How long should I wait before sleeping with someone I’m dating?
This question has a wide variety of answers that range from “it doesn’t matter” to “90 days” all the way to “after marriage” (that is, if it’s legal in your state). As common as this question is, the over-abundance of answers leaves most people completely perplexed, not knowing what to do. Confusion and frustration aside, the timing of sex is very important to successful dating.
Unfortunately, there are people in the dating world who have less than good intentions; predators, if you will. These folks might say their looking for a relationship, but in reality they are looking to get something you’ve got. This can range from money, gifts, to even a free meal. The worst case scenario are those who prey on your feelings, pretending to be emotionally invested, only to draw you into the bedroom for sex. You may be falling for this person and sadly find later that you’re just another notch on that person’s bedpost.
While researching the issue, the best advice I found didn’t come from a doctor or sex therapist or even Steve Harvey. It was reformed pick-up artist, Neil Strauss, whose book Rules of the Game inspired the answer. No one gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual or transgender should have sex with someone until they receive the most valuable gift one can give: Respect. Here are some ways you can gauge if the person you are dating has respect for you.

Values your time - Is your date always late? Are you always on his or her schedule?
Values your opinion - While in conversation, does your friend honor your point of view or are they always right? Does your date come to you with important decisions or ask your advice?
Responsive - Does your friend return your phone calls, texts or e-mails in a timely manner?
Attentive - When you’re out, is your date constantly texting or taking calls? Are they letting you get a word in edgewise? Are you their main concern or are their eyes wandering?
Upfront with feelings/Communicative - Does your friend willingly and comfortably let you know how he or she feels about you, where your relationship is going and what they ultimately want?
Concerned about your Safety & Welfare - They say chivalry is dead, but if your date walks you to your car, waits until you’ve gotten inside before driving off, or calls to see you’ve made it home safely, that one might be a keeper!

Now, if you’re constantly finding you are being disrespected, you may have to look within. Are you being the type of person that people want to respect? People generally respect those who are honest, open, have a positive attitudes, who stand up for themselves and who respect themselves and others. Being shady, catty or overly flirtatious is not going to get you very far in the dating arena.
As author of the Playa Hater List, which helps people avoid gold diggers and pick up artists, and the Hip Hop Dating Codes, which teaches you how to date effectively, I teach two main rules of thumb to protect you and the person you’re dating: No sex on the first date and define the relationship before hitting the sheets. When you know more about the type of person you’re dealing with, clearly define the relationship with your partner. Is the relationship intimate, boyfriend/girlfriend or NSA--No Strings Attached? Players don’t like clarity. Leaving it vague gives them an easy out after sleeping with someone, so it could be a red flag if they resist “labeling” the relationship. And what if you’re the one who wants to keep it casual? You still need to spell that out to your partner.
Does this mean you can’t have sex on the first date? By all means, do what your heart feels, but there are a few things to be aware of: STDs, and if you’re bisexual, pregnancy. Many sexually transmitted infections and diseases have no symptoms right away. Merely looking at your partner is not an effective method of gauging one’s health. In recent studies, 46% of African American men who have sex with men tested HIV-positive and 48% of African American women tested have herpes. Basically, your chances of running into an STD, regardless of gender or orientation, is about 50/50. Those are pretty high odds so be sure to always use condoms or dental dams when with an unknown partner.
Keep in mind that some people who are HIV-positive disclose their status up front while others wait until they feel more comfortable with their dates. Letting your hormones take control could get you in a situation you didn’t want to be in whether your are negative or positive. Even some poz people may not want to be exposed to other strains of the HIV virus. In addition, it’s even more important for HIV-positive people to steer clear of STDs. So no matter who you’re sleeping with, ask the right questions and protect yourself.
Also remember, is VERY risky to spend the night with someone you just met, and the old saying “hindsight is 20-20” definitely applies. Hooking up with people off the internet, and in cruising parks has become more dangerous than ever before and it’s not just the health risks. There have been more murders and robberies related to hookups originating on sex sites and in cruise parks than ever before. Criminals have begun using these venues, setting up unwitting victims. So, if this is your thing, be sure to send the hookup’s information to friend and don’t cruise alone. It could save your life.
When on vacation, spring break and at LGBT events and trips, heightened endorphins can cloud our judgment--so don’t just blame it on the alcohol. Giving yourself an extra day to experience the person when their “mojo” is off may allow you to pick up on things, positive or negative, that can assist in your decision to have sex. Let your body and mind get back to normal so you can better assess if and when to have sex with someone, especially if you’ve been drinking. Instead, spend your first night meditating on what you’ve learned about that person and if you both are on the same page.
So now you’ve decided to wait to sex your date but you’re finding it difficult to resist your new boo. Try changing your dating times and location--dating doesn’t have to be at night. Trade in that dark, romantic restaurant for afternoon activities like street fairs, matinees and picnics. Also, avoid the “home date.” These days, folks are opting out of spending lots of money on wining and dining, but raging hormones, privacy and a nearby bedroom make for a bad mix when trying to resist sexual temptation. Avoiding the home date may save you plenty of heartache.
Sex is a very important part of bonding in relationships. It is vital not to take it for granted, or to think that sex is just a physical activity. We humans are not only physical beings, we have spirits as well. No matter what your religion or culture is, if you don’t respect the act of sex, you risk learning the power of spiritual connection--catching feelings--the hard way. You can also end up in a relationship with someone who whipped you sexually but abuses you emotionally. People who underestimate the act of sex often find themselves in these type of imbalanced relationships. So have safe sex and smart sex.

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