real life

The 10 date rule.

Mia Freedman






I was talking to a newly married girlfriend this week and she told me about her 10 Date Rule. No sex for 10 dates. At first, I thought she said ‘days’ and I thought that sounded quite strict. But dates? That could mean 10 weeks! Which is kind of a long time when you want to sleep with someone.

Isn’t it?

She insists not. “I’ve done it three times and it’s never failed me.”

Define ‘failed’.

“Well, it’s always led to a long term relationship” she said. “It’s never fizzled out. It keeps them keen and then they’re hooked.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to think about the idea of when to first sleep with someone. A long time since I’ve had to think about words like ‘hooked’. The strategy of dating and of sex. I’ve almost forgotten how crucial the timing of that decision feels when you really like someone – or when you’re just really horny.

I actually think the 10 Date Rule is an excellent idea but for different reasons to my girlfriend. Forget ‘hooking’ a guy. What about avoiding a dud?

10 dates?

For me it’s not a morality or strategy issue. It’s not about slut-shaming or hooking a fish man. Waiting before you have sex is about making sure your decision to be with someone is a good one. That’s assuming you want something more than sex. If you don’t? No strategy required! Just use a condom!


But my guess is that there are lots of women like me who too often find our head and heart confused by sex. I’ve always found that sex puts a shiny halo around someone. It makes me like them so much more than I would if I hadn’t slept with them. And this can be awkward at best, disastrous at worst.

Sexual chemistry is easy. Easy! Finding someone you want to fall in love with – who deserves you and respects you and shares your values and is worthy of a relationship – is so, so much harder.

The 10 Date Rule gives you time to get to know someone before making yourself vulnerable and throwing in the very powerful sex ingredient into the stir fry. Yes, yes, I know some women can compartmentalise sex and love and keep the two separate.

I am not one of those women.

I spent much of my late teens and early twenties in absurdly inappropriate relationships that should never have been relationships. Ever. At all. Did I mention never?

Did they wait 10 dates?

But the sex affected my judgement and by the time the halo wore off, it was difficult, complicated and often painful to extract myself. I left a lot of guys seriously pissed off.

Had I waited and got to know these guys a bit better, I could have saved us both a huge amount of hassle and heartbreak.

Should I ever find myself single again, I hope someone reminds me to come back and read this post.

What do you think of the 10 date rule? How long do you usually wait?