There is no set number of dates or amount of time that you should hold out for. Screw the “rules.” Forget those reality TV matchmakers. Ignore your mom. No magic number will automatically ensure that the person you’re seeing is in it for the long-haul. At no point is it completely safe to take your pants off and still guarantee that this relationship will work out.
Stop asking your girlfriends if they think you should wait. They are not you. They don’t have the authority to decide whether or not it makes you a slut if you sleep with that guy on date number three. They’re only going on what they’ve heard, from expert sources like their boyfriend’s “bros,” or Bravo TV. And don’t get me wrong, they mean well. Your friends don’t want to have to pick up the pieces again, the way they did the last time you got dumped. They think that maybe they’ve figured out a formula to help you avoid that. But you’re all grown up, and that means you have to make your own adult decisions. You get to decide when and where and how you’re going to give it up, and that does not make you anything but human.
Dating someone means that you’ve accepted the risk factors involved — mainly the fact that the person you’re dating can decide it’s over at any point, for any number of reasons. No allotted amount of time that you attempt to you keep your clothes on is going to change that. So if you’re reading this, and you’re currently struggling to hold out until that three-month mark with the man who you hope is Mr. Right, do yourself a favor and ask him to come over. Tonight.
If you’re still wondering if maybe, just maybe, it could have worked out with that last guy if you had just held out for a few weeks longer, stop torturing yourself. If someone doesn’t want to see you again after you’ve engaged in this grown-up, physical expression of love, he wasn’t that interested in you to begin with. Cut your losses and move on.
If you can’t imagine navigating the dating scene without having a hard rule about when the right time is to get your private parts involved, I can give you the answer: You should wait until you absolutely cannot wait any longer. And if that happens to be during taboo dates 1-3, you should go for it. If it’s further down the line, that’s okay too. You should wait until it feels like you won’t be able to function in your day-to-day life if you don’t sleep with this person. You should wait until you’re an hour’s commute away from either of your apartments, at some ungodly hour on a weeknight, and you still feel compelled to make the journey. You should sleep with them if it feels more important to you than anything else you could be doing, if it feels like you’ve been waiting years and not months or weeks or days (hopefully not hours, but I won’t judge). You should give it up if you can’t be with them in public without having to fight the urge to make out like teenagers — if you’re suffering from this all-consuming thought about what it would feel like to be underneath them, and you can’t focus on a single other thing than that.
Conversely, if you’re still not sure if you should sleep with this person, then don’t. Don’t do it just because your relationship has hit the three month mark and it seems like the thing to do. Don’t do it just because you’ve had too much to drink, and you’re only a block away from his apartment, and it would be way more convenient than trekking back to yours. Don’t give in because your friends think that you’re being ridiculous about holding out (we’ve already covered your friends’ opinions on this).
There are no rules. Stop being so hard on yourself. Do what feels right. Prove Patti Stanger wrong.