Stop Making Sex So Important



Name: Jennifer
Question: I’m not used to dating, I’ve struggled a lot with believing in myself my life and I don’t really date, never had a boyfriend.

I had a date at the weekend and it went well.  Met him online and he seems nice.
He asked me out on a second drink for ‘a drink or come to mine for a movie’ – Now I’m not at all bothered about any of those and to be fair if I don’t want to do anything I won’t.

However when we agreed on a second date he asked if I was working the following day – and I said yes.
Everything seemed fine until the day of the date and he got ill and cancelled last minute and tried to reschedule for the weekend.

Do you guys think it could be because he wants one thing?

If I wanted to sleep with him I would have but even at the weekend I’m not sure if its that he wants me to stay over?

I feel like I’m getting mixed vibes and I’m not sure what to do!
Age: 20

I can’t speculate on what his intentions were. I don’t have enough information. I don’t understand why you think you having to work the next day would deter him from getting together with you if, as you suspect, he just wanted sex. If he just wanted sex then you working the next day is an ideal scenario. There would be a built in escape plan for him to leave.

Personally, I don’t like to schedule dates when I know I have an early morning appointment. It ruins the mood. I’ll be thinking about getting enough sleep and getting home, etc. Maybe he would prefer to hang out when there’s less external factors contributing to how the night proceeds?

Here’s the thing: you’re never going to know if a guy just wants sex unless you sleep with him. You could over-think and analyze the situation to death and you’d still never know. You could wait four, five, six dates and then have sex and even then you’re not guaranteed a certain outcome.

You can’t go into every dating situation with the fear that a guy just wants sex. You can assume he wants sex, because most people like sex and want it as much as possible, please and thank you. But you can not determine if he just wants sex until the sex occurs or doesn’t occur. Holding out for a certain amount of dates could and usually does backfire on women, as men know what the woman is doing and bails.

Let’s say you sleep with him, the sex is good,  and he blows you off. Who’s the asshole in that scenario? Hint: it’s not you. Yeah, it sucks to be duped but you are in no way responsible for that. That’s on him. If he does disappear, then he did you a favor.

You need to stop placing so much importance on sex and what it means and doesn’t mean. Sex doesn’t truly mean something until you and your partner have developed a significant trust anyway, so the sex you have early in a relationship is more about pleasure determining compatibility than anything else. When deep feelings develop and you’re out of that early-stage sex haze THEN the sex means something.



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13 Responses to “Stop Making Sex So Important”

  1. BostonRobin Says:

    “Everything seemed fine until the day of the date and he got ill and cancelled last minute and tried to reschedule for the weekend.”

    LOL, done! If he does just want sex with you, you aren’t even at the top of his list. Lose his number and move on.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 13


    • D. Says:

      Wait a second. She sets up a date with him, he gets sick, cancels, and actually tries to reschedule with her, and this is evidence that she’s “not even at the top of his list” and she should move on?

      You can’t be serious.

      If he canceled and didn’t try to reschedule, yeah, I’d say that shows a lack of interest. But to cancel and say “I’m really sorry! But I’d love to get together next week, if you’re free,” is a sign that he’s genuinely interested in seeing her again.

      As for him “just” wanting sex, who the hell knows? There’s basically zero information here to determine that one way or the other. Hell, sex barely comes up at all in the OP’s story, except insofar as a possible explanation for why the guy canceled, coupled with maybe some free-floating anxiety.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 5


      • BostonRobin Says:

        I am serious. He tried to angle a second date at his house, which is a sex invitation. Nothing wrong with that, and LW was game. Then he cancels that day. A GUY CANCELS A SEX DATE? WAT…

        This has been my dating experience, ymmv: I rarely tolerate any cancellation for the first few dates. The few exceptions I have made proved my rule. Those people never turned out to be anything but trouble. I know when I am actually interested in someone I make every effort to stick to plans in the beginning. That’s when everyone is on their best behavior.

        Online dating has a reputation for attracting flaky people with a shopping cart mentality. So it’s incumbent on serious participants to prove that’s not the case.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0


        • D. Says:

          While, in general, people who flake on you should be trusted to remain flaky, what this guy did was not flaky.

          He canceled and immediately offered to reschedule. That’s not flaky. Flaky would be if he canceled, and his reason was something like “I forgot I have to work” or “I’m kinda tired.” Flaky and disinterested would be if he canceled and didn’t suggest any rescheduling at all.

          Canceling and offering to reschedule for a different night isn’t really flaky and shows that the guy is interested. But I mean, hey, if your “rules” are working for you, godspeed, I guess. Just recognize that you’re probably also weeding out some non-flaky people alongside the flakes, and if they’re offering to reschedule, some people who are actually interested in you. If anything, I’d say writing someone off merely because they cancel, even if they offer to reschedule with a specific day demonstrates that you were the one who wasn’t really interested.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5


  2. Yvonne Says:

    Well, maybe he did get sick. I think the fact that he tried to reschedule does show interest. I’m not sure I agree that holding out usually backfires. Sometimes it gives you a chance to get to know each other and build trust. You can’t do that after just one date.

    The missing component for me is not simply whether or not the guy just wants sex, but rather, are you ready to have sex with him? If you’re not, don’t go over to his house alone yet. See him in public another time, or however long it takes until you do feel ready.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0


    • D. Says:

      It backfires in the sense that it only weeds out the guys who “just” want sex.

      All guys want sex. Some guys want sex and more.

      Holding out on sex as a method of testing the guy’s level of interest is unreliable at best for four basic reasons:

      1. Some guys — the guys who want sex AND more — will lose interest because it will seem as if the woman isn’t interested in them. Basically, if she holds out too long (sorry, no industry standard on that), the guy might say “Oh, screw this. She isn’t really into me” and head out. In which case, the holding out will have had the wrong effect and will have driven away a guy who was otherwise genuinely interested.

      2. Similar to #1, some guys will recognize it as just basic gamesmanship, and will lose interest solely because of that. Here’s a tip: guys don’t really like being “tested.” If a guy figures out that you’re “testing” him, he may lose interest because he doesn’t want to deal with a woman who plays games. Even if she might otherwise seem interested, the guy may figure this indicates someone insecure, immature, or just someone who’ll be a pain in the ass later. It’s basically telling a guy “Prove you really like me by doing XYZ.” Which, the guy knows full well, would NOT be well received if he were to turn it around on her. I mean, imagine how you’d feel if a guy said “Prove you really like me” to you, right?

      3. Sexual compatibility is a big, big part of a successful relationship. If you aren’t compatible sexually, your relationship is on extremely shaky ground, and probably doomed. So it’s reasonable to treat sex early on as just part of the overall determination of compatibility, rather than as the cloistered prize at the end of the “proving your good intentions” quest.

      4. In some rare instances, this effort can actually cross a guy’s wires to the point where he “gives things a chance” mostly out of a desire to sleep with you, only to realize after the deed is done that…oh…right…he really was only into you for the sex. Oops. I mean, it’s not as if every guy goes into every situation thinking “I’m just gonna bang this girl and move on.” Sometimes a guy may end up being more interested in a woman than he might otherwise be, because of the withheld sex. In which case, this method won’t even have accomplished it’s goal.

      Personally, I tend to think that at least some part of this is less about controlling the guy’s response, and much, much more about the woman’s own sense of whether she’s “slutty” or “a good girl” or whatever. There are some times when it is blatantly obvious that both parties want to have sex in the moment. Like, really, really badly. It’s not even a question. But the woman pulls back because “It’s too soon” or something. If this is about protecting her feelings from being hurt, hey, that’s totally valid. Especially if she’s tried casual sex before and felt lousy afterwards. But if it’s more about “I don’t want to feel slutty” well…don’t! Just go enjoy yourself and tell anyone who suggests you’re a slut to go fuck themselves. Including that self-shaming voice in the back of your head (if it exists).

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2


      • Yvonne Says:

        I’m not talking so much about “holding out”, if that is what you want to call it, as I am saying that a woman should have sex when and if she feels comfortable. If that is early on, that’s fine, if it’s later, that is ok too. It has nothing to do with controlling the outcome of a relationship. Waiting to have sex won’t necessarily make a man any more – or less – likely to commit.

        The OP was questioning her date’s intentions, but I’m saying she should also be focusing on what makes her comfortable. If she needs more information, she should wait until she has a better sense of where he’s coming from.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1


        • D. Says:

          I absolutely agree that people should have sex when they’re ready for it, and should be abundantly clear with themselves about when that really is and why they choose to do it or not. If your reason for not having sex is that you worry you’ll get hurt if things don’t turn out a particular way, hey, that’s cool. If your reason for not having sex is because you don’t want to feel a particular way about yourself (e.g., you think having sex at this point would make you feel “slutty”), definitely don’t have sex.

          My point was responding more to your statement about how you weren’t sure that holding out backfires. I interpreted what you were saying to be “I’m not sure holding out to ensure a guy likes you backfires.” I was trying to illustrate reasons why it does backfire — at least as a strategy to control the outcome/weed out the “just wants sex” guys.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2


          • Yvonne Says:

            A man can always change his mind about you, but I do think that spending some time getting to know someone gives you more information about their intentions than does having sex with someone you barely know. It also gives you more information about whether or not you actually like the other person, beyond physical attraction.

            Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0


  3. Selena Says:

    From the letter:
    “However when we agreed on a second date he asked if I was working the following day – and I said yes.”

    I think that is an odd thing to ask when setting up a second date. And yeah, I’d think he was asking thinking about the possibility you might “stay over”.

    “Everything seemed fine until the day of the date and he got ill and cancelled last minute and tried to reschedule for the weekend.”

    No way of knowing if he was actually ill, or if something better presented “at the last minute”.

    If you think he’s worth getting to know better, go ahead and go out with him. If you are getting a general bad vibe about him, go with your gut and pass on him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2


  4. Mandy Says:

    If you don’t want to have sex with someone, don’t go to their house alone. And maybe also try to schedule dates that aren’t just getting drinks late at night.

    Who knows if ALL he wants is sex, but if you agree to a date at his house and/or just drinks late at night, he’s probably thinking you want sex.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1


  5. BRM Says:

    I’ve been dating a lady who we both knew there were sparks on the first date, but we had Sex after about two months and 8+ dates. I would have liked her as a person as much if we jumped into the sack on date 2. She’s a single mom of two and has cancelled many dates for many reasons, but she’s really busy and always offers a reschedule. I think if things are going to evolve past a few dates and sex, it will happen organically and there’s no need to work so hard. Over thinking things probably won’t change the ultimate outcome. With that said any long lasting romance needs a heathy sex life and mutual respect to survive, after that some equity financiallly and in the other areas of giving play a part to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0


  6. EM Says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for years. Rarely do I comment, but this…this is everything. Needed to hear this. 33 and still feel like a late bloomer sometimes.

    You need to stop placing so much importance on sex and what it means and doesn’t mean. Sex doesn’t truly mean something until you and your partner have developed a significant trust anyway, so the sex you have early in a relationship is more about pleasure determining compatibility than anything else. When deep feelings develop and you’re out of that early-stage sex haze THEN the sex means something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0


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