How Long Should You Wait Before Sex? 29 Must-Knows On Time, Dates & Sex

Sex is on your mind. Whether you just met someone or not, how long should you wait before you have sex? There are a lot of things to consider.

how long should you wait before sex

Sex is a big deal for some, but not so much so for others. And you are 100% entitled to your opinions and feelings. But how long should you wait before you have sex?  

As long as you’re being safe, you do you. 

Many people wonder how long to wait before sex and it’s a long-debated subject. The truth? It’s a totally personal thing that you can only answer for yourself. 

Yet, sadly there is still quite a bit of judgment that goes into having sex too soon or even waiting too long. 

Society has made it its mission to shame women no matter their decisions about sex, but that should not impact your choice. You have to do what sits right with you and your partner. [Read: How to have safe sex in every single way it is possible to]

What does having sex mean?

In regards to dating, sex can mean that you are exclusive or you hope you are. Unfortunately, it can also mean you’re too easy in someone’s eyes. Just as not having sex can mean that you’re a prude.

Although those assumptions are archaic and quite a bit sexist, they do exist. And even if a man doesn’t judge you whenever you decide to have sex, how you feel about it matters. Maybe you have sex and break up down the line. You might regret having slept with him.

Even how you feel immediately after could make you question your own behavior. Sex may be a somewhat simple act, but everything that surrounds it tends to be complicated. [Read: Consequences of having sex too soon you need to be prepared for]

The thing you need to get clear in your mind is what sex means to you. It’s true that sex is a big deal, but how big a deal is it to you? What are your thoughts? 

How do you feel about the “how long should you date before sex” debate? You have to know what your ideas are before you can make your own decisions.

What does sex mean to you?

Sex has a biological definition, but to you, it can mean anything. It can be a way to burn calories, have fun, trust someone else with your body, or fully connect with someone you love. [Read: Signs meaningless sex is something you can handle]

But since sex means something different to everyone, depending on what you’re looking for from this relationship, waiting may be the answer for you. But then again, it may not.

Why is this such a big deal to begin with?

Why are we even asking the question of how long should you wait before sex? Should this even be a thing we’re concerned about?

The main reason why people ponder this question is because of what other people might think. Which is wrong on many levels.

You see, dating has a lot of unspoken rules and judgments that can be placed upon you if you go against one of them. [Read: Rules of dating – the unspoken guidelines the create the best dates]

It’s possible you have no idea that you’re going against a guideline because as we mentioned, they’re unspoken!

You might meet someone, really connect and have such a huge amount of sexual chemistry that you want to sleep with them on the first date. However, you might meet someone and it’s a slow-burning situation. 

It might take six or more dates before you feel those twinges of desire. Is either situation wrong? Not really! As long as both parties agree, then what’s the issue? [Read: Sleeping with someone new for the first time? Must-follow rules]

But, it’s true if you have sex too soon it could affect how you get to know one another. Sex does have a habit of complicating things, but not for everyone.

For that reason, go with your gut. Think about it first, for sure, but don’t be too concerned with what other people think. If you want to wait, that’s great. If you don’t want to wait, don’t.

Should you even have sex?

Before we get into the “when,” have you asked yourself this question? Should you have sex at all? Do you want to have sex? Why? [Read: How to not be nervous before having sex with someone and just enjoy it]

Sex is something shared and enjoyed. It shouldn’t be given as a reward or taken as a punishment. It shouldn’t be because you feel like you have to or you don’t want to be a prude. 

Before figuring out when the right time to have sex is, think about if you want to have it at all.

Only when you want to have sex, it is time to think about when you should have sex. [Read: How to become sexually active & enjoy the experience when it’s time]

When should you have sex?

Whether you’re a virgin or you just don’t know when to have sex with a new partner, it is all up to you.

Even if you waited three months to have sex with your ex, it doesn’t mean you have to wait that long with someone new or that you can’t wait longer. 

You can always change your mind. Sex is not a contract. Just because you said you’d do it earlier doesn’t mean you have to now. You can back out at any time. [Read: How long should you wait before having sex?]

Yes, this is all pretty general. But there is no sex calculator.

No one can say that if you want a relationship, you should wait X amount of months before having sex. 

There’s no way to know whether he will think you’re easy if you do it too soon or he’ll think you’re a prude if you wait too long.

None of that is true. And if someone believes it, that is on them and is their problem, not yours. [Read: Having sex too soon – consequences you have to be prepared for]

So, when should you have sex? When you feel comfortable and all parties have given consent. Sure, that isn’t romantic. 

Nor is it advice. Even if you tell yourself you want to wait X amount of weeks before having sex, these things often don’t go as planned.

Sometimes passion overtakes plans. Other times, things get in the way or you aren’t in the mood. [Read: Why do we STILL silently and unfairly judge women who love sex?]

There is no perfect time to have sex. There is no magic amount of time to wait to make it perfect or for the person you’re sleeping with to think of you the right way.

Are you giving it up too soon?

The other issue and the reason why we are so distracted with how soon or how late to have sex is that we think if we give it up too soon, we’re not holding the cards of power anymore. 

You see, dating is a power game in many ways. It’s wrong, for sure, but that’s how it is. [Read: The dirty truth about losing your virginity no one told you]

Whether you believe this to be right or not, if a woman sleeps with someone on a first date, their partner may think that they can get whatever they want now, because they’ve given up their power. 

How do you feel about that? Do you think sex should really be that complicated? 

The truth is, nobody has given anything up. [Read: Sex in a new relationship – how to make the first time less awkward]

For sure, feelings tend to accelerate when sex is involved, but if you’re someone who’s pretty good at separating the two and you want to go for it, why should you have to worry about power games?

Why some people wait a long time to have sex 

There’s certainly a case for waiting a while to have sex. You can wait for three dates or you can wait months before letting someone into your bed. 

For those that might want to wait, these are some reasons they decide not to have sex for a while when they get with someone new. [Read: Should you give in to the urge for sex on the first date?]

1. Religion

There’s a huge amount of people who wait a while to have sex due to their religious beliefs. While many wait until marriage, others just wait a longer amount of time to be sure they love someone first.

If you’re in this category, you may want to wait until you feel comfortable going forward with it for religious purposes. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you have to rush. Stick with your beliefs when it comes to something as precious as your faith.

2. Wanting to seem ‘proper’

There are a lot of people who want to know how long you should wait before sex simply so they don’t seem like a promiscuous type. [Read: First-time sex and the virgin’s guide to nailing it]

They want to be seen as more proper and less like someone who’ll sleep around on the first date and so they choose to wait a while for that reason.

This is the exact issue we were talking about just now – it’s concerned with what others think. 

You simply need to be okay with how it makes you feel and not worry about whether someone you don’t know that well thinks you’re promiscuous or not. [Read: First-time sex – myths girls should quit believing]

3. Not wanting to seem easy

This is very much like the idea above. Because someone doesn’t want to appear easy, they wait a while to sleep with someone. They want the other person to put forth more effort before they get in bed.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. However, keep in mind that you won’t appear to be easy just because you sleep with someone. 

And if that person thinks you are, are they really someone you want to be sleeping with? Probably not. [Read: 18 things you do that make people think you’re easy]

4. Feeling too young or not ready

This really differs from person to person. What one person thinks is too young is a perfectly acceptable age to others. The reason some people wait is simply to mature a little more. 

They want to make sure they’re ready and so they wait until they age in the hopes that will grant them some sort of answer. That is the single best reason to wait it out – only have sex when you’re totally ready. 

5. Not trusting the new person yet

This is a pretty common reason people wait to have sex. When you’re with someone new, you really don’t know them all that well. [Read: How to build trust in a relationship and make it last]

They could seem like a great person but you might not trust them just yet. If that’s the case, you’ll probably hold off until you know them enough to determine if you trust them fully. Because after all, you can’t sleep with someone you don’t fully trust.

6. Not being over their previous partner

Even if you’re with someone new, you might not be over your previous partner. This is really normal and it might hold you back from sleeping with someone. 

There’s nothing wrong with this. Take your time and don’t move forward until you’re 100% ready to. [Read: How to get over your ex]

7. They want to avoid the risks

As always, there are risks associated with having sex. STDs and pregnancy come to mind and even if you’re being safe, there’s always a chance of them. 

Many people wait to have sex just so they’re sure they want to go forward with that person because there’s always a chance of pregnancy and having to raise a child together. 

Of course, you should always have safe sex and that does a lot to minimize risks – be sure that you’re on birth control and/or you use condoms correctly and carefully. [Read: STDs 101 – the most common types and their symptoms]

How to decide how long you should wait before you have sex 

Countless factors determine how long you should wait before having sex, and they are different for everybody. You need to really tune into yourself and your feelings to understand when the right time is. 

If you’re wondering how long should you date before sex, it’s because you’re jumbled in your mind over what you feel and what society expects of you. It’s a confusing conundrum but honestly, put society out of your mind. This is about you. 

Here are a few ways to decide how long should you wait before sex for your particular circumstances. [Read: Unprotected sex – the dangers most people don’t even think about]

1. Forget the idea that waiting is bad

If you want to wait, it’s not bad. If you want to wait a week, five dates, or until marriage, that is your decision and yours alone. 

No one should pressure you or make you feel wrong or weird about that choice. Not your partner, not your family, and certainly not your priest.

And besides that, waiting has its benefits. Not only does sex tend to be better the longer you wait, but waiting can also show you’re more serious about some of the other aspects of dating, not just the physical bits. [Read: Why it’s okay to be a prude and proud of it!]

2. Forget the ‘being easy’ idea if you want sex quickly 

If you want to have sex sooner rather than later, that is your choice as well as your partner’s. Just be sure you both know what it means to you. You can’t take back sex. So, make sure you’re both on the same page.

Sex is only as big of a deal as you make it. If it means something to you personally or doesn’t, that is up to you. [Read: 15 ways to seduce and let someone know you want sex without words]

You’re not easy if you choose to have sex on the first date or on the first couple of dates. It’s your personal choice and nobody else’s business. 

3. Do you want to have sex? 

This is probably the most important question to ask yourself. If you don’t want to have sex, it isn’t time to do it. 

If you do want to have sex, are you prepared to deal with the consequences? They come in many forms such as unwanted pregnancy, STDs, emotional connection *or lack thereof*. Make sure you’re prepared for anything. [Read: How to become sexually active when you’re ready]

4. Why do you want to have sex? 

This can be a hard one to answer. The simple answer might be that it feels good. But think about why you want to have sex with this person. 

Do you want to connect with them? Are you attracted to them? Do you want to impress them? Do you want the experience?

5. Does your partner want to have sex? 

Man or woman, you need consent. It is that simple. If your partner doesn’t want to have sex, it isn’t time to have sex. [Read: Main types of sex and 23 fun ways to make intercourse more fun and hot]

6. Do you trust them?

If you’re looking for average amounts of time for how long should you date before sex, some people may say date number five. Some may say a month. And others say 3-6 months because that tends to be how long it takes to trust someone. But it is really whatever feels good to you. [Read: Should you follow the 90-day rule before having sex?]

The best way to measure how long you should date before having sex is when you feel you trust this person. Sex and trust go hand and hand. 

You’re trusting this person enough to put your body in their hands and that they are indeed single, so take that as a green light. [Read: How to build trust in a relationship and learn how to be loyal and loving]

7. Talk about it first

Whether it is a first date, three months in, or a month into an engagement, making sure you’re on the same page before having sex is necessary. 

It is a good rule of thumb that if you don’t feel comfortable talking about sex with this person, you probably won’t be comfortable actually having sex with them. [Read: How to tell a guy you want to have sex without feeling slutty]

So have a simple chat. The most important part is to make sure everything you’re doing is consensual. From there you can discuss safety, past partners, and even preferences. 

In terms of how long should you date before sex, perhaps until you can have this conversation without cringing. 

8. Are you on the same page about what this means? 

As mentioned earlier, sex means something different to everyone. To some, it means you have a connection and are committed. To others, it’s a fun time. [Read: Nervous about sex – are you feeling jitters with a new partner?]

Not knowing where the other person is on this question can make sex complicated and even regrettable. If you know this answer beforehand, you can more easily make your decision about if you should have sex and when you should have sex.

Sex is a big deal to a lot of people and is just a fun thing to do for others. If you’ve never had sex, it can seem overwhelming and scary. Even if you’ve had sex, it can still feel that way.

9. Is your partner pressuring you? 

If your partner is pressuring you, you do not need to have sex. It is not the time. 

Whether they ask you to prove your love or get mad if you don’t want to have sex, those are not reasons to do it. In fact, those are perfect reasons to not be with that person.

10. Your experience level 

We’re just going to come right out and say it: If you’ve never had sex before, you’re likely going to be a little hesitant to have sex with your partner. 

This is by no means a rule or anything, as we know many people that view sex as purely pleasure, and losing their virginity was like going to McDonald’s for a burger. [Read: On losing your virginity to a one-night stand]

Honestly though, for many, it is a huge deal. Many people want it to be with somebody important, and that’s a totally normal way of thinking too. 

In that case, maybe you’ll wait a little longer than someone who is a little more experienced.

11. Are you both exclusive?

Unless you’ve both discussed an open relationship, you should wait until you’re exclusive with someone before having sex with them.

This cuts down the risk of STDs and shows you both just how much you care for each other already. [Read: 15 signs you’re at the exclusive stage in your relationship]

12. Do you feel comfortable?

This could mean something different for everybody. Maybe this means being comfortable with your partner, but maybe it just means being comfortable with yourself and your body.

Most people need to feel comfortable with their partners because intimacy means more than two bodies touching. Many need an emotional connection with someone before they can have a physical connection with them. 

Perhaps this does not relate to you, and you don’t need a connection with your partner, but perhaps you need to be well-connected to yourself in the moment. [Read: Emotional intimacy or sexual intimacy? The chicken or the egg conundrum]

Whatever your connection, you need to assess your environment and determine if you are comfortable being intimate. If you aren’t comfortable, the experience will not be enjoyable.

13. What are your long-term plans?

If you are looking for a relationship with your sexual partner, waiting until you establish an emotional connection would be beneficial. 

Again, it is different for everybody and every body. *Yes, there is a difference*. If you want a short-term fling then non-committal sex is totally fine.

It can work for you and your plans. Tune into yourself, and figure out what you really want. [Read: Emotional intimacy or sexual intimacy – chicken or the egg?]

14. Long-distance relationships 

If you only see this person a couple of times a month, it is going to drastically affect how long you wait before having sex.

And this could honestly go one way or the other. If having an emotional connection is important to you, you may wait longer to become intimate with your partner. 

However, you may feel like having sex will create an emotional connection between you, and you may choose to do it sooner rather than later.

If an emotional connection is not important to you, then you may have sex early on in the relationship. Especially since you rarely see each other, it may become increasingly important to make use of the time that you do spend together. [Read: Steamy, sex tips to have Skype sex with your lover]

In this situation, learning how long should you date before sex is a little tricky.

15. Consider the living arrangements

If you have children, a roommate, or perhaps still live with your parents, this severely impacts how long you wait before having sex with your partner. Let’s just face facts, this can be a huge block in the sex department.

It’s hard to get in the mood when your baby is crying in the next room or your mom is watching her favorite show upstairs. [Read: What are the biggest sex buzzkills?]

16. You want to wait and he doesn’t…

Dump him. If you explain to him that you’re not ready and hope he’ll wait for you, and he is still putting pressure on you or tries to say you don’t have to be exclusive because you’re not giving him what he “needs.” He is not worth your time. 

You’re better off with someone who respects your decisions, especially the ones about your body.

17. You’re prepared to be safe

Are you on the same page about birth control and protection? [Read: Just the tip sex – why guys always use this excuse and why girls always fall for it!]

This really needs to be a conversation you have before sex. It may not be sexy, but there is nothing less sexy than unplanned pregnancies and STIs.

You’re either on birth control or will be using protection – or both. If you’re not ready to do those things, you’re definitely not ready for sex with that person. And if they refuse them, never sleep with them.

18. You have deep emotional feelings for them

Sex can be just physical, for sure. But if you’re going out on dates and want a future with that person, make sure you have an emotional connection first. Not only will it make the sex better, but you’ll be more certain of it. [Read: Small ways to build a stronger emotional connection]

19. You respect each other

You can’t have sex with someone who doesn’t respect you. If you do, you’re not really respecting yourself. They need to treat you right. You both have to respect each other. If you don’t, things could get ugly.

20. Are you sober or under the influence? 

Whether you’ve been using drugs or drinking, you cannot consent when under the influence. The same goes for your partner. You should both have clear heads.

21. You simply want to 

This is a really big point. Do you want to have sex with them? Is every part of you positive about it? [Read: The sobering reasons drunk sex is never okay]

You really have to be 100% certain you want to do it before going through with it. If that means waiting a few months and 15 dates, so be it.

22. There’s no such thing as waiting too long, but it may add pressure 

As long as it is what you feel comfortable with, wait as long as you like. But if you’re waiting to prove a point, show you’re not easy, or for some other reason that really isn’t you, it can get awkward.

Not just that, but waiting a long time can also put a lot of pressure on the sex to be great.

The first time you have sex with someone new it can be good, but most likely you’re both getting comfortable with each other and figuring things out. [Read: Why you should ditch these false dating myths for a better love life]

So don’t rush into it or do it just to get it over with, but know that waiting can put pressure on you.

How long should you date before sex really has no answer

We apologize. This probably is not the answer you were looking for when you stumbled upon this feature. But it is the truth. [Read: The common fears we all experience the first time we’re naked with a lover]

Sex is about you and your choices. It is not about anyone else’s expectations, judgments, or standards.

See what feels good to you in the moment, in the relationship, and with that person, because that is what matters. Dating for months, years, or hours before having sex is no one’s business but your own and your potential lover’s. 

Whatever you decide to do, know that sex is just sex at the end of the day. It doesn’t define you, your future, or anything. [Read: How to talk about sex without sounding like a pervert]

While we could give you an extensive list of rules and guidelines to how long you should wait before sex, none of it really matters. As long as you’re okay with it, your partner is okay with it, and you’re being safe, there’s no issue. 

Seriously, life is way too short to live by some made-up rules that are supposed to make somebody interested in you or make them stick around. 

If they stick around, great, if not, “see ya later alligator” *yes, always say goodbye like this, please*. [Read: A QnA guide to help you decide when YOU should have sex]

How long should you wait before sex? Go with your gut

If you’re happy to go for it, there should be no question of how long you should wait before sex in your mind. If you can tick the boxes above and the whole situation feels comfortable and right to you, that’s all you need to know. 

Don’t allow what other people think to cloud your judgment. It’s none of their business. Wait, don’t wait, simply do what’s right for you and your partner.

[Read: Are you sex-positive? What it means and why you should get on board]

So how long should you wait before sex? There really isn’t a solid answer because each person differs. The real question should be – are you ready for sex with this new person? 

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...