When Is the ‘Right Time’ for the First Time?
When you're seeing someone new and the attraction is palpable in every interaction you've had so far, you might have the inclination to, well, jump each other's bones. But is there an amount of time you should wait before you first have sex?
The answer varies depending on who you ask and what their experience with sex is. In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Sex Research, 51 percent of unmarried couples surveyed had sex after a few weeks of dating, 38 percent had sex on the first date or within three weeks of dating and 11 percent had sex before they started dating.
Having sex with someone new is kind of intimidating, but extremely exciting. There are a lot of variables you may entertain before you take intimacy to the next level, but there's no mathematical formula that will lead you to the "right" answer.
What kind of relationship are you after?
In the age of dating apps, it can be hard to know if your expectations of a new relationship match your partner's. At the outset of dating someone new, it's important to define to yourself what exactly you're seeking so your emotional and physical needs are met and you're not disappointed. For example, if you're looking for sex or a friends-with-benefits arrangement, you may not wait long before you have sex with a new person. In this scenario, sex and low-stakes companionship are the goals.
If you're looking for something serious and long-term, it's possible you'd entertain the idea of waiting to get to know this new partner before you decide to bring intimacy into the equation. Maybe you associate better sex with increased emotional connection, so you want to wait. That's not to say long-term relationships can't come after having sex soon into a relationship, but if you're looking for a life partner, their companionship may be more important to you than bedroom activity.
Fashion designer Nikki Lund opens up about how being raised in a conservative Mormon home impacted her views on sex. Watch the full interview here.
Pressure and persuasion are always unwelcome
With a new romantic interest, you should be observant as to how they handle the topic of sex. Is this person excited to have sex with you, but you've found yourself having to stop their advances repeatedly after you've set a boundary? Does this person make you feel bad or guilty if you don't want to have sex with them in the heat of the moment?
The answer to both of those questions should be a firm no, but if this hasn't been the case, you should evaluate if you want to continue dating that person. Coercion and emotional manipulation, whether intentional or unintentional, should never precede sex.
Have an honest conversation
Sex requires enthusiastic consent from all parties involved. Period. You should never assume your partner is ready for intimacy because you are. Instead, open up a dialogue about taking things to the next level.
Regardless of what kind of relationship you're pursuing, check-ins can be helpful to assess where they're at and what they want. For something more casual, this could be the right time to discuss potential kinks or sexual interests to see if you'd be a good match. If you're looking to date this person long-term, establishing open channels of communication from the outset will make your relationship stronger.
Having a frank conversation about sex also opens up the opportunity to discuss safety precautions, STD risk and the matter of exclusivity. Be sure to take some time away from a hot-and-heavy situation to go over these subjects so honest and open answers come with ease.
There's no right answer
After you've mulled over all potential outcomes of the perfect time to have sex for the first time with new a romantic interest, know every situation is unique. It is ultimately up to you and your body to decide what feels right. Sex should be something you and your partner enjoy together—it should add happiness to your relationship, not stress.