How Long Should You Really Wait to Have Sex With Someone?

The answer to how long you should wait to have sex with someone has mystified daters since the dawn of time. After all, we’re all familiar with the common apprehension over “giving it up too soon,” lest we run the risk of being seen as “easy” or never hearing from a potential partner again.

But while some swear abiding by the “three-date rule” and waiting until the third date to sleep with a potential partner is key to finding love, others will say it doesn’t matter if you get down and dirty on the first, seventh, or hundredth date.

Needless to say, this lack of clarity only creates more confusion for those of us in the modern dating world—which is something we don’t need. So, we asked three experts to answer our most burning question once and for all: How long should you really wait to have sex with someone? Keep scrolling to get to the bottom of it.

Are there any consequences for sleeping with someone “too soon”?

The good news is that there are no consequences for sleeping with someone “too soon.” Despite what you’ve been told, having sex on a first or second date doesn’t automatically make you non-wifey material. It also doesn’t rule out the possibility of turning whatever’s brewing between you two into something real long-term.

“If you feel sexually empowered to have sex regardless of the relationship phase or dynamic, and you’re both consenting adults, then go for it!” Sexual Wellness Expert and Head of Communications at MysteryVibe, Natasha Marie Narkiewicz, said. “What begins as lust could bloom into a long-term committed relationship. Relationship dynamics are always changing regardless of the length of time or intention going into it.”

That being said, Dating Coach Damona Hoffman says that once you do have sex, separating your thoughts from your physical urges may become more difficult. And this may interfere with getting to know a potential partner.

“You rob yourself of the discovery and magic of waiting to see if your passion for this person increases and if you have true compatibility for the long term,” she explained. On the other hand, you might also discover that they aren’t a good fit for you either. And if that happens, you might be happy you didn’t sleep with them yet.

Similarly, having sex with someone new can bring up a lot of emotions that may cloud your judgment or make it harder to explore a romantic relationship. This is why Somatic Sex Educator and Foria’s Chief Education Officer, Kiana Reeves, recommends slowing down and making sure your heart, body, and soul are aligned first and foremost before sleeping with someone. Entering into any sexual experience with absolute certainty that this is what you want is vital.

Having consent, clear communication, and boundaries in place is all that matters, regardless of the timing.

How do you know when the time is right?

No two relationships are the same. Everyone’s timeline will vary! Above all else, it is important to know what you want and feel a sense of safety before having sex with someone new.

More often than not, these two things are not formed in one or two dates; they take time. That’s the beauty of the dating process! Getting to know someone before being intimate will make the experience that much better.

“If you’re feeling emotionally, physically, and mentally comfortable with the idea of sex with this new partner, I recommend starting by creating a safe environment where you feel excited to explore together,” Reeves told me.

This means being transparent with one another about what your expectations are in the bedroom and what you’re comfortable with; consent from everyone is non-negotiable.

Additionally, Hoffman also recommends doing some emotional inventory to determine if you’re ready. This means asking yourself if you trust them enough to share an intimate experience with them and if you can openly discuss your desires and dislikes and the possible consequences of sex (like pregnancy and STIs).

If you can answer these questions with a resounding “yes,” you might be ready to take the next step. “Even though it’s not the sexiest way to decide if you’re ready, it’s the most clarifying,” she said.

You have full autonomy over your body, and only you know when the time is right.

So, how long should you wait to have sex with someone?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no right or wrong answer to this question. All the experts I spoke to unanimously agreed that dating isn’t black or white.

Setting a hard-and-fast timeline to follow for jumping into bed with someone simply doesn’t work. After all, sex isn’t one-size-fits-all, which is why Narkiewicz says everyone needs to decide for themselves when to have sex.

While some people might feel more comfortable letting the relationship blossom and getting to know their partner more deeply before getting intimate, others might feel comfortable diving in right away. Both are OK! According to Reeves, having consent, clear communication, and boundaries in place is all that matters, regardless of the timing.

Hoffman echoes this statement. She adds that it should be based on how you feel and whether there is trust and communication.

When it comes down to deciding how long you should wait to have sex with someone, it’s ultimately up to you and your partner to decide when the time is right. Whether that’s on the first date, third, seventh, or hundredth is up to you. At the end of the day, the decision to have sex with someone new should not be taken lightly.

Regardless of what society or your friends or family members say, you are the only one who can make this decision. No matter what this timeline looks like, potential partners should respect this decision. It’s a red flag if they don’t! Remember: You have full autonomy over your body, and only you know when the time is right.

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