In last week’s Friday Takeaway, I talked about exclusivity and whether or not you should bring it up with a man you’re dating. If you didn’t catch that post, please check it out before reading this one.
Sometimes the conversation about sex (or the act itself) is far easier and more natural than the discussion of whether or not you’re exclusive. A bit backwards, no?
Let’s paint a picture: You’ve met an interesting man and you’ve been dating for a while. Things are heating up, but you can’t tell if he’s still dating other women. Do you have the conversation about being exclusive? Or do you go ahead and have sex, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best? (This is assuming of course that you want more than just sex, and that you want to be exclusive.)
Now, be honest. We’ve all been there. We’ve all done that finger-crossing thing.
The Sad and Yet Wonderful Truth
Sex is a beautiful thing with the right guy, but it’s not a tool to get a man to feel more than he’s ready to feel for you. A man will not feel closer to you, or ready for a committed relationship, simply because he’s had sex with you, or wants to. To him, it’s like apples and oranges.
This is a good thing, though. Why?
Because, when a man truly starts to fall for a woman, he’s already feeling committed to her. Way before the “talk” comes up. He doesn’t need your prompting or your questions — if he’s into you, his energy and focus are already geared toward you.
So how do you know if you’re ready to hit the sheets?
Contrary to old school myths, it’s the not the number of dates or the length of time you’ve been seeing each other. Men and women usually have different perspectives on this, anyway. You might think you’ve been dating for two months, but if you’ve only had 5 dates, to him it’s been just 5 dates. A women thinks in terms of time. A man usually thinks in terms of how many times he’s been out with you, and whether or not he’s interested in pursuing you.
What Counts? The Quality of Your Connection.
If things are heating up, no matter how far into the relationship you are, take a look at the connection between the two of you, and that will help you arrive at your own decision. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1. Has he been consistent with his communication, time and affection? Anyone can masquerade as Prince Charming for a week or two. Some guys are sprinters, eager to make a shallow connection, and some are slow and steady long distance runners! It’s up to you to know the difference.
2. If you sleep with him on your next date, do you already know when you’ll be seeing him again? Or is that still a big mystery? As Chris Rock said: “Ladies, if you have not met his friends and family, you are NOT his girlfriend!”
3. If he doesn’t pursue you after you’ve had sex are you going to feel hurt or rejected? Will he be able to go radio silent for several days and that be okay with you? Do you feel confident about the situation?
4. What kind of comfort and ease level are you two at right now at this very moment? Meaning: if he’s hard to read, and you’re feeling insecure about him, this is most definitely NOT the time.
5. In what way is fidelity important to you? Is your new relationship naturally ready for commitment? Or are you asking for fidelity so you can have sex without guilt? (Hmmmmm… that one made me ponder, even as I write this!)
Value Yourself and Your Needs
There’s an ongoing myth that all women come out of the womb ready for love and marriage. Not true. What we want is simply to be treated with care, love and respect–regardless of how long we’ve been seeing someone or whether we’re having sex with them.
So I want you to share this with your girlfriends because I think this is a really important topic.
One of the biggest crashers of self-esteem is not the relationships you’ve been in, but rather, the giving away of your time and affection (and your body) to the wrong men.
As I said up top, sex with the right man can be a wonderful, exhilarating, life-affirming experience, but it’s just that: an experience. Not a tool for making a man feel closer to you. That doesn’t work. Have fun, but on your terms. Take care of yourself.