For context, I wrote a shorter version of the below in response to this (worth a read, as well as the rest of her stuff).
There are few more gender-divisive topics than that of The Old In-Out. I therefore write the following fully aware of the risk I may be taking – of opening myself up to the wrath of any women scorned.
So in order to keep the AWOT wolves from the door, I’ll earn my right to comment on this topic. At the ripe (don’t-you-dare-say-it) age of 26, I have experienced nigh-on every point along the ‘waiting’ sliding scale. I have also had more than my fair share of sexual experiences and partners. One night stands, first date flings, friend-with-benefits, first-base ‘things’… hell, I’ve even found time to fall in love a couple of times. The outstanding common bedroom theme? Freedom, to do only what both of us were comfortable with at that moment in time.
There should not be a hard and fast “rule” governing when to jump into bed, the point being that readiness to put out means different things to different people at different times. There should be no shame and no steadfast time-limit constraining sex if both parties are sure, and if both are careful – careful with their choice of partner, situation, and contraception. Done well, knocking boots is healthy, fun, and gives a buzz greater than many more dangerous pursuits. Not every liaison need lead to a long-term relationship, sometimes that feeling of intimacy is the goal. And there is nothing wrong with that, for men or women. Curious experimentation is a wonderful thing if stopped short of recklessness, in any walk of life. But despite knowing this, many are shamed into waiting for waiting’s sake, putting more pressure on themselves further down the line – I don’t think it’s too much of a generalisation to say that it’s the girls who feel this pressure to wait, with boys feeling equal pressure not to. Having sex is one of the most personal choices in a person’s life. Nobody else has a say in it if ownership of that choice is taken.
One apparent external factor is the mistaken fear that timing is important to the long term. Come off it kids, unlike going to Homebase, getting to home base too early or too late can not on its own kill a relationship, even if long term is the endgame. With the right person, the timing of going to the next level is irrelevant when the nature of that change is right: mutual, responsible and with care for the other’s feelings – in deciding together, you’ll almost certainly grow closer as a couple. I’ve never experienced, nor have I seen, a solid relationship break down solely because the couple jumped the gun by jumping in the sack, or wither away because one half wouldn’t put out. There are always bigger problems. But sex (or lack of it) is the easiest to blame.
Intimacy is at its very best when both parties are completely comfortable with and aware of the situation. When there is no pressure to say yes to every desire, but you both do because if feels right for that very moment. That moment could be half-way through the first date, or 6 months into a relationship. Which is why, when asked recently at the end of a second date whether I wanted to go all the way, my response was honest – yes, of course, but only if the feeling is mutual. I fancied the pants off her, had felt an immediate connection and felt immensely comfortable with her… my answer was obvious. Those feelings would not disappear if she said no because she wasn’t ready. As it turned out, it wasn’t right for her at that time, the resulting notch being one to the anticipation, not to my bedpost. In every way, waiting was the right decision – not because it was “only our second date”, but because it wasn’t the right time.
Conversely, one of the worst situations from a male point of view is feeling like your partner is in bed with you out of pressure not to be ‘boring’, or out of a sense of some strange, timely duty, as opposed to actually wanting to sleep with you. It’s a situation caused solely by neither party being open about what they want. That amount of openness might seem scary, especially if it’s early on. But however short a time you’ve known them for, if you can’t talk about sex with your partner, you shouldn’t be having it either.
My attitude is, if it feels right, do it. Responsibly, considerately, and openly. If it works for me, it can work for just about anyone.
Jack is a boy. But he’s quite nice, so we’ll let that slide. He writes a wonderful blog about London life (check out The London Lad here) and can often be found in cocktail bars, violently defending his right to both be a straight man and drink daiquiris (though this does not include raspberry daiquiris*). You can find Jack propped up somewhere in SW6, on Twitter, or stealing salad from the giant conglomerate where he works. Hero.