Steps in dating
"My advice is this: wait as long as you can," Allen says.Her rationale for these dating rules may seem obvious, but many people tend to forget in the heat of the moment."Every woman and man should know their boundaries before they start dating, and most of us don't," says Cheryl Mc Clary, Ph D, JD, professor of women's health at University of North Carolina-Asheville.When Mc Clary refers to boundaries, she's not talking just about the physical boundaries that come with sexual territory. "Emotional wholeness is crucial to the decision process of whether or not to have sex," Mc Clary tells Web MD."The risks of STDS have got to be discussed and prevented from spreading," Allen tells Web MD."I say definitely use condoms, even if you're in a committed relationship," she adds."It becomes much more difficult to objectively see each other's character traits" says Susanne Alexander, a relationship coach and author of Can We Dance? "Some couples then slide into engagement and marriage only to discover they have missed seeing major aspects of each other." While not every dating scenario that involves sex leads to marriage or even a serious relationship, couples do owe it to themselves to talk about where they see their relationship going and how sex might change the relationship -- before they get in bed together. The woman may assume sex implies a commitment; the man may not see it that way," Allen tells Web MD.Having an honest conversation with yourself about sex is just as important as discussing it with your partner, experts say.
"If you just want a one-night stand, you owe it to your partner to tell them 'it's just sex I'm after,'" Mc Clary tells Web MD.If both people are playing by the same dating rules, sex can serve as the gateway to a consensual, committed relationship."I thought there were differences between men and women and how they felt about relationships.Plus, not having adequately prepared for these practical aspects of sex may signal an overall non-readiness to engage in it.At some point during their courtship, many dating couples decide its time to break down initial boundaries -- be they emotional, physical, or both -- and engage in a sexual relationship.