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Dear Evan,

What is a good way to get a guy to back off on the physical stuff when you first start dating? I dress very sexy and have a nice figure, am attractive and feel like guys are always all over me right away to get physical. I feel stupid saying, “it’s only our first date,” and moving their hands because it sounds immature to point out the number of dates, but I don’t know what else to do! I am not a prude by any means, but I usually like to wait until around date 4 to have sex. Also, if I say things like that I dressed as a dominatrix for Halloween and that I sleep naked, is that considered teasing or flirting? I really don’t know. Maybe I mislead guys by talking about these things and that is why they are all over me. Oh, and please don’t tell me to start wearing turtlenecks and khaki pants when I go out because that is not going to happen ;)! Thanks!

Natalie

Dear Natalie,

Let’s see if we can agree on one thing first:

If Britney Spears hates the paparazzi, you certainly can’t blame her. But if she can’t deal with having her every move scrutinized, she shouldn’t have become a celebrity. That’s the unfortunate price of doing business. If she doesn’t like it, she can become a fry cook or a flight attendant or a neurosurgeon. Right?

So if Natalie insists on dressing sexy to show off her nice figure, she can’t be too surprised when men want to get a premature sampling of the merchandise. I’m not saying “you’re asking for it”. I am saying that dressing sexy has that effect on men. If you don’t want to have that effect on men…don’t dress sexy.

Assuming a guy is just putting his arm around you (as opposed to physically assaulting you), this is all pretty normal behavior. And the reason for it is not simply that men are obsessed with sex (which is true), but rather that they’re tantalized by the possibility that they can get it right away. And although you describe yourself as a fourth date girl, every guy knows one thing: Rules are meant to be broken.

Which is why we don’t pay much attention to them. This works both ways. He tells you he’s never getting hitched, but he marries the next woman he dates. She says she never dates short guys, but ends up with a dude who’s 5’6”. For the right person, all bets are off. And nowhere is this more obvious than with sex. No might usually mean no. But it can also mean maybe, and very often, yes.

And when you’re showing off your curves, Natalie, you’re bringing sex to the forefront of men’s minds and giving them the hope that they can convince you to break your rules. Because for every woman who says she never goes home with a guy on the first date, there’s another one who’s waking up next to him the next morning.

If you want to keep better control of your date’s behavior, you need to be a bit more conscientious about how you’re coming across. Listen, I don’t know any guy who isn’t tantalized by a hint of cleavage and the suggestion that there might be some risqué costumes in your closet. But if you find this is consistently putting you in an uncomfortable position, who’s job is it to change tactics? Them? Or you?

I’d say scale it back a little bit. You can look sexy without looking slutty, and you can talk about sex without seeming to come onto them. Just sit on the other side of the table, don’t have too much to drink, and make it clear that you’re interested with your words, not your body.