Has this sex and dating scenario happened to you?
You’re on a date and everything’s clicking.
It’s early in the relationship . . . maybe it’s the first date, or you’ve only had a few dates.
You really like him or her, and you’re clearly extremely attracted to each other.
You can’t control yourselves. Things kick into high gear from one moment to the next. Suddenly you’re on your way to the bedroom and clothes are flying off.
This may be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Everything may work out, and your relationship may thrive and grow in a healthy way. It may develop into true love. You may have found your soulmate.
But more than likely, the relationship is doomed to crash and burn . . . probably pretty fast.
Having sex too early can kill a relationship before it’s had a chance to catch hold.
It seems that we all want things to happen super fast. In the digital age, we’re used to everything moving at lightning speed. We continuously upgrade to the latest devices and technologies, all designed to operate and satisfy our needs faster and faster.
This need for speed may have an impact on relationships, too. We may want instant gratification so much that we overlook the consequences.
Or, worse, we may jump into bed too soon because we feel we have to, or risk losing that person.
A Sex and Dating Probationary Period
Some people think of the first few months of dating as a probationary period, much like when you start a new job.
Both you and the employer use the first several months to decide whether you have a mutual good fit. Is the employer happy with you and are you happy with them?
Similarly when you’re dating, you need a few months of seeing each other regularly to know whether you share the same values and other important aspects of a serious relationship.
When you’ve only known someone for a week or so, you’re unlikely to see any of their shortcomings, which we all have. Once you’ve known someone for several months, you have the insight needed to decide whether or not those shortcomings matter.
If you have sex early on, your decision making is too much driven by physical attraction and too little driven by critical thinking.
Great sex by itself or with little else holding the relationship together, rarely if ever leads to a sustainable, healthy relationship.
Research Shows That Waiting to Have Sex Is a Good Thing
The New York Times reported:
A 2010 study published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology looked at the relationship between the amount of time a couple waits to have sex and the quality of their marriage. Researchers found that couples who waited until marriage reported not just less consideration of divorce but also higher relationship satisfaction, better communication and superior sex when compared with couples who began having sex within a month of their first date (or before they started dating). Couples who slept together between a month and two years after their first date — but didn’t wait until marriage — saw about half of the benefits.
Jason Carroll, a professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University and one of the study authors, speculates that one reason couples benefit from waiting before becoming sexually involved is because people tend to make better decisions about dating before they’re physically entangled. “Simply put, we are hardwired to connect,” he writes. “Rapid sexual initiation often creates poor partner selection because intense feelings of pleasure and attachment can be confused for true intimacy and lasting love.”
Having Sex vs. Making Love
If your goal with dating is to have a series of casual sexual hook-ups, that’s perfectly fine. You’ll surely find people with that same intention.
Be considerate enough to let potential dates know right from the start that that is what you’re looking for.
But if you’re looking for a long term, committed relationship, there’s much to consider before hopping into bed within the first few dates. You’ll see more of the reasons to wait below.
I’m not suggesting that you wait until you’re married because you may not ever get married. You may not be interested in marriage.
If you wait a few months and get to know each other, you’re more likely to think of it as making love instead of having sex.
And isn’t that how you want to feel, if what you want is true love?
Don’t you want that special thing you share to have love tied to it?
A Sex and Dating Mistake I Made
I remember a man I dated early in my dating life. Within the first few dates we had agreed to wait a few months before having sex.
But in less than a month of dating, we both got carried away and things progressed too quickly . . . and then suddenly what seemed to be a promising relationship abruptly fell apart.
The main problem: He was a recent widower, not ready to date yet, although a counselor had convinced him that he was.
The intimacy shook him. He became immediately distant and, a few days later, broke things off in a phone call. He was so freaked out he couldn’t do it in person.
The break-up was devastating to me for about a week, until I examined the relationship and realized that only the physical part was working. We were, in fact, incompatible in most other ways. He wasn’t right for me at all and vice versa.
After that, I vowed not to let a strong physical attraction carry me away. I would wait a few months before having sex. I stuck to that plan from then on.
Because of my experience and those of other women I spoke with, I think it’s a terrible mistake to dive into having sex too soon.
3 BIG Reasons NOT To Have Sex Too Early in a Relationship
1. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) / Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Did you know that boomers are the most rapidly growing group with STDs?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, all kinds of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are on the rise for 55+ people in the U.S.
Can you guess why?
Probably because, without the risk of pregnancy, too many mature men and women don’t use condoms. They forget that STDs are still a distinct possibility.
A Huffington Post article quoted social marketing expert Natalie Bowring:
“There seems to be this myth that people turn 50, and they stop being able to have children, so they stop having sex but it’s not true at all.
A lot of people over 50 are finding themselves without a partner either through divorce or death and thanks to pharmaceutical advances, they feel great, they’re keeping up their sex drive and they’re living longer.
The rising rate of infection indicates older heterosexual adults are engaging in frequent, risky sexual behaviour but very little research has been done on why they are not using condoms or how to encourage their use in this age group.”
What about condoms for mature daters? Do they need them?
According to Michael Castleman in Psychology Today:
“Public health authorities insist they do. As 50 has become the new 30, older adults’ STI rates have risen. Since 2005, risk of syphilis among older adults has jumped 67 percent, chlamydia 40 percent, which is why health officials recommend condoms every time for everyone who dates until both lovers test STI-free and pledge monogamy.”
And, to be really safe, some couples will use condoms for a time in the beginning, even if both people’s tests come out clean.
2. Oxytocin, the love hormone.
During foreplay and sex, the hormone oxytocin is stimulated within us. According to Psychology Today:
“Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It regulates social interaction and sexual reproduction, playing a role in behaviors from maternal-infant bonding and milk release to empathy, generosity, and orgasm. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels increase; hence, oxytocin is often called “the love hormone.” In fact, the hormone plays a huge role in all pair bonding. The hormone is greatly stimulated during sex, birth, and breastfeeding.”
Under the influence of oxytocin, we can’t always trust our emotions. We may misread our feelings for that person, thinking we love them when we’re really just strongly physically attracted to them. This often leads to poor decision-making.
Some people go so far as to move in together right away . . . or get married too fast . . . or loan money to that near-stranger . . . or perhaps get entangled in a business partnership.
3. Either (or both) of you feel pressured to have sex, even though you’re not ready.
You may assume you HAVE to have sex within the first few dates.
I remember a close friend of mine, who was single and dating at the time, telling me a few years ago that a friend of hers said she HAD to have sex on the first date, if she wanted to hang on to him.
That sounds like sheer desperation on the woman’s part, doesn’t it?
And think about it. What kind of relationship will this likely turn out to be if you’re succumbing to pressure on the first date and having sex when you know you probably shouldn’t, or you don’t really want to?
Besides, assuming that all men expect sex on the first date is an unfounded stereotype. I never found it to be true, and I had tons of first dates.
The men I chose to date were just as cautious as I was about moving things too fast.
Ken Solin wrote in a Psychology Today article about his experiences as a man over 50 in the dating game:
“Countless online posts by boomer women complain of men who demand sex on the second date, and sometimes on the first. I’ve come to sympathize with them: Devaluing the goal of getting to know someone first strikes me as both dismissive and disrespectful.
Indeed, men (and women!) who still believe that casual sex is cool simply puzzle me. An emotional bond enhances both partners’ sense of safety, confidence and desirability. Midlife sex with a stranger, by contrast, seems more like masturbating. Where’s the love in that?”
As boomers, we grew up during the sexual revolution. Many of us had sex on one first date after another, without thinking too much about it.
Looking back, in my early 20’s I was what I’d now call promiscuous. I went along with things that now make me shudder.
Thankfully, I know better now and have more confidence in my decisions.
My Advice on Sex and Dating After 60
Wait before having sex . . . maybe longer than you’d like or think you should. No matter how great everything feels and how sure you are they’re the one, wait at least a few months.
✅ It’s probably not a good idea to even bring up sex on a first date, especially if you’ve made the commitment to yourself to wait a certain amount of time.
✅ Make it a regular practice to discuss the details with each partner that has potential, once you’ve had a few dates.
✅ Come to an agreement with them about when you’ll start having sex. Agree that you’ll both get the full range of STD testing, before jumping into bed.
✅ Abstain from having sex with those you know you’ll only have one or two dates with because you’re on the fence about whether they’re right for you.
✅ If your goal in dating is just to have quick sexual hook-ups, then most of this article doesn’t apply to you. If this describes you, I strongly urge you to use condoms with every sexual encounter.
✅ If someone with potential refuses to get tested, telling you their word should be enough, you’ve just learned that they’re not for you. If they care about you and they’re a decent, mature person, they’ll be willing to get tested. And they’ll be more than willing to let you see the actual results, so you can rest easy.
If you’re seriously looking to find true love, wait for love to be in the mix first. You’ll be glad you did.
Take the time to get to know each other first as we talk about in this article, and see if you’re kindred spirits, with enough common interests and shared values, who are truly compatible in the big and small things.
Get your dating life on track with our guide, The Mature Dating Game Plan – The Low-Stress Way to Find Your Soulmate After Divorce or Loss Without Getting Played
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Good luck in the dating game!
J. DeSimone says
Excellent advice, a real partner is going to wait for you. The easy thing, is to jump in bed with someone. The hard thing, is to set the boundaries and live by them. Believe it or not, you will have more respect for yourself and the relationship if you wait. Please take it from someone who knows, waiting is the best thing in the world. If your partner does not want to wait, run, and run away.
I totally agree, J. And setting the boundaries BEFORE you go on dates is key. Know what your deal breakers are, and stick to them. Thank you for adding your insights! -Daisy