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Relationships Sundays

Sexual Preferences

Why You Might Want to Wait to Have Sex

Casual dating is becoming more and more socially acceptable. The idea of hookups, "friends with benefits," or relatively meaningless sex is something that the world is starting to become okay with. But interestingly enough, the other end of the spectrum isn't necessarily the most socially accepted idea either.


Waiting to have sex with a partner is a mock-able offense to many, and to others, it simply doesn't make sense. Now, the choices you make with your body are your own - but consider the very real reasons why you might want to wait a while to have sex with someone - 


Attraction is great. And if all you're looking for is a good time, this probably isn't relevant. But if your goal in dating is to find a long-term, committed partner, you should be aware that sexual chemistry covers a multitude of red flags. Good sex can make you miss a lot of things that might otherwise be cause for concern. Waiting to sleep together can give you both a chance to really get to know each other and see if your relationship has the legs to stand up.


Anticipation is not a bad thing... and just because you're not having sex doesn't mean you're not interacting in physical ways. You can use this time to play around, experiment, and simply enjoy each other while building some excitement for when the time is right. 


Finally, the idea that waiting is better is actually substantiated by a lot of research. Many studies have found that couples who waited to sleep together until they had made a more serious time investment and commitment were happier and had more satisfying sex lives in the long run.


Your choices are 100% yours. But don't be afraid to explore all options for your sex life, even if they're unconventional. Saying "no" isn't weak or soft or bad in the same way that saying "yes" isn't weak or devaluing.

Recommended Book

Celibacy, Culture, and Society

May 16, 2022
ISBN: 9780299171643

Interesting Fact #1

Contrary to the general idea that premarital sex is more common now than it used to be, research has shown that even since the 1940s, almost all Americans had intercourse before marriage.


Interesting Fact #2

Couples who waited to have sex until marriage rated the quality of their sex as 15% higher than those who'd had premarital sex, and their overall relationships as 22% more stable.


Interesting Fact #3

Couples who waited longer to have sex in their relationship, but don't wait until marriage, experience approximately 50% of the benefits shown in research of couples who waited until their wedding.


Quote of the day

If a couple waits to have sex, then sex often occurs after the couple has established an emotional connection. Sex is not happening for the physical pleasure alone, but is occurring because two people feel close to one another and want to deepen their bond and commitment. Sex is more satisfying when there is an emotional and physical connection present in the experience.

- Rhonda Milrad

Article of the day - 9 reasons why waiting to have sex may be the best thing you do for your relationship

There are a lot of decisions you have to make when getting into a new relationship with someone: when to meet each other's families and friends, how often you should see each other, and when you should have sex for the first time

Every relationship moves at its own pace, and the most optimal time you should have sex is whenever you're both comfortable with it. But if you're stressing out about wanting to wait for a little into your relationship in order to do the deed, you might actually be onto something.

INSIDER spoke to experts about the benfits of waiting a bit to have sex with your partner.

You'll know if you can trust them.

Having sex can put you in a vulnerable position. For many people, waiting to have sex can allow them to see if the person they're about to get into bed with is someone that they can have faith in.

The more you get to know someone, the more you can suss out their character, and try to figure out if they're someone who won't take advantage of you, won't go further than your limits, and will respect you.

"There's less worry that you'll never see the person again, and more comfort that he or she is interested in you as a person," marriage and family therapist Jill Whitney told INSIDER. "You've had time to begin opening up emotionally and found that your partner was kind and un-hurtful — the sort of person you'd feel more comfortable sleeping with." 

You'll have a better idea of what you both like.

Even if you're not having sex with someone, you should feel free to talk about it. The longer you wait to have sex with your partner, the more you can have conversations about your sexual preferences, limits, kinks, and fantasies. 

"You’ll become confident about experimenting with the host of diverse positions and techniques, and when anything doesn’t quite go according to plan you’ll easily shrug it off rather than being impaled with the awkwardness that often comes with first date fumbling," Alex Reddle, chief editor of, told INSIDER. "Once you are completely comfortable with one another, fully appreciative of personality traits and able to anticipate preferences and subtle mood swings, engaging in sex will become way more fulfilling."

Anticipation can make the whole thing sweeter.

Waiting for sex may be difficult at times, but building up the anticipation before going all the way with someone can make it even better. 

When you wait, you build up sexual tension and fantasies, which can make the whole thing way more fun, Whitney said.

"One big loss of moving to sex too quickly is that you don't get the excitement of anticipating it," she told INSIDER. "It can be thrilling to think about what you're going to experience with this person when you're both ready. You can look forward to it, fantasize about it, maybe talk about it — and that's really sexy. The two of you get to savor the messing-around stage and learn each other's body. It's fun."

If you're a person who equates sex with emotion, it will make the experience better for you.

Everyone has a different view of what they get from sex. For some it's just a physical act, but for others, sex can be a powerful and emotional act that can bond you and your partner. 

When you wait to have an emotional connection with that person and then have sex, it can be a way to bring you two even closer. 

"If a couple waits to have sex, then sex often occurs after the couple has established an emotional connection," Rhonda Milrad, social worker and founder of the online relationship community, Relationup, told INSIDER. "Sex is not happening for the physical pleasure alone, but is occurring because two people feel close to one another and want to deepen their bond and commitment. Sex is more satisfying when there is an emotional and physical connection present in the experience."

It gives you both time to get tested.

Even "safe sex" can provide you with some risks. Ideally you and your partner should both have an up-to-date sexually transmitted infections test, but if you haven't, waiting is a great way to give both of you time to get tested.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the way, recommends that every sexually-active person is tested once a year.

This way, you can both know your status going into the relationship and seek treatment if needed.

You can get really good at kissing.

Just because you're waiting to have sex with someone doesn't mean that you can't do other physical acts. Putting off sex with someone can allow you to get really good at kissing, foreplay, and other affectionate acts that people often gloss over while getting to the "main event."

"Intercourse doesn’t have to be the main meal at the banquet of sexual expression, so if you feel you want to wait and explore other aspects of intimacy then we highly recommend it," Steve Burford, founder of Raw Attraction magazine, told INSIDER. "When intercourse does finally feel right, it will be that much richer."

Research shows you might be happier.

While every relationship is different, studies have shown that there may be something to the act of waiting to have sex in a relationship.

2012 study from Cornell University surveyed couples about their relationship happiness, habits, and other intimate questions. Researchers said that participants who waited at least six months to have sex with their partners were actually happier than those who didn't. 

Another study, conducted by Illinois State University communications professor Sandra Metts, found that waiting to have sex until after couples said "I love you" had a positive impact on the relationship. 

There is no magical timetable, but if these studies are to be believed, waiting just a little bit can do some good.

It can help you protect your feelings.

If you're a person who is in touch with their emotions, you might find that sex bonds you quickly with that person. This can be powerful and helpful with the right person, but if you've coupled off with the wrong one, those feelings of attachment can leave you feeling bound to something unhealthy.

"If intercourse happens too early, emotions or feelings of lack of worth can enter into the interaction if one party doesn't feel there is (yet) connection in other areas to support the sexual connection," relationship coach Susan Golicic told INSIDER. "This can then manifest into conflict and closed-off communication which might interfere with the relationship developing further. And that may mean that even though the two were a match, other issues got in the way of them ever determining that."

You can make sure the person does want a relationship.

This will come as a shock to all of you, most likely, but newsflash: people lie and people can change their minds.

If you're a person who only wants to have sex with someone you're in a committed relationship with, the best way to do that is to wait until you feel some commitment from that person first before you take the plunge.

Sometimes, the less kind among us can say one thing in order to get what they want, and their intentions may not be so pure. A real partner will respect your wishes and come to a compromise with you about a time-frame and level of commitment you're both comfortable with.

"By waiting to have sex, you allow yourself the opportunity to decide if someone can truly build a long-term, meaningful connection with you and be a worthy and committed partner," therapist and Three Day Rule matchmaker Christie Tcharkhoutian told INSIDER. "People mistakenly search for love, satisfaction, and security in sex when, in fact, sex should be a natural result of a loving, secure, and satisfying relationship."

Question of the day - How important is physical contact to you?

Sexual Preferences

How important is physical contact to you?