How Quickly Do You Know If You Want To Sleep With Someone? #atwys

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Sylviaawkward12
Comment: A 47yo guy messaged me on OKC, we exchanged a few messages, and we’ve gone out three times. He’s cute–in a dorky sweet sort of way–smart, a bit more earnest than I usually go, for but after the last a-hole I dated for 2 years I figured I’d give him a shot.

1st and 2nd date was super easy, long, 3 hrs. A drink with good conversation that turned into ‘let’s get a bite’ both times. The thing is there was no real romantic vibe–not even a hand on the arm, legs touching or whatever.

So he asked me out a 3rd time. I live in a small city and walk downtown to dates. Because we met at the restaurant each time and he didn’t walk me home and I didn’t walk him to his car, I figured I’d give him the benefit of the doubt because I’m not big on dudes going in for the kiss on the street. For the 3rd date I did suggest he park near my apt since parking downtown can be hard, and I figured I’d cut him loose if neither of us made a move.

So he ended up staying the night, but it was bad. So, so bad. And not bad in a 1st time don’t-know-each-other-yet sorta way. I really don’t think it will get better and I consider sex to be an important part of a relationship. But…he deleted his OKC that day. I suspect he feels like we’re exclusive now. (!)

He had a trip, then I had a trip, so we’ve had 2 weeks without seeing each other. His trip was in the middle of nowhere with no reception and he texted me before that would be the case and said ‘we’ll do something when you get back.” He just declared/assumed, didn’t even ask if I wanted to.

My trip was in a major city. He texted me 1x and I did not reply right away, but a few hours later I sent a quick friendly text. What do I do? I was on the fence about him and that sealed it as a no, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings.

Do I give him a gentle version of the truth? Or do I make up an excuse like ‘I’ve been thinking things over and I’m not sure I am ready to date someone with kids.’ Help!
Age: 41
City: Providence
State: RI


I give you credit for giving the guy a second chance. You tried to see if there was potential and learned there wasn’t. Now you have to reject him, something nobody likes to do.

I wouldn’t tell him that the problem is his kids. That’s something he can’t change, and so saying that that’s why you’re rejecting him will only make him feel insecure and inadequate going forward. You want to try and leave someone just as you found them. You don’t want to leave them damaged in any way. Plus, you knew going in to this that he had kids. You can’t turn around and say that his kids are why you’re not interested. That’s a bad lie because it’s an obvious lie. He’s going to know you’re making that up, which will make him want to push for the truth. That’s what you want to avoid.  You don’t want to be forced into a position where you have to come clean about why you’re really not interested.

So, what do you say? You tell him that you don’t feel the chemistry is there and you wish him luck. That’s it.  If he replies and pushes for more info, you stick to your original statement. Do not go into detail. I wouldn’t even reply to any follow up messages he sends other than to reiterate exactly what you said the first time. Beyond that, just don’t reply. You gave him an honest answer. You don’t owe him more than that. While he might think he wants to know the specific thing that caused you to “lose” interest, he really doesn’t. The truth is, you never lost interest because you never had interest. You were trying him on for size because he was the opposite of what you’re attracted to. Admirable, but ultimately pointless because you were never going to be attracted to him no matter how hard you tried.

While I don’t think butterflies and intense chemistry needs to be present on a first date in order for their to be a second, you have to have the desire to sleep with them. If that’s not there, then my personal stance is to turn down the request for a second date.  I don’t see the point.  If, after a half an hour or so, I don’t find myself wondering what he’ll be like in bed, that’s a sign to me that I’m not attracted to him enough to see him again. For me, the sexual desire has to be present to warrant a second date.

I know many people will say that this is short-sighted of me and suggest that sexual desire can build, etc. Here’s the thing. I happen to believe that old myth that most women know within minutes if they’re going to sleep with a guy. I’m one of those women. I don’t think many women put off having sex for lack of desire. I think they hold off because they want to avoid sleeping with someone and getting dumped right afterwards. Which is perfectly acceptable. But this idea that a woman needs a few dates to determine if she wants to have sex with a guy is, in my opinion, bunk.


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23 Responses to “How Quickly Do You Know If You Want To Sleep With Someone? #atwys”

  1. BrooklynRoyal Says:

    I don’t know within minutes of I am going to sleep with a man, but I definitely know within minutes of I WON’T sleep with a man. Most men fall under maybe. I don’t worry about getting dumped right after sex because I do not have sex without a emotional connection, and I don’t do that because I simply don’t like emotionless sex. I agree with the rest of moxies post though, just give the guy the standard No Chemistry rejection we all must face from time to time.

  2. Tinker Says:

    I don’t think the kids lie would be so horrible. Citing no chemistry right after having awful sex for the first time is really obvious. And I don’t think obvious is a bad thing, I think the closer you can get to being honest the better, but that truth will most definitely hurt his feelings and leave him feeling a bit insecure. The kids thing will make her look like a bit of a flake, but it will spare him. Depends on what is more important to the OP.
    Totally agree with Moxie that this guy didn’t stand a chance from the jump- anytime you look at a guy and say ‘I figured I’d give him a shot’ the whole thing is a non-starter.
    You don’t have to know someone well to know if you are sexually interested in them. Doesn’t mean you have to act on that interest but it should be there.

    • ATWYSingle Says:

      The kids lie is bad because she knew he had kids before she went out with him and slept with him. We all know that if the genders were reversed and the guy slept with the woman and decided he wasn’t interested and used her kids as an excuse, he’d be flamed for it.

      • Tinker Says:

        That’s what I’m saying- it makes her look flaky or silly, and he can make her the bad guy, but it’s not a direct evaluation on his performance in bed. That’s what her ‘no chemistry’ line would be at this point. Frankly I think she should call out their chemistry deficit, but if it was just about not hurting his feelings, then I think the kids thing would be the way to go.

    • bbdawg Says:

      I disagree. I actually think saying “the chemistry wasn’t there” is perfect. Because it’s the truth. That is exactly what you need to tell someone, because both genders know that once you say “the chemistry is not there” that is the most basic way of telling you can’t have a relationship with someone.

    • Nicole Says:

      “Citing no chemistry right after having awful sex for the first time is really obvious…that truth will most definitely hurt his feelings and leave him feeling a bit insecure. ”

      Totally agree. The “no chemistry” explanation is great to use after a couple of coffee dates – not feeling any attraction, no harm, no foul – but after you’ve slept with somebody, it’s just a polite way to say that the sex sucked.

      It probably doesn’t matter what explanation the OP gives this guy… Getting rejected hurts no matter what the reason. But I don’t see the chemistry line as doing anything to spare his feelings. If that’s her goal, she should just use the old “getting back with my ex” or “moving out of state” excuses the rest of us rely on!

      • HammersAndNails Says:

        Which is the feedback he needs. The lie about kids is awful because it’s going to point him in the wrong direction, yet be just as hurtful as the sex thing.

        • Nicole Says:

          I agree the kids excuse is a bad idea… But what’s the point of letting someone know they’re bad in bed? It’s hurtful and pointless, if you have no interest in sticking around to help them improve. He’ll find someone who he’s more compatible with sexually, or someone who cares less about sex.

          It sounds like the OP hasn’t talked to the guy much over the past 2 weeks. In her place I’d probably just say I was super busy at work and didn’t have time for a serious relationship, and then disappear. I guess I just don’t see the point of giving “feedback” at all in this situation.

          • D. Says:

            It’s also not categorically true. What one person digs in bed might just not be what the other person digs, whereas with someone else, they’re a perfect fit.

            My guess is that the sex was bad because she was ambivalent about the guy in the first place. When you’re having to “convince” yourself to have sex, it’s unlikely that it’ll be surprisingly awesome. More likely it’ll be mediocre at best, and probably pretty bad because you just won’t be into it, they’ll be able to tell, and then your whole dynamic is off.

          • krismae Says:

            The only problem with that kind of lie is that they can infer it was a lie on OKCupid. I’d hope by 47, he’d just shrug it off, but there’s the chance he’ll ask why you’re still online if you don’t have time for a relationship. The chemistry thing is best. It’s not super personal, but it shuts down any possibility of a push-back (My ex can take the kids; I’m busy, too; etc.)

  3. ShawninCo Says:

    As someone who’s been dumped for what I perceived to be these reasons (not that it makes me special or unique), I totally respect the “chemistry” line. Totally. Did I really like the guy head over heels? Yes. Was I crushed after he told me that he didn’t want to see me again? Dear lord….yes. Yes. I even called Moxie via the “Get Help with a Specific Dating Issue” service that she offers for additional insight on such a shocking and painful issue. You know what? Between him telling me that “he was not excited to really see me again, but wishes me the best” and Moxie’s advice, I got it. I wasn’t upset with anyone after that, but I got it. If someone as naive and inexperienced as I could respect that decision and move on, then I’m sure that this guy will, generally, be just fine. You were not the villain and you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just a gut instinct about it being a bad fit and you’re allowed to own that.

  4. Nicole Says:

    I know pretty quickly whether or not I’m attracted to someone, but there’s a huge difference between being attracted to them and deciding I’m going to sleep with them. Like BrooklynRoyal, I enjoy sex more when there’s a connection. For me it’s not necessarily about being in an official relationship, but more about genuinely liking the guy as a person and knowing he feels the same way about me. And that takes more than a few minutes to figure out.

    I guess some of my wanting that connection has to do with worrying about getting dumped after sex… But there is a different and equally awful regret that comes with realizing the person you’re sleeping with makes fun of handicapped people and thinks diabetes is a liver disease. (Hi, guy I dated in January!) Even if the chemistry is there from the start, I like to make sure a guy isn’t a total asshole or dumb as a brick before I have sex with him.

    • C Says:

      I agree. The emotional connection for me was always the thing that got me from “I want to spend time with him” to “I want to kiss him” to “sexy time”. When I was younger, I messed around with a few pretty hot guys on a first date (or actually without a first date) and really didnt enjoy it at all. Thought I would, but all I remember was feeling bored and awkward and never going out with them again.

      Maybe its a matter of how strong your sex drive is, or maybe its that as we become more experienced/older and sex becomes less of a big deal, we know what we want sooner.

      Attraction itself can be pretty quirky. I’ve had a number of colleagues, friends and (way back when) classmates and teachers that I felt nothing for for days, weeks, even months after meeting them. Then one day seemingly out of nowhere, I would suddenly notice myself falling for them.

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “there’s a huge difference between being attracted to them and deciding I’m going to sleep with them.”

      Perhaps it’s your wording I have trouble with, but if I find someone attractive, that means I want to sleep with them. That doesn’t always mean I _will_ sleep with them if an opportunity presents itself (for various reasons, which may take a while to figure out), but it doesn’t change the physical desire to do so.

      If I don’t find a woman attractive, i.e. someone I’d want to have sex with, then I wouldn’t ask her out in the first place. This idea of attraction growing over time simply doesn’t make sense to me; my general tastes have changed a bit over the years, but that isn’t specific to any one woman or over just a few dates.

  5. D'Alias Says:

    Sometimes it takes a few dates to know if you want to sleep with somebody. If there’s nothing by about date five, I’m out of there. If I don’t want it by then I never will. I assume the same goes for him.

  6. Greg Figueroa Says:

    The Chemistry line works best. Sometimes, you will be the bad person when you don’t mean to, but soon after you will forgot about the guy and his feelings. The moment will pass.

  7. D. Says:

    In general, “No chemistry” is a pretty bulletproof answer at most of the early stages of dating. That said, “No chemistry” tends to feel more like “no attraction,” and if you’ve slept together, that’s obviously just not the case. There had to be some level of attraction for you to want to get naked with this person.

    In that situation, I find that “Not seeing this going any farther than it’s gone” is a good version of “no chemistry” that at least acknowledges that there was some level of interest initially. When pressed for details, you can still default to something nebulous like “I don’t feel my feelings growing” or “I’m just not feeling excited about you” or whathaveyou (which, again, is pretty similar to “No chemistry”) but it’s not quite the same implication that “no chemistry” conveys.

    As for worrying about any of this coming immediately after sex….don’t.

    First, that’s not your problem or responsibility. While basic courtesy requires you to not be an asshole, it does not require you to throw yourself on your sword just for the sake of appearances. Dating is not and shouldn’t be social welfare. If getting together with the guy again is something you know you don’t want to do, then don’t. I guarantee you he isn’t looking for a pity date. And if he is, the he’s self-absorbed and not worth it anyway.

    Second, let’s be honest here. Most of the time when we say “Oh, but I don’t want to hurt their feelings,” it’s more accurate to say “Oh, but I don’t want to feel bad, myself, for having hurt their feelings.” Or rather that you don’t want him to be angry/confrontational with you about hurting his feelings, which would make you feel bad. Anyway, if you’re seriously considering lying or what they think of you, then recognize that that’s more about you than it is about them. It’s not driven by altruism, but by guilt and an desire to avoid conflict.

    Lastly, this isn’t happening immediately after sex. It’s happening a few weeks after sex and a lack of communication from both parties. That’s plenty of time for feelings to fade when you’re only three dates in. And that means it’s not necessarily “obvious” that he sucks in bed. But even if he does, that’s still not your problem to make him feel ok about.

    • C Says:

      I really like this suggestion: “Not seeing this going any farther than it’s gone”. But I agree, “no chemistry” or “not enough chemistry” isnt a bad answer for terminating a dating situation that ends within a hadful of dates.

      “Second, let’s be honest here. Most of the time when we say “Oh, but I don’t want to hurt their feelings,” it’s more accurate to say “Oh, but I don’t want to feel bad, myself”.

      Well yeah. If there was no self-regulated internal sense of reward or punishment for how we treat others, why would we ever act out of kindness? Maybe this is more of a “chick problem” because women tend to blow emotional stuff out of proportion and spend more time ruminating about another persons hurt feelings but I think the OPs motivations are coming from the right place here. She likes this guy as a person and wants to (as Moxie said) leave him as she found him rather then bruised. Its entirely fair to say he is a big boy and she is blowing things out of proportion, but her motives (I think) are in the right place.

  8. Yvonne Says:

    I also have to agree with others that I know when the chemistry is NOT there, but I can be on the fence about someone that I’ve just met. I’m willing to give things a chance to grow, as long as some chemistry is present. Knowing that you feel chemistry right off the bat doesn’t insure that the other person isn’t a jerk and completely wrong for you.

    And it’s happened to me a time or two that a man I was on the fence about turned out to be pretty bad in bed.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to lie about not wanting to date someone with kids (or anything else, for that matter) since you’ve always known they’ve had kids. The “no chemistry” line is honest, but I might rephrase it slightly to say that the chemistry just doesn’t feel right. It’s suitably vague and sounds a bit less harsh than saying you feel no chemistry at all. Especially after sex.

    Of course, that isn’t all you say during a break-up. If you genuinely like someone, you tell them that you’ve enjoyed their company, etc., think they are a fine person, but moving forward just doesn’t feel right to you. In this case, there has been some passage of time, so that should also help.

  9. Damien Says:

    Let me guess: the OP dated that a-hole for the last two years because she liked that he was a bad boy. Now she tries a passive guy who is afraid of getting sexual and she finds that his lack of experience shows.

    I can relate to both of them.

    1) I was like the passive guy when I was young and inexperienced, because I was afraid of doing anything that would hurt my chances with women. That was self-defeating. I suspect this guy the OP was dating never got out of the trap he dug for himself. He needs a wake-up call and to learn to express his sexual side in dating.

    2) Like the OP, I also believe that sex is an important part of a relationship. I like a woman that has a bit of attitude and likes to express herself sexually. That makes dating and having sex and a relationship with someone like that appealing. The challenge for me is finding a bad girl that is not a complete b-tch, just as the challenge for the OP is in finding a bad boy that is not a complete a-hole.

    At least the OP slept with this passive guy to give him a chance. The OP learned something, the guy she dated should be grateful he got laid, the no-chemistry line will be his first wake-up call, and both should move on.

  10. Sylvia Says:

    OP here. Thanks for all the good food for thought.

    The a-hole was actually not a “bad boy” but someone who wasn’t ready to commit yet wanted to move in. Live and learn. Despite lots of frank conversation–I’m a 41 yo woman, I know how to do that–he was not being honest, mostly with himself. Anyway.

    I liked the “nice guy” enough to go out on 3 dates. They were long, 3 hour dates, easy conversation the whole time. I thought he was cute enough too. It was mostly lack of assertiveness on his part that left me feeling more of a friend connection than anything. But I’m also old enough to know that things like stuff in common and good conversation is important too.

    Nothing ventured nothing gained I guess. And it wasn’t even just “not good in bed” it was…disfunction. I’ve never had a partner with this issue, and I know that a lot of it can be mental so I don’t want to be unnecessarily mean, but no, I don’t like him enough to figure this out. The chemistry thing probably works as well as anything.

    I sort of liked the kid excuse thing because exactly, it’s *not* “fixable” with a little blue pill, but I agree if table were turned a man would be flamed for it so I’ll just have to woman up…thanks everyone.

    • D. Says:

      That’s the beauty of the “chemistry” or “won’t go any further than it’s gone” response, though: both are completely unfixable and cannot be challenged.

      In my experience, most people don’t challenge you when you say you aren’t interested, regardless of the reason. Even if they think your reason is bullshit, it doesn’t really matter — the bottom line is you don’t want to date them.

      The other benefit of either approach is that both are always always true. They may not be the full, brutal, often needlessly cruel truth (e.g., “I’m not interested because you have performance issues in bed.”), but they’re still true.

      To the extent you get pushed on “but whyyyyyy,” I find it helpful to simply say “I don’t know. Emotions don’t operate with an on/off button.” That’s usually enough to telegraph to the other person that further inquiries as to “whyyyyy” are pointless.

  11. Sylvia Says:

    And: I can’t stop laughing at this photo you selected to go with the post. ;)

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