Does sleeping with him too soon really ruin the relationship? Is it possible to have sex too soon?
Will sleeping with a guy too soon make him instantly lose interest and head for the hills? It is an age-old debate with no concrete answer. I have been writing about relationships and coaching women for over a decade and I can’t even tell you how many messages I receive from women panicked over the fact that they slept with a guy too soon and now he’s acting a little weird and what if he’s gone forever?
The good news is that unless he’s some sort of pickup artist who sleeps with women for sport, a man will not lose interest solely because you slept with him too soon. However, this topic isn’t quite so simple, so let me break it down.
A close friend of mine recently met an amazing guy on an online dating site. He was smart, successful, and a dead-ringer for Bradley Cooper. Things got off to a promising start.
They exchanged a few flirty messages and he asked her to go out that Saturday night. They had an amazing time on the date, they continued to message, and he asked her out for the following Saturday early in the week. Another nice date with pleasant conversation and enjoying each other’s company (and some passionate making out) and he again reserved her for the following Saturday night.
Before the date, she told me she was a little unsure about this guy. She thought he was great on paper and all, but she didn’t really feel like they had much to talk about; she mostly just thought he was really hot. She decided she was going to sleep with him after their third date, and I didn’t really offer much in the way of advice since it didn’t seem like she was interested in having a real relationship with him anyway.
So they had a passionate night together and continued to text one another in the days that followed, but something had shifted …
My friend told me that she was waiting for him to ask her out for that Saturday night because she had purchased tickets to a booze cruise and thought that would make a fun date. He usually asked her out for Saturday night no later than Wednesday, and when he still hadn’t asked her out by Thursday, she started to panic.
They were still in contact; he would still text her messages full of sexual innuendoes. But sometimes he didn’t text, or would just drop off when she asked him about something non-sex related.
Suddenly, their relationship went from elegant Saturday night dates to random 2 AM hookups. He never texted her earlier than 11 p.m., and while he was nice and sweet and all that when they hung out, all he wanted was to fool around (and sometimes order in food and fool around).
I stood silently as the whole thing started to unravel. I make it a policy not to give my friends relationship advice unless they explicitly ask for it (and a lot of the time they won’t because they know I’ll hit them with the truth and they would rather stay in denial!). Also, my friends sometimes get mad at me for not giving them the answers they want, so in order to keep the peace, I will stay mum until things get dire.
And when they did, my friend finally called me up and said, “I don’t get this. I really, really like him. What did I do wrong?”
I first pointed out the fact that she didn’t start really, really liking him until he stopped acting that way toward her. But even still, I told her flat out that she slept with him too soon. It was a pretty open-and-shut case, probably one of the easiest relationship questions brought to me.
“What do you mean?” she countered. “I waited until the third date! Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”
I tried to stifle my laughter at the absurdity of her statement. “Okay, well, tell me this. What did you actually know about this guy? What do you know about him that you couldn’t find out from his online dating profile or social media pages?”
“Ummm… Well, he would show me pictures of his nieces and nephews and talk about them!”
“Doesn’t count. Anyone on Facebook or Instagram could see the pictures, and I’m sure he talks about them to his friends and co-workers. Do you know what his ultimate goals are? His fears? What makes him happy? What his weak points are?”
And therein lies the problem. She slept with him before they developed any sort of a real connection. They were still in the casual getting-to-know-one-another phase. He hadn’t shown any level of investment (I know going on three Saturday night dates in a row with a guy can feel like he’s investing, but it’s not so). They didn’t really know each other; all they knew were the superficial details that anyone else can be privy to.
When it comes to sleeping with a guy, the quantity of dates is an arbitrary measure of the state of your relationship. What matters is the quality of the time you spend together. A girl who sleeps with a guy on the first date after an evening of intense, meaningful conversation that fosters a bond is much more likely to have a lasting relationship than a girl who sleeps with a guy she hasn’t really formed a connection with on the fifth date.
The guy my friend was dating never really invested in her. Yeah, he was attracted and somewhat interested, but after sex was in the mix, he lost interest in pursuing things further. Why should he take her out on nice dates and wine her and dine her when he can call her at 1 a.m. when he’s feeling horny and get his needs met? When sex comes before a real emotional connection has been established, it’s hard to rewind the clock.
For men, sex is sex and love is love. And one does not lead to the other. A lot of women make the mistake of thinking sex is some sort of relationship milestone, but that’s not how most men see it.
My friend didn’t really start to catch feelings until the guy’s interest began to wane. This is another common phenomenon I see frequently and there are a few reasons for it.
If we’re going to talk about it from a scientific point of view. I’m sure you’ve heard of Oxytocin, AKA the “love hormone.” It is basically released during any moment of physical touch, so the more intimate you are, the closer you will feel to that person.
Next, there is the universal human phenomenon of wanting what we can’t have. As soon as he started losing interest in her, she saw him as being inherently more valuable and started to invest even more (and there are psychological reasons behind this which we can discuss in a different article!).
The right time to sleep with a guy is when he has shown a level of investment in you. (This is assuming you want a relationship with him. If you want a friend with benefits or a steady booty call, then sleep with him whenever you want – just be safe!)
This doesn’t necessarily mean he calls you his girlfriend or has said he loves you. It means you both are able to drop your masks and be real when you’re together. It means he shares things with you he doesn’t share with other people in his life (and vice versa). It means he cares about you and respects you as a person.
As women, we’ve been told all our lives that we need to make a guy wait for sex, like it’s some bargaining chip to dangle in front of him in order to get what we want out of him. I get where the idea comes from, and there is a grain of truth in there, but it doesn’t get to the heart of the matter and leaves too much room for interpretation. Most women take it to mean that the longer she holds out on having sex with him, the more he’ll chase her and the more invested he’ll become. Maybe this can work, but usually, it doesn’t and the guy will see right through what you’re trying to pull.
The issue isn’t how long you wait – a guy who really likes you won’t hold it against you if you sleep with him early on. The issue is that men don’t value what they perceive is readily and easily available to all other men.
When you sleep with a guy before you really know him, it’s easy for him to assume that any other guy could have done it. When you sleep with him after getting to know who he truly is, he believes that you slept with him because of how amazing he is and that you wouldn’t have given in so easily if it were any other guy. See the distinction?
As for my friend, I tried helping her get back on track but their relationship had sunk too deep into the booty call zone and couldn’t be resuscitated. She tried to not see him unless it was on a date (and he found ways to dodge that and was only free when he could come over for sex and was always too busy when she suggested an activity), she didn’t reply to his sexts, and she tried to learn more about him, but nothing worked and eventually he just faded away into the abyss.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should you wait to sleep with someone? If you want a relationship with this person, wait until he has shown he is invested in you and genuinely cares about you. Remember, the quantity of dates is meaningless, it’s the quality of the time spent together that matters.
On average, how many dates do people go on before they sleep together? That really depends, but not very many!
Do guys lose respect if you sleep with them? No, I wouldn’t say they lose respect per se. They may lose interest, but usually a guy who loses interest after sex wasn’t really all that interested in the first place. Maybe he liked you… but didn’t like you enough. It all really comes down to your intention. If you sleep with him in order to get him to like you, yes, he may lose respect for you because that’s a degrading thing to do.
What does he think after you sleep with him? Again, it depends on circumstances. If it’s a guy who really likes you, he’ll be ecstatic! If it’s a guy who likes you but isn’t totally ready for a serious relationship… he may pump the breaks a little bit to keep things moving at a more leisurely pace. If he was only attracted to you but not super interested in you… he may feel worried you’re going to get too attached. But no man, at least no emotionally healthy man, will feel repulsed by a woman for the mere fact that she slept with him.
What signs might he show if he regrets sleeping with you? He will probably avoid you, withdraw, act cold toward you, or flat out ghost you.
We’re not exclusive or official yet, but I know he slept with someone else. What should I do with this information? You need to get clear on what you want. If you want an exclusive relationship and the fact that he slept with someone else feels devastating to you, talk to him about it. If he wants to keep things open and you just can’t handle it, then he isn’t the right man for you.