When we’re starting a new relationship, one of the first questions we ask ourselves, is when to have sex with our new partner. Popular culture has given us the three date rule, made iconic by Sex and The City.
Waiting for three dates gives you a chance to get to know the person you’re dating and decide if you’d like to take it further. It also gives the impression you’re not only interested in sex or overeager.
A date can mean anything from a fancy dinner to chatting online. So, is this arbitrary rule something we should hold fast? If we’re worried about when to have sex with a partner, wouldn’t time spent with that person be a better indicator?
How Do You Know when to Have Sex?
There isn’t a lot of scientific research around regarding when to have sex with a new partner, so it’s up to us to determine the for ourselves. The limited studies conducted give varied answers and can be confusing, if not conflicting.
Several studies indicate giving your relationship time to settle, after the honeymoon phase, is the best point to have sex. The research states giving your new relationship time for the shine to wear off and become comfortable with one another gives you a stronger base for a long-term relationship.
A study published in the Journal of Sex Research of nearly 11,000 unmarried adults who were in serious relationships asked when participants started having sex. The study looked at how this was related to their relationship satisfaction.
76% had been in their relationships for more than one year, and nearly all of them (93 %) reported having had sex with their partners. A slight majority (51 %) said they waited a few weeks before having sex. Just over one-third had sex either on the first date or within the first couple of weeks. The remaining 11% had sex before they even went on their first date.
Did the timing of sex matter in terms of how people felt about their relationships? Not in a meaningful way. There were only small differences between the groups, with those who had sex earlier tending to be slightly less satisfied. However, all of the groups were highly satisfied on average.
This is encouraging for couples regardless of when they choose to engage in intimacy. What we choose should be based on how we view emotions and sex. Are they connected for you, or do you separate them?
How to Figure Out What’s Right for You
What your personality says about how sex and love go together is more important than questioning when to have sex with a new partner. Everyone has a sociosexual orientation, which indicates the degree you think sex and emotions are intertwined.
People who are more inclined to think they go together are more likely to want to wait longer periods of time before becoming intimate with a new partner. Being sure about the longevity of their relationship is what’s important to them.
Conversely, someone who isn’t convinced that sex and emotions are entwined tend to believe sex without love or attachment is okay. People with this sociosexual orientation are usually more comfortable with casual sex.
Both orientations are valid, neither is better or worse than the other. Knowing where you stand between the two categories helps you to figure out when to have sex with a new partner in relation to your personality and beliefs.
What’s Worked for You in the Past and What Hasn’t?
Having an honest conversation with yourself about past experiences and your overall comfort level with your choices can help you make the decision in a new relationship. If you chose to wait before and had regrets, giving it time in a new relationship may not be the answer for you.
There’s no shame in diving right in or waiting. Open communication with your new partner, without pressure from either side, goes a long way toward helping make a decision that’s right for both of you.
There are no hard and fast rules about when you should have sex with a new partner. Science doesn’t have a clear answer, which makes sense, as each person is different.
It comes down to the personalities, values, and comfort levels of each partner. Figure out where your comfort zone lies, and talk openly with your partner. Together, you’ll find your perfect time.