Here's Exactly How Long You Should Wait Before Sleeping With Someone You're Dating

by Annie Foskett
Boris Jovanovic

As a Scorpio, I'm supposed to be hyper-sexual (and moody). I'd check the box for "rarely" on the former, while checking a solid "always" on the latter. Because It’s vital to respect the boundaries of everyone I date, I’ve sometimes questioned: How long should you wait before sleeping with someone?

According to screenplays from the '90s, internet listicles, and the mainstream, the three-date rule is completely outdated. Who decided that pervasive norm? Charlotte York on Sex and the City? The truth is, the best way to know how long you should wait before sleeping with someone is by communicating openly and honestly with them. Make sure to actively discuss consent and intentions throughout your hookup.

As an aspiring boss woman who wants to be more comfortable with her sexuality, I admire women who take the initiative to ask their dates where their heads are at. Now that I've established that the women of Sex and the City are not the sexual role models the world deserves, exactly how long should you wait before sleeping with someone? The short answer: however long works best for you and your partner.

Before we dive in, I want to remind you that whether you sleep with your boo after the first date or the hundredth, there’s no one right to have sex with a new partner. As long as you’re actively communicating with all parties involved, you get on with getting it on.


If You Want To Wait Until The Third Date

To be clear, there’s absolutely no need to subject yourself to the “three-date rule” — whenever you and your date feel ready to discuss having consensual sex is right for you. “You can't always listen to the fables and rules around you, as you are the one who will truly know when is the best time," Dr. Nikki Goldstein, expert sexologist and author of Single But Dating: A Field Guide to Dating in the Digital Age told Elite Daily. If you feel ready to have sex after the third date, perhaps because you’ve both had several opportunities to get to know each other and might feel more comfortable discussing sexual boundaries, then that’s the right time for you.

If You Choose To Wait Until You’re Exclusive

You may choose to wait until you and your partner are exclusive before having a conversation about sexual boundaries and intentions, but remember that sexual and emotional intimacy are two separate, intertwining entities. "Doing the deed isn't automatically going to push your partner into starting a relationship, becoming monogamous, proposing to you, or falling in love with you," Vanessa Marin, a licensed sex psychotherapist, told Bustle. Make sure to communicate honestly and openly about what you want out of your relationship, but do not conflate that conversation with having sex.

If You Decide To Wait Until Marriage

Whether you and your boo would prefer to build emotional intimacy over time or you’re deferring to tradition, if you decide to wait until marriage to have sex for the first time, that’s 100% OK. However, do keep in mind that in order to have pleasurable and fulfilling sex, it’s vital that you communicate your needs and preferences to your partner. Researchers at Brigham Young University examined data they collected from 1,683 newly married straight couples, which revealed that less than half of married women (49%!) said they usually orgasm during sex. However, 87 % of married men say the same. So, in order to bridge that gap, open up a dialogue about sexual fantasies, desires, and preferences with your boo.

If You Opt To Do It On The First Date

If you decide to have sex on the first date, you’re not alone. According to the Singles in America study, millennials are 48% more likely to sleep with someone right away to see if there is a connection. Having sex on the first date can tell you a lot about your sexual connection and chemistry. However, Relationship and etiquette expert and author April Masini warns, “Once you start sleeping with someone, you may tend to let things slide, like deal-breakers. Chemistry is not always your friend if you’re looking for a compatible, long-term relationship partner.” You never need to sacrifice your needs and emotional well-being, but if having sex on the first date feels right to you and your partner, then it’s the right decision for you.

Remember: There is no one right date to sleep with someone for the first time. You will know exactly when to have sex with the person you are dating because you will feel a connection and discuss sexual boundaries, intentions, and consent before getting to it. Whether it’s after the first date or the day you say “I do,” whenever you decide to get down is right for you.

Additional reporting by Iman Hariri-Kia.