Timing Your Affection

22 Feb

Does, he, doesn't he?

The following is inspired by a “girl” question: “When is it right to sleep with someone you’re dating?” I say girl question because few guys ever really ask this question, or pose it this way. At a younger age, guys might show their interest in a friend’s love life by asking, “Did you pork her yet?” An affirmative response will net you a high-5 (do kids still do that, or is it a high-4 or low-3 these days?)  while a negative response would earn you a look of pity or snorting disdain. But it wouldn’t get to that because you’d probably lie and say you had, even if privately you told the girl how much you love her and that you’re willing to wait for the right time.

But guy clichés aside, this question becomes more important to both genders as we grow older and remain single. Thus questions like “Is it right to sleep on a first date?” and “How many dates should I wait before banging so he doesn’t think I’m a slut?” occur with some frequency among daters. The desire for objective protocol to distill the confusing smog of romance is universal. If you’re not religiously orthodox and observant of sexual purity before marriage, you still need some sort of anchor. But as we all know, it’s hard to know when to drop one in the choppy waters of personal relationships.

Let’s start with the obvious: in most cases, the woman is the driver. Unless you’re an Antonio Banderas type (or a rapist) you will make your case, but the final decision will rest with the fairer gender. Thus I assume the vast majority of us, if we’re meeting a total stranger for the first time, don’t expect to go from banal questions over awkwardly sipped cocktails to hot monkey sex, or even gentle canoodling in the space of 2-3 hours. What we’re looking for is some sort of connection, hints of something greater, excitement for a second interview. But there is that rare occasion (rare for many of us, anyway), where the timing is so right, the conversation so good, the jokes so rip-roaringly funny, and the booze so potent, that you’ll end up doing something biblical by night’s end.

Personally, when it comes to formal “dating,” I have not experienced first-date sex. More tangible than love at first sight, it’s still very elusive. At no time during a first date was there a point where I’d dare say, “How about we move this to your/my place.” If there’s good body language and the signs are there, a great date is one that ends in some quality, tipsy tongue-twisting. If you’re lucky enough, as has happened to me, it might take place in the rain. If you’re not Spider Man like me, a simple kiss on the lips can mean the difference between an iffy/confusing “Do I see him/her again?” and a “Wow.” That’s because first dates are inherently awkward and confusing.

For me, if I have a great time on a first date that ends without any preview of physical affection for next time, it makes the second date kind of tense (though sometimes more exciting). Of course, obsessing with getting action can be harmful and disconcerting. At least the first two dates, I’m more concerned about that first kiss than the unrealistic jackpot of bedding someone. From there, the story will unfold as it will. But the first kiss is crucial–it’s like passing that first level on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? where your money, paltry sum though it may be, is guaranteed. The second date is pesky, undefined, and often guided by the rhythm of the first date. If you made out at the end of that first night under the romantic glow of the F train in Brooklyn while a bum lubricates the tracks with his urine, your expectations for date #2 go up. I’ll be more relaxed knowing the next date can start with a kiss, but I have no idea how it will end. The stakes are higher. You must build on and exceed the success of the first. If it ends without a kiss, you will wonder if there’ll be a second date, even if your companion “had a wonderful time and would love to do it again anytime, really, call me.”

In short, there is no rule, but a great sequence over 3 dates might be kissing>more intense kissing>play/sex. Then again, I’ve had relationships where I’ve waited weeks/months, and others where it took 2 dates. Nowadays, 5 can seem like a long time if I’m really into the girl. On the other hand, it’s crazy that a month is “too long.” It’s all about chemistry, timing, and effort, in that order. (The pickup artists among you might disagree, but this is just my POV.) If you sleep together on the first date, it mind be mind-blowing, or it might be a little anticlimactic (no pun intended). It could also defuse the excitement and mystery that come with sexual tension. A guy might not care about his reputation or how he will be perceived in social terms as much as a girl, but that doesn’t mean that every guy wants to immediately shag the girl with whom he just had a great night and might have a future.

Ultimately, it’s all about what feels right and when. I’m willing to bet that for every time an aggressive guy makes his move too quickly, there are us tentative guys who don’t make the move fast enough. I’ve had the experience of “overthinking” the timing of sex. Later, I laughed about it because I realized that waiting for 4 dates was completely arbitrary and only confused a girl (who was clearly into me on the first date) as to my intentions. I was driving myself into the “Friend Zone” one wonderful date at a time. My best advice is: don’t overthink it. Go with your gut and make your feelings known to the extent possible. But pay attention to the other party. Getting to she show a few minutes late is much better than missing it altogether.

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3 Responses to “Timing Your Affection”

  1. K February 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    And hey, dudes, if you’re going to sleep with her be straightforward about whether it is just sex or whether you like her. Some girls will actually still sleep with you even if it’s just sex. If that’s not the case then is it really worth it for you to come off as an asshole just for one night p in v action? Because we will likely detest you, feel bad about ourselves, and our friends will ruthlessly talk shit about you for the rest of your life (even if you someone how make it up to us later on).

    • mplsadventures February 29, 2012 at 1:22 am #

      This is so true! I like having sex for sex’s sake, but if a guy makes up some “I really think we have something special” bullshit just to sleep with me, I’ll be pissed.
      Also, as a girl who does, generally speaking, sleep with someone on the first date, it gets very exasperating playing the whole, last ten minutes of a date, game.

    • Ella Speed March 13, 2012 at 5:56 am #

      So, so this. Keep in mind, this is how drama starts. Even if you live in an incredibly large city, if you do this enough, you will run into someone you’ve done this to. This can end very badly.

      Also, I’ve been totally ready to sleep with a guy, just for the sex sake, but when he starts laying on the “this is special” bullshit I’m out. So, more than one guy blew their chances to sleep with me

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