How Do I Let a Guy Know I’m Interested if I Don’t Kiss Until The 3rd Date?

How Do I Let a Guy Know I’m Interested if I Don’t Kiss Until The 3rd Date

I’m an attractive young woman (26) who is not super experienced with dating. I’ve been doing online dating and it’s been going pretty well and I’ve met some great guys. The problem I’m coming across is that they try to move really fast physically. I can’t blame or judge them, they’re guys and they’re different. The problem is I don’t know how to let them know I may not want to kiss until the 3rd or 4th date to feel comfortable and enjoy it. I’ll never be a first date kisser or even second date kisser and I think that’s perfectly reasonable especially if it’s a stranger I meet online. I could maybe get through it on the 2nd date but I’m still learning more about them and I don’t want to think of a kiss as “getting through it”.

How do I navigate this without pursuing a guy but letting him know I’m interested? I’m a slower mover and just because I don’t kiss on date one and have sex on date 5-6 doesn’t mean I’m not interested in them or that I’m a prude.

How do I date without giving in to their timeline and letting them make all the decisions on timing with the physical? I don’t judge them for wanting to move really fast so I don’t want them to judge me for needing some sort of emotional connection or a bit more time to feel excited and enjoy it. I know I’m a minority but I feel like I [we] need some advice.



Nick is a modern man who considers himself highly evolved. He thinks that women are equal to (and often greater than) men. And since he is bright and analytical — the kind of guy who questions things — it’s occurred to him that the old tradition of men paying for women on dates just seems so…anachronistic. Unfair. Silly, even. Nick’s concluded that the kind of woman he’s looking for is the one who doesn’t expect men to have to call and plan and pay for first dates. He’s looking for an equal, and an equal would have no problem with this obviously fair arrangement.

Nick wonders why he doesn’t get any second dates.

After all, he’s a great guy — honest, ethical, creative, and yes, even GENEROUS — once he feels a woman has earned the right to be the recipient of his generosity.

What would you tell Nick to do?

He could stick with the way he’s doing things. That’s what he feels is right. That’s what he’s comfortable with. He’s just not getting the response from women that he’d like.

On the other hand, he could adjust and pick up the check because it’s far more effective in making a good first impression.

Life is but a big Venn Diagram. There’s what you want. There’s what he wants.

Your situation really isn’t that different, Brooke.

Life is but a big Venn Diagram.

There’s what you want. There’s what he wants. The point on the graph where your two circles overlap is your relationship. The more overlap you have, the healthier the relationship. The more people you overlap with, the easier it will be to find a relationship.

I’m a Jewish atheist. If I made “Jewish atheist” a requirement for marriage, I would have restricted my search to .2% of the American population. And that’s before factoring in things like looks, personality, intelligence, kindness, emotional availability, common goals, etc.

I chose to open up. It’s not that it’s impossible to find people like me. There are just a lot fewer than I’d like. My “compromise” was marrying an attractive, cool, funny, smart, generous, kind, easygoing Catholic woman – and it’s a choice that makes me happy every single day.

You don’t want to compromise in this situation. You want men to compromise on your behalf.

You’re not giving men what they want. You’re doing what you want.

Unfortunately, that’s not how things work.

In any situation, you have two choices:

Do what you’re doing. Do something different.

You wrote to me because you “think it’s perfectly reasonable” to delay kissing until the third date, you don’t want to “give into their timeline” and insist that you’re not a prude.

Fine by me. No judgment here. You are not obliged to change one bit.

The problem is that your way isn’t working. You’re not happy with the results. So you turn to me for — what, exactly?

Permission to continue to do what you’re doing? Advice on how to make it work better? A script for how to explain your stance to men without sounding too uptight or awkward?

Honestly, I don’t get it.

You are not “wrong” for needing more time and connection before kissing.

You are wrong if you think that most men will be fine getting a speech and a hug when they’re going in for the kiss.

In short, Brooke, you’re not giving men what they want. You’re doing what you want.

That’s okay, but, from here, you’re no different than Nick, another wonderful person who remains shocked that women don’t respond to him, but refuses to compromise on his stance.

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  1. 61

    The more I think about this, the more I think that is an issue of imbalance in intimacy. I think women are not wanting to offer  a greater level of physical intimacy than the level of emotional intimacy offered by her date.

    Now, I can see why it wouldn’t be an issue for Evan, as a man. Women tend to be more emotionally open than men in general.  If the woman on the date is already offering emotional intimacy, then the man would not have any difficulty opening up to physical intimacy, because he’s simply rising to the emotional level already offered by his date. In that instance, the level of emotional intimacy would match the level of physical intimacy for the man. Because of this balance, it would feel ‘natural’ and ‘right’. When the woman doesn’t open up emotionally, men tend to notice it, but label it ‘she just wasn’t into me’ and mentally consigns his date to a ‘physical only’ category. Depending on the man, he might still get physical, but with the internal knowledge that it is only the physical.

    For women, that would not tend to be true. If the woman offers emotional intimacy, but the man does not open up to emotional intimacy, the woman would have to not offer physical intimacy in order to keep the intimacy balanced. Now, I don’t think this is in any way intentional.  I think most women intuitively feel this balance but have difficulty explaining it. Many women might say, ‘it felt like they were giving more than they were getting back’.

    What is awesome about this that 1) the woman has a sense of why she’s doing what she’s doing; and 2) it points to a solution – for women to actively request more emotional intimacy from their dates. This is an ACTIVE solution, for women to specifically and intentionally ask questions of emotional depth, for the women to be vulnerable herself so that it opens the door for her date to do the same; 3)if the woman is not getting this from her dates, allows the lady in question to be more accountable for her part of why that is not happening.

  2. 62

    I don’t have an exact answer, I just wanted to add my voice here and say that I too often don’t want to kiss before a second or third date.

    That’s not to say I haven’t ‘gone with the flow’ before, but it has never worked out for me. No matter how much I like someone and think we’re compatible, if I force myself to kiss, or do anything else before I’m ready, I ultimately end up dumping/running (if they don’t first) because it ruins any intimacy I could build with that person.

    Now, maybe there’s something else I’m doing wrong, but after 4+ years of dating I definitely have noticed a trend. Like Brooke and Evan suggest, if you reject a guy’s advances, no matter how warmly, they will usually not come back. I would like to add though, that accepting a guy’s advances before you are ready results in a power imbalance, unconscious feelings of being uncomfortable, and I don’t think you can build a lasting relationship from that. Nor  can you simply ‘change how you feel.’

    I am lucky enough to be dating someone who waited till the fourth date to kiss me, and by that stage I was kind of wordering why he hadn’t! I stuck around because I liked him enough to wait, and he gave me the general feeling that he liked me.

    In this case acting how Callie suggested would work, but I probably wouldn’t mention kissing to a date, as it will make them overanalyse and kill the mood/suspense.

    Very few guys will be patient enough to ‘feel it out’ and wait until he thinks you’re ready. The right one for you will.

    I wouldn’t force yourself to accept a kiss if you really didn’t want to, though if you’re on the fence I’d advise going with it. It  might take you a long time to find someone right, but that’s okay. Keep your head up and keep at it!

    P.S. Reading into the term ‘Demisexual’ may be interesting for you.

  3. 63

    Evan, thank you for this blog. I came here looking for the answer if I should kiss on the first date. The guy I am talking with made it extremely clear he really desires to kiss me. I want to kiss him too but I don’t want to move to fast. Like Calle suggested I told him I find him extremely attractive and I want to kiss him, I just want to get to know him first.   He came back saying he respected that but he really really desires to kiss me and he doesn’t know how he is going to hold back.

    Like Brooke, I would like to wait and really get to know him first but I already feel like I know him through our texting.   So after reading your advice, this man is definitely going to get his wishes! I will give him a very soft and sensuous tender long kiss. 🙂   Thanks for the advise!

    1. 63.1

      UPDATE… i went on my first date with him last night and he was totally different from what I imagined. My first impression was not a good one. But as the night went on I could see how he was such a tender, loving caring man, hiding behind a guarded exterior.   If I hadn’t read this article I would have declined that first kiss.   I don’t want to lead him on, but again I really liked who he was inside. I kissed him out of respect and appreciation.   He wanted to kiss more but I gently pulled away and smiled.    Because of Evans articles I am not turning him away based on my first impression.   I can see him being a really loving and caring partner who can make me feel like a treasured woman.   I will take it slow and see how it goes.

      1. 63.1.1
        Emily, the original


        My first impression was not a good one. … I kissed him out of respect and appreciation.

        I think the advice is that you shouldn’t hold out for lightning-bolt chemistry but that there should be SOME chemistry.

  4. 64

    In general terms, if she’s applying “no kissing before date #3” and your rule is “kissing by date #2 or sayonara”, the gap is not that hard to bridge.

    EMK mentions the vagaries of announcing the reticence on the spot and the “let down” feeling a guy might experience. True, a brush-off / avoidant maneuver when attempting to kiss tends to dampen our male enthusiasm.

    However, on the basis of a search for LTR material, as opposed to a quick roll in the hay,  I find no hurdles with disclosure before the fact. The OP likely will never read this, but at the phone exchange time (and that SHOULD really happen before the date), you know if there  are grounds to pursue to face to face, and this is where openness can resolve the problem. A good-natured “I need to mention something important… I am rather inhibited or… slow in the physical contact department. If this leads somewhere, we would date again, and, well, I just wanted you to know that!” gives the guy the time of day.

    The caveat  rests in the inherent barrier implied by  such disclosure: it may require more self-assurance than the OP can muster.  But such communication does adequately buffer expectations.

    My usual rule would be to NEXT a woman if there is no kissing by date #2 (where kissing is not here used as euphemism).  A clear statement of “this is the way I am” may  grant a rreprieve (lol) if the lady is pleasant, there is connection and I can see a future.

    However, while I quickly scanned the contents of most messages (w/o reading in exacting detail), something struck me as odd, and it may be due to my age / environment / experience. Nobody mentioned how later dating experiences compare to earlier ones.
    In high-school or college,  in most cases, we would ask out and date a girl / young woman we’ve known / met / been introduced to, and that would imply both knowing the person and having shared environment and experience. The previous  reflects coed institutions.
    Single gender private schools may have largely disappeared. Back in the day, we would meet mostly at offsite events (not the school), where the genders crossed paths. Danced. Slow danced. Talked. Kissed. Kissed some more. Those slow dances were conducive to closeness and kissing. Got a phone number. With luck, by evening’s end, you had a girlfriend.

    Maybe we went to those parties to rejoin a group of friends, or by one’s self, or with a date. Private parties, dance halls, church basements, and even in some coed schools.No chaperons were involved.
    Simpler times? Girls didn’t run a gauntlet of guys doing this. Nor did guys run numbers. As we aged and pulled away from an enviable system, we then moved on to the club scene, and that was a whole different can of worms.
    I always wondered how things got so convolutedly more complex.

  5. 65

      I’m the same way. And I’m going to have to disagree with the answer here. I have been in some successful relationships. None of these guys were guys that I kissed early on. My last long-term relationship we didn’t even kiss until probably four months in. The one before that was probably 3 months in. I just don’t kiss until I feel comfortable. They don’t like that then they’re not the right guy for me. Believe it or not there are guys out there that will wait because they like you as a human being not just as a toy. I’m very upfront from day one though that I’m looking to develop friendship first and then possibly something beyond that. It’s a great way to eliminate people who are just using you for sex. I also tell people from day one that I’m demi sexual. Which means that I can only be attracted to people that I’m in love with. Which is true. So given this I can’t even kiss someone until I’m starting to develop very deep feelings for them. I just can’t do that. Stick to what feels good to you and you’ll find people that will be okay with that.   This boys-will-be-boys bull crap is ridiculous. Don’t ever give away your power and your sexuality if you don’t feel 100% wanting to do it. It’s not comparable to buying a meal for someone. That’s not something that’s going to leave you emotionally damaged or as giving your body to someone who you don’t feel comfortable with is. And kissing someone is the start of that. Set boundaries and feel comfortable with them. If more women would do that men wouldn’t feel like they deserve a kiss or a f*** on the first date. Women need to set better boundaries.   I read a statistic recently that said I think for every casual sexual experience a woman has in a year or suicide risk goes up by 18%. I don’t think the results are the same for every man that buys a woman a meal. My body is not for sale by the way. Neither are my lips. I don’t care if a man buys me a hundred meals I’m under no obligation to give him a kiss

  6. 66

    A man who’s ego is hurt by a rejected kiss isn’t a man I want to marry or be a father of my children. What happens to him when our children get sick or our parents need care? I need someone stronger, with more integrity and character.  Additionally, the fear of rejection should deter him from moving too fast. I’m personally turned off by someone who I barely know wants to kiss me. It’s just gross.  

    1. 66.1
      Yet Another Guy


      It is not about ego. It is about demonstrating desire. A woman who does not at least offer a minimal kiss on the first date is signaling that she does not desire a man physically. It does not matter what she says. The kiss is an area where actions speak louder than words.

      Men and women lead with different types of chemistry.   Men always lead with physical chemistry whereas most women lead with emotional and intellectual chemistry.   Just as most women need to qualify a man emotionally and intellectually before becoming intimate, men need to qualify a woman physically before they will open up emotionally and intellectually (i.e., men look for sex and find love). If neither party is willing budge, we have a stalemate, which usually results in the pursuer breaking pursuit. We are talking about a kiss, not sexual intercourse. A kiss is part of touch, and human beings bond through touch.

  7. 67

    I don’t lip kiss for a few dates, men come back if they like you and had a good time. At the end of the date playfully offer him your cheek, with your hands gently on his waist, then kiss his. Not a peck, a slow soft one. Smile and thank him for the night. Any respectable man who likes you for you doesn’t care if he gets the goodnight kiss or not. I’ve told men straight out that it is intimate for me and they wait up to 6-8 dates.

  8. 68

    Hi Brooke,
    I understand your comment about not feeling comfortable kissing someone you have met online after one or two dates. When you meet someone in day-to-day life, you have time to get to know them slowly and start to like them, and of course you’d feel excited about kissing them then. But kissing someone you’ve only met once or twice can feel like progressing a physical relationship with a stranger before you have developed any emotional connection to them. Even if you’ve had a great first date, you have only met this person once, and it isn’t unreasonable or weird that you may not want to kiss them at that point. Lots of things influence people’s feelings about this and it is fine that everyone is different – the important thing is that you do what is comfortable for you.

    It is an awkward thing to discuss as you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But I think if you are honest, and think of how you’d prefer it to be phrased if a guy was saying the same thing to you, that’s a good place to start. I’ve definitely been in this situation and although it has felt awkward, at some point I try to say that I’d really like to get to know them more, but it takes me a while to feel comfortable with physical things. It has never stopped subsequent dates except once, when the guy was looking for something quite different.

    Evan’s example of the religious differences between himself and his partner suggest that mutual respect for each other’s beliefs are required. I completely agree – you’re not saying you would never kiss a partner, just that you’d like a bit more time to get to know them first. There are plenty of normal, kind, understanding people out there who would respect your feelings. Best of luck.

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