How Long Do You Wait to Sleep With Someone?

We’ve talked about everything from break-ups to breasts, so today let’s talk about sex…

When it comes to dating, I’ve always been super slow. I’ve waited ages before sleeping with new boyfriends. In college, I waited five months to sleep with one boyfriend; and three months to sleep with a later boyfriend. After graduating, I waited more than a year to sleep with a boyfriend I met here in New York.

By the time I met Alex, I was 28 and more confident and bold. Plus, I was head-over-heels for him after our very first date. So, for our third date, I suggested that we “watch a movie” at his apartment. We rented Chinatown, and halfway through, he paused the movie because I wanted to ask a question about the plot….yada, yada, yada, we made waffles the next morning.

I’m curious: How long do you wait to sleep with a new boyfriend or girlfriend? First date? Three dates? Weeks, months, years? Until marriage? Have you ever regretted waiting too long or too little? Spill the beans — and feel free to comment anonymously!

(Photo by Elisa/Flickr.)

  1. Elissa says...

    This is a wonderful topic to be discussing on this platform. I would be interested in seeing how the conversation may have shifted in the 8 years since it was first published. Many comments I’m seeing are about waiting until marriage, while others are about following your gut instinct and that it depends on the person with whom you are considering becoming intimate. My background is some of both. I grew up in a religious family and community, and waiting until marriage was the assumption. Primarily because of this I didn’t have sex until I was 27, about a month into my current relationship. Because of my background I had also assumed I would wait until marriage, although as I got older I realised that it wasn’t a personal conviction so much as a cultural norm that I had absorbed as my own normal. My sweet boyfriend had a very similar background to mine – we actually knew each other as children, though seldom crossed paths for about 20 years. When we did randomly reconnect, I felt comfortable with him immediately. I had always had a positive impression of him, and it made it easy to open up to him. After several months of spending time together, during which he made his interest obvious, I was ready to move forward with him. We had our first kiss the night we became official. Over a month later we talked about having sex (the first time for him as well), and while at first I was hesitant because of how I’d been raised, I realised that I was actually very comfortable with the idea. I’m so glad I followed my gut. I love our relationship in every way, including the physical aspect. I think sex can and should be treated as an expression of love, although culturally it can be seen as an exchange or a way of judging someone’s character. Depending on how you look at it, I waited 25+ years (from when we met as children), 6 months (from when we started going out), or 5 weeks (from when we started officially dating). Regardless of the time frame, I’m so glad it happened the way it happened and wouldn’t change a thing.

  2. Laura says...

    My first time ever happened when i was 25. Strange, and very unusual, i know. But i just never seemed to like guys who showed interest in me, instead i think i was always aiming for ‘too cool or too popular’.
    I met this guy during my last day of vacation in Hawaii. I thought he was super cute, but he was a tour guide and i was just another tourist at the islands. I ended up looking him up through company’s FB and we eventually became good friends. We had been talking online for 2 years before i had guts to travel back to Hawaii to visit him (i lived in Europe at that time), and we did it, just like in movies – sex on the beach.
    I really cared about this guy, but the distance was still there. 5 years later i broke up with him because i was being drained by long distance (even though i moved to WA in the meantime, we were still thousand miles apart).
    A few months after a break up i signed up on Tinder. And only then i realized how much i was missing on.
    The first guy i met made it to 2nd date, and then it was a mutual fade-away — no physical attraction.
    Second guy i met with met all the criteria in my head, and we had sex on 2nd date.
    I never thought about what is or is not considered too soon.
    With my first guy i waited for 2 years, but also because of the distance and me being afraid of losing virginity to a wrong guy. Second guy got to see me at my weakest just a week into online dating.
    It’s hard to say which is better. If you feel like it’s what you wanna do, then go for it. Whether it’s 3rd date or 3rd month. But I will always try to make it a rule not to sleep with someone on a first date.
    Just make sure you both talk about what you want, if he doesn’t see that there is a chance of sex happening in near future, he might lose interest…

  3. Gotta say, I intentionally dragged it out with the current BF – partly cause two weeks after meeting I was away for three weeks in Europe. I did sleep with him in the middle of the night prior to leaving, but I think we both sorta chalked it up to ‘a dream’ – I suppose I didn’t want to get too attached if he moved on whilst I was away.

    It’s been three years now…

  4. I waited until I got married (at 26 no less!) to have sex for the first time with my husband. There’s something so liberating about knowing he’s the only one who’s seen and known all of me. I’m thankful to have no regrets!

    • Beth B. says...

      Stacey, I waited to have sex as well and also got married at 26!

  5. I really need help with this. I have been seeing a great woman for a month now. We have been on several ( more than 25 ) dates. We have been to dinners, movies, traveling, romantic boat rides etc. We have not had sex unless you count me performing fellatio on her. She will not perform ANY sexual acts on me. Matter of fact she does not even call me her boyfriend. Says she wants to wait 6 months and a ring to be considered my boyfriend. Now I do not have a problem buying her a ring and such, but she does not speak to me kindly anymore. no baby, sunshine etc. I really care about her, but I feel at times like a sucker. I know she is under some pressure at work for the next few days, but pressure at work has never been an issue. I do believe in pleasuring my partner but it cannot be a one way street. Part of me wants to call it quits, but part of me want’s to give it more time. But how much more is enough.

    • Eilin says...

      what happened to your story? I’m curious…

    • Bev says...

      To Legpain,
      I just read your post about the situation with your girlfriend of one month (at the time), and I’m feeling concern for you. My main concern is about her speaking less kindly to you. I was in a long-term relationship in which I was on the receiving end of that, and it really took a toll on me. I hope things are going better for you now, even if you’re having to go through some loneliness for a while because of a break-up which you realized was what you needed to have. I could share a bit more about my concern for you, if you’re interested.

  6. Three to four dates, generally. I need to know if I’m sexually compatible with someone before I see them as a possible partner. Sorry to be blunt but if they’re terrible in bed I see absolutely no future with them.

  7. Both my girlfriend and I have had a large number of partners and spouses. We are both up to 4 divorces. While she is definitely in the top 2 or 3 in bed that I’ve been with, my third wife is still #1. I know that she classifies me as #1 at making her horny and having multiple orgasms. She says this scared the crap out of her in the beginning as she didn’t understand it. Now, she loves it. I can say that after 2 years, we’ve never had a bad second together. Maybe it will last.

  8. I am 17 and have been dating my boyfriend for 6 months. We are really happy together and have had no major problems in our relationship other than a jealous friend of mine (but she’s cool with it now). We’ve both been raised by Christian families but have both faced some pretty difficult situations in life and haven’t been the best kids ever. We worked at the same place over the summer and after just a month of dating we had co-workers pressuring us into having sex. We didn’t though and are both still virgins. The problem is, we both really like each other but we feel like we can’t act on it because of the way we were brought up. It’s driving us both crazy. On one hand, we have Christian people telling us we need to wait and that it’s worth it, but pressure from peers not to wait on the other hand. My answer to this question is another question: which way should we stick to, our roots, or our own feelings? And does not going all the way count as giving it away early? I would say wait, but my own feelings are getting in the way…

  9. My husband and I slept together before we started officially dating. We had been good friends for a while and I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship and not looking for a relationship and neither was he. But luckily the not wanting a relationship did not last very long.In fact we always joke that we never really dated, one day we were just living together. It worked for us, but I recognize that every person is different and what works for one may not work for others.

  10. We both waited until our wedding day for both kissing and sex. Totally worth it!

  11. I’m glad I found this thread, because I just had my first date (albeit mediocre) in a whole year! I’m 19 and a virgin, but you know, being off the game for a whole year made me put things in perspective. Reading all these wonderful comments I realized that 1) I don’t need to pressure myself, and that 2) this guy definitely isn’t IT.
    Sometimes I still feel off or weird for being a virgin and being almost 20, but here I found a few like myself. I’m so glad. :) Thank you everyone. You’re all so wonderful and admirable! Great advise.

  12. What an interesting post as well as interesting comments. I was 23 when I first had sex; it was with my husband and we had waited 3 years until we were married. Twelve years later we divorced. During the marriage, I realized we were not compatible; I wanted to have sex a couple of times a week–he would have been happy with a couple of times per year!

    After that, I had numerous relationships; for some we waited a few months, for others, we had sex on the first date. Some of those were one night stands, some lasted for months. Then I met my current husband; we dated for 4 months before having sex. We were married a year later, and now it’s been 29 years. I regret nothing! We both have had numerous partners in the past and our sexual relationship has been the better for it.

    I just stopped by from SITS to say hello….I seem to have stayed a while! Hope you return the visit!

  13. i can not imagine having memories or experiences of being intimate or naked with another man. my hubby and i waited until we were married, and i’ve never even kissed any guy besides him! it means so much that he’s the only one who knows my body, and it’s all his! once we got married and started having sex i hated that i actually had to start worrying about the possibility of getting pregnant! i could not have handled that any sooner. not to mention we don’t have to worry about std’s. so many reasons it’s the best choice – and it’s the way God planned it to be. His way is always best. :) it makes marriage so much more meaningful, as it rightfully should be.

  14. Anonymous says...

    I have been raised in a strong Baptist family and church, where I have been taught that God calls me to wait to have sex until I am married. When I was 13, I made a personal commitment to wait, and to wait to kiss until my wedding as well (and to wait to say I love you until engagement.)

    So far, so good. I have been dating my boyfriend who I am pretty certain I will marry in the next 2 years, and he has also waited for these things, and has told me several times, “I will not be the guy to take these things away from you.” His humble care for me has been such a wonderful thing!

    People probably think I’m crazy for waiting so much, and that’s okay. I know I am showing my love to God by following His commands and His design.

    As for the concerns of being “sexually incompatible”? I’m not too worried at all, because the Bible teaches that sex is not actually to just make ME happy. Through sex, the husband and wife can show love to one another by serving one another’s personal preferences. It’s not just an act of pleasure–it’s an act of giving in love.

    And the issue of being experienced on my wedding night? I’m also not concerned about that. I am excited to learn and grow with my husband, who will more than likely also have waited, and we’ll figure it out together. Besides, what do I have to compare it to?

    I know that there will be times when waiting for these things will not be easy. I’m not naive. But it is a JOY for me to wait, and to show love to God and to my future husband through waiting.

    In order to make things a little easier, we have done a few things–we don’t spend time in a house alone together. We are also kept accountable by my parents, our close friends, and our pastor and his wife (who are the sweetest, most caring couple ever!)

    I know the road of waiting won’t always be easy. But it is absolutely worth it.

  15. Anonymous says...

    Like everyone is saying, it depends on the relationship. But I’ve never really been one to wait too long. I don’t think of sex as this big holy event that can only happen during marriage or when the setting is juuuuuuuust right. I also dislike the double standard between men and women about sex: men can have sex as often as they want with however many women they want, but women who don’t wait until they’re in a relationship to have sex are deemed “sluts” and “whores”. I do think “sluts” exist (and obviously whores do), but I think that’s more of a matter of WHY you’re having sex with so many people so often. Is it because you hate your father? Yourself? Think you aren’t good enough for something deeper? But if there is a true attraction and desire between two people, I don’t see the problem with doing it on the first meeting or waiting until marriage, or anything in between.

    My last boyfriend and I slept together the second day we knew each other. We were together for four years (which is a lot for me since I’m only 23 now). My current boyfriend and I slept together the first night we met, and I have no regrets about that. I didn’t expect anything from either of them when we slept together, and I think that is key. That avoids hurt feelings and, even more ideally, can lead to respect and trust, and even a deeper mutual attraction (assuming neither of you is too crazy for the other).

    Maybe I’m rambling a little… I’ve had a glass of wine. But I think if two people work well together, the amount of time they wait to have sex won’t make a difference. And if two people don’t work well together, they’ll only be prolonging the inevitable by waiting for sex.

  16. I want to take bits and pieces from everyone else comments!

    I too cannot believe that so many people waited until marriage! So awesome.

    My husband and I waited until we were married. We are Jesus people too! It was the hardest and best decision we ever made.

    Our wedding night wasn’t one for the books but we have made up for it in the past 2 years of marriage!

    I love that we have only been with each other and don’t have any other baggage along with that aspect of our relationship!

    I believe our sex life is as great as it is because we waited… but thats just my opinion!