Is there such a thing as “too soon” for physical intimacy?
By Samantha Burns — Last updated on Jun 24, 2023
Photo: DavideAngelini / Shutterstock
If you’re looking for a serious, committed relationship, or even “the one,” then the goal of dating is to be a boyfriend or girlfriend, not a hookup, right?
Despite the argument that hook-up culture makes Millennials more comfortable with their sexuality and gives them lots of experience to help better identify their potential soul mate, it’s also really disruptive to the dating process.
Before becoming physically intimate, stop and think about the direction you would like this new relationship to head. It’s flattering to know that a man finds you attractive (who doesn’t like to feel wanted?), but if the goal is to create a relationship, then he needs to seek emotional intimacy, as well.
So rather than feeling guilty after sleeping with the new guy too soon, feel proud of yourself for taking the time to get to know him before adding another notch to your belt. With that said, how do you know when you’re ready to “seal the deal?”
Do not be intimate with him until you consider these 3 crucial things:
1. Do you share the same core values?
A relationship is a two-way street, so stop worrying so much about how he feels about you, and more about how you feel about him.
It’s your duty to practically evaluate whether a new partner will fit comfortably into your life. Why confuse this big question with sex? Especially since we know women aren’t as sexually carefree as hook-up culture likes to promote.
If you’re dating with intent — that means with the purpose of finding a serious relationship — then you should dig deep early on. Successful long-term relationships are not built on surface-level similarities, such as enjoying the same music; rather, they thrive on shared core values.
Reflect on the following questions as you get to know your potential soul mate:
Do you want kids and what’s your parenting style?What’s your ideal work-life balance?What lifestyle do you want to have, and what socioeconomic status does this require?Is religion important to you?What are your family values? How do you spend and save money?
Basically, what’s important to you? People who are interested in having a relationship with you will be open and engaged in these types of questions because it shows they’re on the same page with wanting something serious.
And remember, you can have hot, passionate sex with many people, but not everyone will have the core values that align with yours. This is the secret to finding a relationship that will last.
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2. Are you both interested in a future together?
Before sleeping with someone, you should have a good sense of whether you even want the relationship to progress after sex. This means you can envision a future with this person — he’s been placed in the “boyfriend bucket.”
If you can see yourself entering into a committed relationship with this person, then sex is used as an expression of attraction, connection, and love.
Rather than feeling empty and disappointed in yourself for sleeping together too soon, sex in this case enhances your intimacy as a couple. It builds upon the foundation of the emotional intimacy that you have already developed through your discussions about core values.
3. Are you secure with where you stand with each other?
For some people, security means having an exclusive, monogamous relationship title like “boyfriend” and “girlfriend,” whereas for others it just means they have the confidence that this partner is not going anywhere once they become physically intimate.
Only you can be the judge of the level of emotional security in this new “relationship” — so rather than over-analyzing his texts and dissecting your dynamics with your girlfriends, be assertive if you’re unclear.
Having the, “What are we?” or “Where is this going?” conversation before sex will decrease your anxiety about whether he’s sticking around. The last thing you want to do is freak out about whether he’s going to call you the next day.
The truth is that there’s no magic answer to the question, “How long should I wait until I have sex?” If your goal is to have a serious relationship, then make sure you answer, “Yes!” to feeling connected on an emotionally intimate level, “Yes!” to having core values that align, and “Yes!” that you feel secure in your connection.
You don’t want to act on impulse and regret it later, so do the foundational work now, and enjoy your private time together later.
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Samantha Burns is a licensed counselor, dating coach, and the love guru behind the free worksheet Reframing My Negative Thoughts About Love.
This article was originally published at Love Successfully. Reprinted with permission from the author.