Whether you're new to the dating scene, a regular player, or jumping back
into the game after a long hiatus, the same questions about dating rules apply:
How soon do you lean over for that first kiss? Is it too early for a steamy
make-out session? And last -- but by no means least -- how do you know when the
time is right for sex?
"There's really no formula that I've encountered," says 28-year-old Andrew
Reymer, a single resident of Baltimore, Maryland. "It depends on how rapidly or
slowly things progress."
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Joan Allen, a relationship expert, finds that baby boomers are far more
likely to wait to have sex than younger daters.
"Especially among older people who went through the sexual revolution, with
maturity they realize there are emotional consequences for getting involved in
a sexual relationship," says Allen,
author of Celebrating Single and Getting Love Right: From Stalemate to
According to the singles whom Allen has encountered, boomers generally play
by far different dating rules than young, 20-something daters.
"I spoke with a young man in his early to mid-20s who told me that if he
didn't have sex on the first or second night, he'd move on to the next person,"
While you can't apply a one-size-fits-all response to sexual dating rules
regardless of age or experience, professionals who have studied the topic say
it is a good idea to develop a set of prudent dating rules - before the big
Dating Rules: Why Wait?
By and large, Allen and other relationship experts endorse a cautious
approach to the dating rules of sex.
"My advice is this: wait as long as you can," Allen says.
Her rationale for these dating rules may seem obvious, but many people tend
to forget in the heat of the moment. "You might find that you don't even like
the person," Allen tells WebMD.
Other experts agree that sex too-soon can lead to undesirable
"It becomes much more difficult to objectively see each other's character
traits" says Susanne Alexander, a relationship coach and author of Can We
Dance? Learning the Steps for a Fulfilling Relationship. "Some couples then
slide into engagement and marriage only to discover they
have missed seeing major aspects of each other."
Dating Rules: Talk First, Act Later
While not every dating scenario that involves sex leads to marriage or even
a serious relationship, couples do owe it to themselves to talk about where
they see their relationship going and how sex might change the relationship --
before they get in bed together.
"There needs to be a conversation up front. The woman may assume sex implies
a commitment; the man may not see it that way," Allen tells WebMD.