimises the number of jerks walking around who have seen you naked.

Six-Month-Girl, Sandra, is sexy, confident and at 34, no stranger to premature copulation. “I have no hang-ups about sex and I’ve slept with more than a few new guys early on. I thought it was empowering. My body. My decision. It’s not like I was hanging out for a ring or even a relationship necessarily. But in my twenties, I found myself in a continuous series of short flings with idiots. It took me years to realise that sleeping with a virtual stranger didn’t make me feel empowered, it made me feel exposed. Not to mention the way it hampered my ability to judge the guy’s character afterwards.”

“The day after I’ve slept with a new guy I feel great,” echoes Carla, another Six Month convert. “But even when we’d both agreed it was ‘just sex’, a few days later I start feeling like crap. Vulnerable, empty and wishing I could delete the whole thing.”

Do you have an ex (or five) that you’d cross the street to avoid? Even if it meant walking into on-coming traffic? Now consider how soon into that relationship you did the horizontal folkdance. First night? Second date?

Getting to know someone takes more than a date. More than a week. Nerves, alcohol and two-people-trying-very-hard-to-be-scintillating can easily be confused with love-at-first-sight chemistry. It’s only after spending time with someone in different situations, at different times of day and in different degrees of sobriety that truth surfaces.

Even if the person is perfectly nice, a relationship may not be viable. Or desirable. But if you’ve already done the deed, this may not dawn on you until waaaay down the track. And here’s why: if you’re female, sex can interfere with your brain chemistry. This is called the “we’ve-had-sex-oh-it-must-be-love” response. That’s when, after sex, your brain imprints “boyfriend” on said bonk the way a duckling imprints “mother” on the first thing it sees after hatching out of the egg. Even if it’s a log.

Carla can relate: “I’ve had so many stupid relationships that should have just been one-night-stands. But somehow the idea of casual sex feels slutty so I subconsciously try to turn it into something more to make myself feel better. Of course it never works out and I end up wishing I’d paused at the kissing part instead of inviting someone I barely knew into my home, my head and my body. Now that I’m waiting a few months before getting my gear off, I feel so much more in control. The process of getting to know someone without sex is more fun, more sexy (there’s a lot you can do with your clothes on, remember being a teenager?) and more likely to result in either a solid relationship or a nice friendship without bitterness or embarrassment.”

My yoga friend John who is a strong believer in energy explains it like this: “Exchanging bodily fluids – even with a condom – has an undeniable impact on your energy. You take on some of that person’s energy by being intimate. It’s especially true for women, for obvious reasons. If you think about all the people you’ve slept with and all that energy you’re carrying around from them, you can see why it pays to think more carefully before exposing yourself to all that baggage.”

In other words, waiting until you know someone is the mental/emotional equivalent of using a condom. Safe sex for your psyche.

What do you think? Is there a 'right' time to have sex with someone? How long did you wait before you did the horizontal folkdance with your current partner? How has doing it too soon worked for you or bit you in the bum in the past?

So many questions….



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