Is Sex on the Third Date the New Normal?

Is Sex on the Third Date the New Normal?

Evan, to say I’m frustrated with dating right now is an understatement! During the past six months, almost EVERY man I’ve gone out with expects sex by the third date. Seriously! It doesn’t matter if it’s a man I’ve met on an online dating site or if it’s a blind date through a friend. And the ones that don’t expect sex just kind of fade away. I’ve asked these men WHY they expect sex by the third date. Their response is that they have heard that if they don’t get it by the third date, the woman isn’t into them. Of course, I’m not sleeping with them… and they fall off the face of the earth.

I’m so fed up with this! I’m 45 now and I never experienced this type of scenario until just this year. Is this all there is now? Now that I’m older, is this all I can expect from a man at this stage of my life? —Patti

Dear Patti,

You’re certainly not the first to feel this way, my friend.

I’m sorry you’re frustrated, but in my experience as a dating coach, frustration usually results when someone’s expectations are out of line with reality.

The way to mitigate the frustration is not to change reality but to change your expectations.

The first thing you can do is understand that men look for sex and find love. We are driven by attraction and have zero trouble separating the physical act of sex from the feelings of love.

In this case your expectations are that men should not be interested in having sex on the third date.

And reality is showing you that this is something that men are interested in.

What’s a slower-moving, more traditional woman to do?

Well, the first thing you can do is understand that men look for sex and find love. We are driven by attraction and have zero trouble separating the physical act of sex from the feelings of love. We’ll have sex with women we don’t like and women we’re barely attracted to. Especially if we’re lonely and sex-deprived (sex is always much more important when you’re not getting it!)!

I’m not saying you have to like this facet of men, but at least, at this point, you can stop getting surprised or upset at it. It’s like getting angry at rain or nightfall. Your opinions of it don’t matter much; it’s still going to keep on happening.

Next, you have to forgive these men for their ignorance. They know not what they do. Even if you believe their ridiculous statement, “If I don’t have sex by the third date, she’s not into me,” it doesn’t matter. What a man wants is not necessarily to have sex on the third date, but to have some physical contact that may, someday, lead to sex.

Men are like sharks that needs to keep on moving.

What a man wants is not necessarily to have sex on the third date, but to have some physical contact that may, someday, lead to sex.

If he’s been talking to you for a week, plans a date, picks you up, takes you out, grabs the check, drives you home, and is also attracted to you, you can be sure that if he’s at all confident, he’s going to make a first move.

How far he gets is up to you.

Then there’s going to be a second date. Same thing’s gonna happen. You can’t be surprised by this or blame him for this. All you can do is figure out how much you like him, how much you trust him, and how far you want to go. There’s no right or wrong. Your boundaries are your boundaries. You just can’t get too upset when he tries something.

Then there’s a third date. Same thing’s gonna happen. If you want to avoid sexual contact, you can make sure your third date takes place over a picnic in a park, at 5:30 after work, or at a crafts fair, but understand, he’s still driven by his attraction to you. He doesn’t know that he wants you to be his girlfriend yet.

So as I scripted, word by word, in Why He Disappeared, your job is to a) figure out if your man is interested in you or interested in sex, and b) figure out how to make it fun for him to slow down. Sex isn’t all or nothing and as long as you can take him around the bases slowly, you can buy yourself enough time to figure out if you want to be exclusive with each other. Play it right and he’ll stick around.

Make him feel like a sexually perverted sleazebag for making a move on you and you shouldn’t be too surprised if he doesn’t feel good about his prospects on the next date.

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  1. 1

    I have a lot of trouble with this instant-sex expectation, too (my gut reaction is usually more like:   NO, OF COURSE I AM NOT GOING TO GET NAKED WITH YOU, STRANGE PERSON I BARELY KNOW!!   WHY ARE YOU SO CRAZY??), but this was a helpful response.   Thanks.

    1. 1.1

      What so many people seem to miss is what the sexual revolution has done to marriage.   See, when it was not OK to just run around having free sex, women were the gatekeepers of sex.   Men have always been the gatekeepers of marriage.   OK, men want sex, women want marriage.   So since women usually didn’t give up a lot of sex until they were married or in very serious relationships, men were proactive about finding a woman they wanted to marry.   Now, women give it away, so there is no incentive for men to be serious about finding a woman they love enough to marry.   As the old saying goes, why buy the cow when you are getting the milk for free?
      Women could correct this so easily by just refusing to have sex with men without a committed relationship.   Hard to do though, when so many of our sisters fall for the propaganda that somehow regaining our power, plays into the hands of the patriarchy.

      1. 1.1.1

        You make it sound like men are only getting married so they can have sex, and who wants that?

        Women should do whatever makes them feel comfortable and happy. Women enjoy sex too, and not all women are interested in getting married. It’s absurd to expect them to stop having sex just so that a man might become desperate enough to marry you.

      2. 1.1.2

        Good luck. If you don’t put out there’s 200 others that are just a click away and willing to get naked on the first date. With that many options it’s almost guaranteed that the guy will find a better partner for his needs and personality if this is the case.

        1. Ivy

          Any man looking for fast sex one click away on the first date and who isn’t willing to get to know a woman horizontally before vertically isn’t worth dating anyway, and the person he’d find isn’t necessarily better, better how the heck would he know if he just met the woman.

        2. Moonstar

          I agree that there are many women that won’t have a problem satisfying his needs. But if you really like the guy, let him know that you aren’t ready to jump in bed. You want to get to know the real him. Give him the go ahead to date these other women. One of two things will happen he will date them or he won’t. That shows how important sex is to him. This may not be a bad thing, as long as you think he would be faithful when/if your relationship goes that way. He won’t be stressed about not getting any and you get to know the real him. Either way, he is going to remember you for the openness you gave him at the beginning.

        3. Christi

          Wow. You must be a guy! But on the flip side there are many more gentleman out there willing to accept the fact that you’re not ready and willing to wait! Who really wants to sleep with half the world while trying the find the right one?

      3. 1.1.3

        I am as liberal as them come,but JennLee I agree with you and lol is also right.    I don’t necessarily agree that you should wait for marriage, but I do think that women being so free about giving up sex has caused this problem.   I am in my late 30s and as someone who dated back in the 90s and then again now there is a marked difference and it is related to women’s liberatation.    I felt the shift about 10 years ago.    I will say that in the South it is slightly different because the norms there are not as fast moving.   But in the North, particularly where you have educated women who are very much equal to men and feminists (I am one) you will find that men know that they can get sex on the third date and well pretty much the first with almost all women and so they expect it. If you don’t give it up, then they will move onto to someone who will.   See back in the 90s and early 2000s the women who gave it up that early were viewed as slutty and while the men still slept with them they very rarely saw them as relationship material   Now even the good girls give it up early on, and so in order to get into any type of relationship you have to give it up early or you will never move on.   You will be cut in round 1 so to speak.    I don’t blame the guys because they want sex and if it is being offered by great women, why turn it down?   Their way is to have sex now and figure out their feelings later on and many times they do have relationships with these women and they end up marrying them. I am marrying a guy I had sex on the third date with.      But the problem is that women get hurt a lot!      Because you must have sex so early on you get attached, men don’t get attached as easily and you think the relationship is more than it is and when it does not work out you are hurt.   It is a catch 22.    Although Evan says the right good guy will hold out, he has not been out there in the dating scene for 10 years.   I can assure you that those men are very few and far between and even the good guy is going to expect it in a few weeks.    If all women held out or the majority of women did for a month or two, then we all would be in a better situation.      I agree women should be able to enjoy sex like men do, but biologically most of us cannot do it without getting attached to the man, whether all women will admit it or not

        1. Karmic Equation

          “… but biologically most of us cannot do it <have sex> without getting attached to the man, whether all women will admit it or not”

          Women get addicted to the oxytocin rush from sex. But have been socialized to associate  the oxytocin high from sex to the MAN and not to sex.

          When sex is good we want more sex (biogical for both genders). But a woman who wants more sex is considered a slut, whereas a woman who wants sex with the man who gave her the orgasm makes her “womanly” not slutty.

          Thus we women buy into the narrative that we “attach to the man” after sex. We don’t. We attach to the oxytocin high from sex. The man is just the instrument of that high (e.g., like a hookah (sp?)). Do potheads love the paper that the mj is rolled in or do they love the mj or do they just love the high?

        2. Molly

          Try being a 26 year old virgin, not wanting to have sex until marriage, and not realizing that this was the norm, and then a guy gets upset when you don’t put out, gets hurt… he was different and patient but didn’t know that I was a virgin, maybe still doesn’t know. Now he thinks he is inadequate, or something, when really I am waiting. He may never know because when he knew he wouldn’t get further, he didn’t want to talk anymore. The crime is not wanting sex. Shit, I want it. The crime is not wanting to communicate. If a person is an “adult”, it would be great if they would learn to communicate.

        3. Lisa

          Karmic you may be right that women attach to the high of the sex and associate that with the man, not the sex but does that really provide any different results?    The majority of women cannot differentiate between the two in their hearts or minds, so in the end they still get hurt.

          Molly I feel for you.    I am older, so trust me when I tell you that 20 years ago things would have been different for you.   But your description of dating today is spot on.   My best friend is also a virgin and she has an incredibly difficult time dating in today’s world because of it.   She never makes it past the third date.    She has tried being upfront with the men, many say they don’t mind, but eventually they do.      Good luck!

        4. Alice

          I live in the deep south, and i havent noticed this. In fact, on just about every date, the guy wants to have sex on the first date. Ive also had guys i didnt know or barely know try to have sex with me on the spot in various places.

          Thats a big reason why i dont date much. I get tired of being treated like meat. I actually go on dates to date. I go on dating websites to date.

          I can separate sex from emotion just fine, but guys expecting sex so soon has gotten old. The oldet i get the more precious my time becomes the more annoying it is. I have better things to do. I dont need sex the way many men need it.

          Men are making themselves obsolete. They dont give me the opportunity to become attracted to them. If dating is so sexually charged, im only going to date men im instantly attracted to, which is fairly rare.  

      4. 1.1.4

        You are spot on!

        1. Kds


      5. 1.1.5
        Kathleen Baraki

        So well said, that is the problem they are getting it so easy and have no incentive for committment.

      6. 1.1.6

        And yet some women always have men asking them for committed relationships. Its an archaic notion that men will only commit for sex, and if no other women will sleep with him. It’s fear mongering too, saying women better put out or else they’ll be alone forever. Women just need to have more to offer than sex. And not sell themselves short.

      7. 1.1.7

        Utter garbish. Men want to be loved as much as women. Has nothing to do with how many partners you have had. They are either attracted to you or not. If they aren’t stuck be around has nothing to do with sex.

      8. 1.1.8

        I love what you said. I agree makes sense

    2. 1.2

      Incorrect, sex is done when a person in naked, and having sex with someone you seem to like at a third date, is very legitimate and pleasureable

    3. 1.3

      I just love that answer :  NO, OF COURSE I AM NOT GOING TO GET NAKED WITH YOU, STRANGE PERSON I BARELY KNOW!!   WHY ARE YOU SO CRAZY??) . I am having trouble with boundaries too.  Specially when you always see the guy online and then he wants to have sex with you –and probably 10 other people!   WTF!     Glad I am not the only one with this problem.  

      1. 1.3.1

        The world of online options one-click away really screws everything up, not women’s lib. It’s easier to find someone else in 2 seconds for sex only, than to work on boundaries & slow things down with a real person. If a person isn’t looking for longterm, drop them. Self-control & patience are huge virtues to look for in a partner these days! They do exist!!

  2. 2

    Personally, i need to get to know a person before i sleep with him. And that means going out, talking, spending time in his company. That’s how i build my attraction. So, after third date is possible if there is a sense of comfort and the guy is looking for relationship, not a night stand. But in all honesty, i think we women need to be saying “no” more often. If a guy just looks for sex, then things can be discussed honestly and agreed on, but if he actually is interested in you, not just sex, he can CERTAINLY wait. Sex is not gonna run away anywhere…

    1. 2.1

      Disagree. You need to be saying “no” more often. I totally respect that.

      The problem is, and I see it here, people want to put their values onto others. Remember they are YOUR values. Stick to your principles, do what feels right but recruiting other women to do the same is on one hand arbitrary and judgmental and on the other hand just plain silly.

      Make your own choice, be proud of it, and leave “we” women out of it.


      1. 2.1.1

        Disagree. It would clear up so many problems if women would start saying no more often. Also, it is OK to recruit others to your way of thinking. It’s what humans do. Excuse me for pointing out the hypocrisy in your statement but there is and has been for decades, a whole lot of recruiting in the direction of saying yes.

        The simple fact is there are a whole lot of people who prefer monogamy and LTR’s but there are too many parasites. Be honest. Have you ever told a woman, before taking her to bed, that all you wanted from her as sex? Of course you haven’t and if you say you have, I will not believe it. And even if you really did say that, it is only because the woman was making it clear that she wanted sex without a relationship, or you knew that about her by reputation. But the fact is, more often than not, people start having sex when there is no relationship. The women often expect that it is going to lead to one. Most women feel that they have to say yes or the man will never give a relationship a chance. So I say that the advice of Evan is correct. Women who want monogamy and LTRs should be saying no until the man asks for exclusivity.

        1. Jae

          This “Women who want monogamy and LTRs should be saying no until the man asks for exclusivity” is not the same thing as “But in all honesty, i think we women need to be saying “no” more often.”

          You’re saying specifically women who want long term monogamous relationships whereas the original poster is saying ALL women.

          It’s one thing to give advice to a group of women who may be experiencing frustration and another entirely to make a blanket statement about every woman.

        2. Barbara

          Well said Garret!

        3. Brynn Bate

          100% agree with every word you wrote Garret:)I appreciate that you’ve identified & called out “the hypocrisy” & high numbers of parasites.  

    2. 2.2

      Well, maybe it can wait… but, maybe not.   I’m not disagreeing with your premise that a man may wait for sex given the fact that he thinks  the girl seems interested in him.   But, coming from a man’s perspective, sometimes it’s hard to know if a woman will bail on you, or not, after a few dates without having any sex.   To put it another way, I sometimes feel that it is advantageous for me (as a man) to sleep with a woman solely to create an emotional connection in her (towards me) so she will not leave ME!!   This though process is totally counter to what seems to be the norm (or the perceived norm) of the man leaving due to not getting sex…   What do you all  think about dem apples?

      1. 2.2.1

        What I think of dem applies?

        You sound insecure and  manipulative.  
        Insecure because you are afraid that if she doens’t emotionally connect then she will leave you.     Maniuplative because you are using sex and the issue that women emotionally connect by way of  sex hormones to get her to stay with you.            

        1. Eric

          While I wouldn’t say that I am insecure, I would definitely say that I do have a healthy fear of the all-encompassing disqualifying paradigm that most women have ingrained into their psyche (due to various reasons).   Indeed, if you give a woman enough time, they are bound to find some sort of reason to disqualify you (no matter how petty it may seem).   This is unfortunate, but a reality in this day and age (especially in  our hyper-judgemental Western world).   Your comment is proof of that paradigm.
          As far as the manipulative thing goes…   Not sure.   I suppose it could seem like that, but the truth is is that if I’m totally into a girl and I want her to stick around, it’s my job as a man to sexually escalate her early so that commitment is more likely.   It’s not quite unnatural.

      2. 2.2.2
        Prince Max

        Eric, you’re spot on dude. Never listen to women about anything concerning relationships because they contradict themselves so much it’s laughable. The more a woman makes you wait for sex, the more emotionally invested you become – which in itself is a form of manipulation. Say you go on 10 dates, and then she meets someone she thinks is better, or your  teeth/gum ratio just bothers her – now she doesn’t want to see you anymore and you’ve spent time,money, & emotion on her. Now you’ve got you’re dick in your hand AND a broken heart. Besides women are never the person they pretend to be after sex anyway. So in harsh reality she’s making you wait for sex so you become emotionally invested enough not to leave her when she starts acting batshit crazy.

        Having sex connects you to the woman. The quicker the better since she can’t just up and leave for fear of looking like a slut. It’s happened to me and a good number of friends where we’ve been strung along by some dumb woman, who never wanted to have sex with us in the 1st place, but we kept investing with no return. Now on date 2, I start talking about sex being on the horizon with her, so she knows I’m interested in her AND interested in having sex with her. If I come off like a horn-dog, so what. I’d rather know sooner if you see yourself having sex with me. If all guys did this instead of “waiting” like little bitches, the system would change and we’d save ourselves more time and money. Always be respectful though.


        I think it should be a solid dating rule:

        Dates 3 or 4 are for Sex.

        Men: If you’re not having sex by date 4 – block number, delete social media and avoid. No trying to convince her, no friendship. Done

        Women: If you don’t want to have sex with a guy on date 3 or 4, Tell him after date 2 or 3, block number, delete social media, and avoid. No accepting gifts, no friendship. Done

        This will put pressure on women to put out or get out, and stop using men & it will give guys COMPLETE closure on the situation, while letting the woman feel safe and not being stalked or bothered by someone she has no sexual interest in.

        1. Bryan35

          This is totally not true. You, my friend ARE  just looking for sex if you have to have it by the 4th or 5th date and if the sex is the only way you can feel cared about you’re doing the whole dating thing wrong.

          Now where I will agree is that guys   feel loved or like you’re attracted through physical contact. Third or fourth date they may be looking for physical signs that you’re into them.

          If a guy wants to prove he’s not just there for the hope of sex he may actually be uncomfortable making the first serious move like a kiss. Mainly because when men start to get physical early on women assume they just want sex. So your reaction when he does start to get physical (going for a kiss, his arm around you, etc) can’t be surprise or disgust or you WILL lose him.

          I can say all this from a perspective of not expecting sex until marriage. But also knowing that I need some physical signs of attraction by the third date or I will probably think you’re not into me and I just spent $100+ and lot of emotional thoughts of the first 2 dates on someone who isn’t even interested.

        2. Prince Max


          Dude (if you are even a guy) you are dumb. How can you even comment on sex when you’re waiting for marriage to have sex??? I never want to bash anyone for their values, but I never agreed with that concept, it’s outdated and puts a ton of pressure on both parties, not to mention, it makes you look lame. The human race has been having sex without the institution of marriage for thousands of years. Your ancient  ancestors would laugh “Unga Bunga him virgin Unga bunga haha”

          What you don’t understand is sex (even though not a big deal) is the connector between two people. I don’t need sex to feel cared about – but it is a damned good way to show it. I like the girl’s personality, and I find her physically attractive and I want to have sex with her – THE END.

          In reality if you’re dating, you may not even get a 2nd date these days, let alone a 3rd or 5th. This is the real world not high school. YOU MUST MAKE A MOVE TO FIND OUT IF SHE IS SEXUALLY INTERESTED. You can’t go for a kiss on the 2nd date because you may not get one. If she is interested she will accept your advance, if not try again, if no again then you know she doesn’t. Always be respectful and smooth though.

          That’s the part ur missing- the girl must know that you like her and that you’re interested in having sex with her. If not she may friend zone you or string you along, then drop you once you do find the balls to make a move. You’re too concerned about being perceived as a horn-dog. The biggest compliment a man can give a woman is showing her that she is beautiful enough to have sex with. Because if she wasn’t good looking to you, you wouldn’t want to have sex with her.

          The only reason women put off sex is because they don’t want to come off as sluts – so they make all these barriers and psychosexual rules for themselves. Eventually they either turn themselves off and move to another guy or sulk about how they can’t find anyone.

        3. Prince Max

          @ Chelsea

          A WOMAN MUST BE TESTED TO SEE IF SEX IS ON THE HORIZON. It doesn’t have to be that night, or even that week or month… but sooner or later you both are going to have to have sex with each other.   Some women know right away if they see themselves having sex with a guy – others need coaxing – others will know  right off the bat  “NO WAY”.

          Regardless of everything you know or learned – you must be physically attracted enough to your partner to have sex with them. Sure there is a comfort level that must be attained as well. But if you don’t find the guy attractive regardless the comfort level then chances are you won’t be having sex…….

          Your convoluted post is the exact reason women and men can’t see eye to eye, and their so many messed up relationships and lonely souls on both sides.

          The subtext of every date is “do we like each others personality, do we find each other physically attractive, & do I want  you in my  life?(for  X amount of time) SIMPLE. There are some other mitigating factors but those are the pillars.

          You don’t have too talk about sex to show a woman you’re interested in sex…. that’s overt and obtuse…. so you were probably dating guys with little experience or brainwashed by feminist BS that they didn’t want to make a move. Holding her hand while you look her in the eyes and talk about her dreams or fears is fine. A soft kiss on the lower part behind her, or exposed shoulder is fine. Pulling her by her waist close to you works too. Doing all these things while still engaging in talking and keep it light is basically saying “Yeah, we are getting to know each other and I’d like to make love to you as well”

          From what I’ve experienced  some women like spontaneouty, others need to be friends for while to have sex. Others have dragged me off like a cavewoman. Soooo… do you have a guide on how to get a woman comfortable to the point where she wants to have sex? I’d love to read it, especially since I’ve had sex THEN the relationship happens. Never have I ever been someone’s boyfriend (even though I wanted too) and we agree upon a night to make it “official” by having sex.





        4. Joe

          Well said!

  3. 3

    Evan, perhaps you can answer this question you posted yourself, “your job is to a) figure out if your man is interested in you or interested in sex, and b) figure out how to make it fun for him to slow down.”

    most of women have no idea how to figure that out unless   you make a guy wait…

    1. 3.1

      DinaStrange, I’m no expert in dating, but my understanding is that all men are interested in having sex. It’s a hormonal effect that makes us crave for sex. The difference is some men can control their urge for sex more longer than others. There are two ways to know if a man is just interested in sex or also in you as a person.

      1) Just ask him about his intentions directly. Some  of the men I have seen tend to be honest about whether they are simply looking for a hookup, casual dating or a more meaningful relationship. Granted there may be some who’ll lie to get into your pants but it’s certainly worth trying out.

      2) Indulge with him but don’t go for sex at least until 5th or 6th date. Whenever you feel comfortable, hold his hands at every opportunity, kiss him/makeout and don’t wait for him to make a move (it’s the 21st century). Give him a perception that you also would like to have sex but want to get to know him better first. This way he at least knows that you truly are interested in him and neither of you are wasting your time. If he doesn’t run away, try to utilize the time to actually get to know him. Ask him random questions (to test his personality) and definitely try to meet with his friends (our character  tends to show it’s true nature around  the social circle we are part of everyday). But just be careful doing all this too. If say after a while you realize that both of you aren’t compatible with each other, he might not be able to handle rejection well. As much as it hurts me to say, but men sometimes act like complete d****.

      Again I’m no expert in dating and might be wrong in few things I might have said but I have witnessed a lot of these things myself. I  hope that it helps.

  4. 4

    Sex on the third date is way too soon. I usually have my first kiss on the third date! If you are meeting a relative stranger, the first couple dates are merely to get comfortable with one another. I do find it puzzling that so many women here post about this problem, because I’ve never experienced it. I usually wait until the 6th date for below the belt fun/ sex, and the attractive, confident 27-35 year olds I’ve dated have never given me a hard time for it. However, I realized for a host of valid personal reasons I am better off waiting longer, hence why I just had a sixth date with someone that did not result in any nudity, though certainly a lot of fumbling. But I’ve been really affectionate and warm with him so it’s not like I’m coming off as a cold fish or anything. I think that’s the fine line women struggle to walk – seeming attracted to the guy and touchy while also putting off sex til a point she feels comfortable with.

    1. 4.1

      Everyone has different timelines, I’ve learnt that by reading this blog. U’re puzzled by women posting about this problem, because u wait until the 6th date. well i’ve never slept with anyone before 6mths of dating; my recent ex I dated for 8 mths and he proposed w/o us sleeping together. The variance among everyone’s timeline is huge. On the other hand, I’ve usually kissed on the 1st date if it went well; in fact I thought a guy I dated recently didn’t like me cos he didn’t kiss me on the first date, lol. Turned out I was wrong…
      So u can’t tell women that sex on the 3rd date is too soon, cos that’s what works for u; just as I can’t say that sex on the 6th date is too soon. Everyone has to gauge based on the guys they’re dating, how conservative the man/woman is, gut instinct, chemistry etc.   I probably attract more conservative men, so this works for me, and if I slept with guys on the third date it might backfire with those guys. On the other hand, other women who used my timeline might rarely get a 4th date, if she attracts more modernised men. Debating over the best timeline is pointless, apart from Evan’s advice of not before 3 dates, which I think is generally considered solid advice.

  5. 5

    Evan, this is the best comment and advice on the topic ever! SPOT ON on the reality check and on the recommendation!
    As a “slow mover” during the first stage of dating, I’m really passionate about this topic. Sex is the turning point of a new relationship and using this turning point properly leads to valuable information on the level of interest, respect of boundaries, and communication skills of the other party. Going too fast – even if you feel like it – makes you miss great opportunitites to assess what’s on offer and/or build a solid foundation in the relationship.
    After experimenting a lot until finding the ideal balance, I can confirm that Evan’s recommendation as spot on. Yes, you want the man to be attracted to you and try to get close to you. Hey, you want him to be attracted to you and confident enough, right? However it all depends on HOW he tries and how he reacts to your playful statement of your boundaries.
    It’s a very subtle dance that has to be played on those first few dates. Being too soft and you do not honor your boundaries and/or assess their interest and respect. Too rigid and you make them run for the hills. As Evan said, if you play it right with the right man, he’ll stick around. My boyfriend accepted to take it slow with me for the first time of his life (four dates for kissing, well over ten dates for 2nd base, exclusive from the begining), and as he started to experience the benefit of patience despite the pain of waiting, he litteraly thanked me (!) for allowing us to build a real connexion and get to know one another.
    But believe me, he had a great time waiting! And I was obviously well worth his patience : )

  6. 6

    At first, when i saw this, I assumed that the OP was young, so I was surprised that she’s actually 45. I’m a little older, but don’t recall having this problem too often, and I live in a major metro area, so it’s not a particularly conservative place.
    Actually, when I was in my 20s-30s, I’d usually have sex with someone I really liked by the 3rd date. However, I found that it often didn’t lead to a relationship, but did lead to my getting my feelings hurt or realizing that I actually didn’t like the man all that much, but that my judgement had been clouded by the physical attraction. I decided to wait until I knew someone much better. I’d tell a man that I found him attractive, but wanted to take things more slowly, and if he didn’t stick around, I figured that was his problem. I doubt that he would have stayed anyway.
    Plenty of men might have sex by the 3rd date and disappear anyway. When I was dating, I met many men who wanted sex, but didn’t want a relationship. The ability to stick around without sex (although with some fooling around) is actually a good way to tell if a man really likes you. Not only that, it’s a good way to tell if a man is really interested in a relationship. My current BF and I both decided to wait, and it ended up being almost 3 months. Now, almost 7 months in, the sex AND the relationship are both great, so I’m glad we took the time to get to know each other better first.

    1. 6.1
      Some girl

      I wished if I knew that. I blew off my chances with a guy I really liked after having sex with him on the 3rd date. 🙁  

    2. 6.2

      When I was younger I was a little “quicker” with sex BUT these were with guys I knew. They were in my social circle. I knew their friends. I knew where they lived. I had known them socially for a while.

      Having sex with a perfect stranger I meet on the Internet after 3 dates seems highly improbable to me. And kinda creepy and a little scary.

      My last steady guy I knew as a friend (we were introduced by mutual friends) for many months – like 8 months! Honestly, if anybody told me I was going to fall madly in love with that guy when I first met him I would have told them they were insane.

      Then one day a little light went off in my head and I was like “hey – I’m overlooking the obvious here”! It took both of us that long to be comfortable taking that step. We are both grown and I don’t think either of us wanted to get romantic before that point. I cannot say if he was seeing anybody else during those many months. I was not. But when things started happening, it was only when I was ready. He was waiting for a green light from me.

  7. 7

    “And the ones that don’t expect sex just kind of fade away.”
    If both the men who expect sex right away and the ones who don’t stop asking Patti out, then I would bet that she isn’t showing these men that she isn’t interested in them.   She probably just sits there on a date and they have no idea whether she is really interested in them at all.

  8. 8

    Yeah you can make out and fool around on a 3rd date without going all the way, in fact it’ll probably hook him in and make him come back for more.

  9. 9

    Evan, please consider this version instead:
    Well, this is my take as a male reader in his 30”²s who likes to date women in their 30’s: If we as guy do not push for sex by say Date #3—#5, then depending on the woman, she may assume that we aren’t interested and she will end up friend-zoning us. So yes, we tend to push for sex early, often for the reason Evan gave, but also often because that is what many women expect from us. And so we feel that we must do that early on if we want her to keep seeing us.

    Women love sex as much as we do and it’s usually on us to make it happen. And furthermore, if a woman is seeing two guys, one of whom she is sleeping with (due to that guy making a move), she usually will choose the guy she is sleeping with, even if she liked the other guy better.
    So very often, the reason why we push for sex is that we feel we have to if we want to be in a relationship with you. Otherwise you will lose interest/friendzone us, or another guy will sleep with you first and you will end up with him.

    1. 9.1

      @Michael17 – I am not sure who gave you this logic but I can tell you it’s a myth, most assuredly. I am a woman in my 30’s and my friends are in the same age group. I have never met a woman in her 30’s who thinks this way. A man who compliments a little, flirts, and is affectionate and shows interest without “pushing for sex” would absolutely NOT get friend-zoned by a woman who is interested and attracted to him. A mature smart woman in her 30’s does NOT think this way. Now if you do not show a desire for a woman and make no physical attempts even a kiss then a woman will either lose interest assuming that you are not attracted to her, or if she really likes you she will ask you, which is the more mature and relationship ready route to go. Men who push for sex more frequently than not, are only interested in sex, the more patient men wanting to take it slow and get to know a woman in my experience are the men who are interested in a relationship, all of my smart women friends know this.

    2. 9.2

      @Michael17, I wholeheartedly agree with @uigs.   I know guys are afraid of the “friends” zone, which might be equivalent to women being in the “bootycall” zone.   But taking things slow does not put you in the friend zone.   Acting like too much of a girlfriend puts you in the friend zone.   Acting like a horny teenage bore, will get you dismissed.   If you plan dates, pay for them, take the lead, compliment her and are affectionate with her, a woman knows you are sexually into her.   We are not stupid.   But sometimes we do like to milk it.   Since so many guys are charging for sex from date 1, it is nice and refreshing to just enjoy a man who understands the courting process and genuinely enjoys the getting-to-know-you stage.   If you are thinking of us in terms of potential relationship, then taking 2-3mos to get to know us and build some trust will not be a bother to you.   If you have your own rigid timeline, say 3-5 dates, and if she doesn’t give up the goods, she’s not into me, then I make the same argument Evan makes to us women.   Stop with your timeline.   Get to know a girl.   And she doesn’t need to blow you on the 3rd date to know that she’s sexually into you.   Here’s how you might be able to tell if she’s sexually into you:
      – She puts on make up for you when you meet   (I never do this for my guy friends)
      – She wears provocative clothing and heels to meet you
      – She usually lets you pay for the date
      – She cooks you dinner
      – She asks you questions about what you plan for the future.   (b/c she wants to be a part of it)
      – She calls you sweetie, baby, honey, hot stuff, handsome, ect.
      – She compliments you a lot (the way you look, smell, touch her)
      – She laughs at all your jokes (even the stupid ones)
      – She responds quickly and in-kind when you go to hold her hand, or rub her shoulder.
      If a mature, relationship minded, (read:not-so-slutty (no judgment;-)), self possessed woman keeps things slow but is attracted to you, she will still want you regardless if she has other men charging at her for sex.   Women don’t fall for the guy because he’s pushing to knock boots (maybe insecure chicks do – been there!).   Older women can see past the initial overly passionate almost possessive aggressive guy.   If you are dating well under 30yr old women, then maybe your logic is valid.   But NOT one single woman in my circle of friends (35+) thinks like what you’ve described.   You quite possibly need to upgrade to dating grown women with their ish together.   Good luck.

      1. 9.2.1

        I have read a lot of this and let me tell you this, most men today “men” not boys want sex simple fact but also don’t want to lose there chance   by pushing too hard for too much on a third date. The third date gives us a chance to see where we stand with you. I mean no offense to women today but you expect men to woo you which is fine you want a guy to be polite and proper you want them to prove to you that chilvery is not dead but you also want to be empowered, men today have no play book because all women want different things at different times. SO here is an idea if you like a guy great but you need to tell them what you feel comfortable with and when. We are not mind readers we will always go with the standard rules of thumb and if we don’t like your rules we wont stay but it is simple and it works.

      2. 9.2.2

        I was reading your very interesting comment on this dating and sex by the 3rd date. When one is young, teenage or their twenties, I can see how “get to know this girl or woman” can work, and has worked in the past, and wait for such a long time as two to three months. I know because I have done it myself, and, unfortunately, no disrespect to your opinion, based on my own experience, it has been a sure recipe to land on the friend zone, or be taken advantage of by some women. It just does not work.

        Now in my 40’s, and with a bit more experience as to how this whole dating an attractive woman works. We meet, and we can begin to see right there whether there is chemistry among us or not. With mutual attraction, everything can begin to be build upon, but if there is no attraction, it would be unfair to try to fake it just to get dinners, movies, concerts, clothing, jewelery, and a myriad of other things, some men, like myself, give to a woman to show affection, attention to details, chivalry, courtesy and passion. I honestly lost count of how many women have played me like a violin under the “getting to know me better” while indeed they had zero intentions to ever sleeping with me. A couple of them have been so “kind” to actually tell me “you are not my type”, after one month of dating, imagine that.

        Hence, I understand that, in today’s, this era society, dating has changed, and expectations have changed. Thus, having sex in the third to five date is a clear indicator that there is sexual chemistry, sexual compatibility. Neither her nor me have time for childhood games anymore.

        1. JennLee

          Quite the pity party you have going there. On the flip side is a woman who goes ahead and gives the man sex starting from the 3rd to 5th date, and then 6 months later, after many sexual encounters, he decides she is not his type. Or he still refuses to make the relationship an official BF/GF relationship. Really? After 6 months of sleeping with her and he isn’t sure she is even worthy of being his GF?

          Sorry, but a smart woman stops playing by other people’s rules and makes a man wait, and get to know her. If he can’t wait 3 months, he isn’t worth her time. In this day and age, it’s not uncommon for people to have to go without sex for extended periods of time. What if she has a temporary medical condition that makes sex uncomfortable so you will have to go without for a few months. You aren’t a keeper because you have already stated that waiting 3 months is too long.

          What if you marry a woman, and then you get in a car accident because you were a little drunk, and the other person gets killed, or seriously hurt. What if you get sentenced to a year in jail. Is he free to screw other men? After all, she has needs too, right? You aren’t there to fulfill them. She doesn’t have time to wait for you to get out of jail. She needs sex NOW! Right?

          Guys like you are immature. We women are better off with no relationship than to be in one with somebody like you.

          As for your excuse of the friend zone. BS. You can put plenty of sizzle into the relationship without sex being a part of it. Kissing, for instance. We women love to kiss. You won’t die just because your wee-wee doesn’t get to be part of the festivities. Heaven forbid you ever show a woman that you see her as more than just a body to pleasure yourself upon. Maybe try to get to know her mind before having sex with her.

        2. Barbara

          In your defense, yes… there are princesses & players that use men for a free meal or free anything.   If a woman really likes you, they typically know within 4 dates- 1 month and will let you know or she will ask you, “where do you see this going.”. But see, that question we ask, “where do you see this going” can push a guy away or scare him off…so we wait an eternity for the guy to bring it up. It’s all unfair and too difficult.

      3. 9.2.3

        Yesssss,   K! My kind of Lady. We would make great friends. Well said my dear. All this other stuff going on is child’s play.   This BS they talk  about is a total turn off. Women like me aren’t even dating men that I haven’t thoughtfully considered before hand. With social media I have a chance to get a feel for the guy or if I meet him in person I can feel it right on.   If I don’t have the initial attraction: Intellect, charm, humor and a physical attraction then I’m not wasting my time or theirs. I don’t date to be doing something. I take every person serious because my time is precious. (35+)

    3. 9.3

      Can’t we all just save ourselves some trouble and be up-front and honest about our sexual needs and desires and our feelings? Can’t you just say “I really like you and I’d like to keep seeing you. How do you feel?” instead of trying to pressure someone to have sex? I’d much rather have an open conversation about it than end up fighting because he doesn’t want to be “friend-zoned” and I don’t want to be treated like a sex object. I could be more understanding if a man told me what he was feeling instead of just pawing at me and then getting angry when it doesn’t achieve the desired result. Plus, if a guy knows why I want to wait, he’ll either be understanding and respectful, or he’ll leave and either way, that’s fine. If a fella can’t handle not having sex for a while in a relationship, I’m not the girl for him anyway and we might as well both know it from the very beginning.

      1. 9.3.1

        Many guys will just have sex on the 3rd date. The woman says yes to keep the relationship going, and then the man disappears or breaks up with the woman after they have sex.

  10. 10
    Jackie Holness

    You may need to join a religious-based dating website because those guys don’t expect to have sex at least as fast…or be introduced to someone who knows you to a mutual friend who has similar views…particularly at your age…

  11. 11
    David T

    When I was dating I would usually kiss on the first date. . . if it felt right. I have a sense now when a woman is going to be receptive to that kiss, and if I see my opportunity I would take it! 🙂   But, I also won’t have sex with anyone unless I am in love with them.   I am unusual for a man in that regard, so don’t hold your breath waiting to meet someone else with this same standard.
    What you can do is be open about your boundaries.   Have a conversation about when sex is and isn’t OK for you. You can’t bring this up on a first date, but it is entirely appropriate once the physical conversation starts moving that way. Evan is right.   Don’t be defensive and don’t denigrate.   Say you understand and even appreciate his attraction to you;   it is flattering after all(*) and you should take it as a compliment. Then explain your boundaries, that you don’t judge him by his boundaries since that is his business, etc. Maybe make out some if he still wants to knowing it will end at a point.  
    If he continues to want to see you, he is into you or it is an ego thing and he wants to win the challenge. If he walks, you have learned what is betwixt your thighs was for more important to him than what is between your ears. Good riddance in that case, and it is not so bad for you since you were not bonded through sex yet.
    (*) Maybe not if what Evan says is true that most men will have sex with women they are not attracted to. Really?   Yuck, but again,   I am not the typical guy.

  12. 12
    Karl S

    Speaking as a younger man –

    I usually drop hints just to test the waters by the third date if our rendezvous have been really good, but don’t expect anything. I might try again a couple of dates later to see if we’ve progressed. I’d start seeing red flags after the 10th date if she was still saying no and not willing to move anywhere along the bases either. I might not only wonder about whether she’s interested in me, but whether she’s actually interested in sex (I’ve dated some who never really got excited about it).
    I waited over 2 months for the last girl before she dumped me. Not sure I would wait that long again.

  13. 13

    The right man will wait for the right time with the right woman as long as she continues to show interest.   If the man assumes he is in the “friend zone”, however, he is likely to fade — and quickly.   So   much of the uncertainty and anxiety can be dismissed with good communication.   Without good communication the guy is going to assume a lack of interest or a prudish/frigid personality — both relationship killers for me.

    1. 13.1

      Exactly this ^^^.
      If after the second date I’m not getting any direct initiation of communication from her I assume the girl is not interested at all.

  14. 14

    It is often hard to determine whether a man actually IS attracted to you or just wanting sex by a third date. he is still in “best behavior”. I was hit on for sex on a second date by someone much older than I (whom you would think would know better) and I am in my 50’s.  End of non-relationship. Of the four committed relationships I have had, sex didn’t happen for  one to three months. I got to know the men well, and they me. I don’t think theres a strict timeline; often with long distance relationships, there is a long time between dates where hopefully you’ve been doing some serious communication. Did you know the man as a friend before a relationship developed? On line meetups always put me on my guard as this person is a stranger and there is no real way to find out about him. he doesn’t live in your community and no friends can tell you about him so you are operating solely on gut instinct.

  15. 15

    Evan has written before about telling a man you reserve intimacy for an exclusive relationship. Might this be a good way to deflect the guys who want sex on the third date?

    If you think about it, at the end of the 3rd. date you’ve probably only spent around 8 hours together – the equivalent of one day at a new job.    Why should anyone be expected to share their body with someone they’ve spent such a short time with? How many people  are willing to be exclusive after such a limited amount of time together?

    1. 15.1

      I agree with this! It also depends on the quality of the time spent together. What kind of interaction you have via text or phone.   Do you feel connected on a emotional level? I’m dating again as a 44 year old woman and it’s definitely tricky to figure it all out.   Some guys are more modern and some more traditional or a mixture of both.   I wish I knew how a modern traditional man thinks about this!

  16. 16
    Karl R

    Patti said: (original post)
    “I’ve asked these men WHY they expect sex by the third date. Their response is that they have heard that if they don’t get it by the third date, the woman isn’t into them.”

    I don’t believe that there should be sex on the third date. I don’t tend to date women who intend to have sex on the third date.

    But based upon my observations, there is some truth to what these men believe.

    Among people who believe in taking things slowly, there’s a strong tendency to bend or break their own rules for someone they’re really into. I’ve observed it in myself. I’ve observed it in the women I’ve dated. I’ve observed it with the friends (male and female) who confide in me.

    If you’re having an easy time going slowly and not breaking your own rules, you’re just not that attracted to him/her.

    If you’re attracted and interested, make it obvious.

    1. 16.1

      This post is probably older than dirt, but the issue is timeless. Karl, I agree so much with this! I’m a woman, and yes, I absolutely will bend my own rules for someone I’m really into. That can actually be a good gauge for me as to how much I actually like a guy. Well put, as usual!

  17. 17


    Some men have a “third date rule” meaning if you don’t sleep with him by date 3 you are out I had one fool tell me at dinner on the first date that he had a 3 date rule I told him I had a rule against having a second date with a guy who has a third date rule  

    Confident successful guys who expect to win you over when its right don’t have this scarcity mentality.   

    1. 17.1

      Miskwa, I am also in my 50’s.
      I take very good care of myself and am very sexually open and interested in physical connection, but I’m really turned on by the mind-emotional connections. I date mostly 60+ yr olds who frankly are not in great shape or aging fast, but that’s the reality of dating for women in my age bracket. I need at least 5 dates to build the strong attraction and sexual chemistry – QUITE frankly these guys are no longer looking like hotties or taking care of themselves like women do…..a fact that escapes them. I openly ask for the time to build up the anticipation/chemistry OR any fast sex will quickly turn me off and I will be gone because the chemistry was never developed and unless they offer a huge bedroom surprise, I can get hotter sex with a 35 yr old. Online dating is a wonderland….
      So for anyone out there in my age range, I actually think we have the power to slow things down and openly ask to build up some great foreplay and flirt. It makes for really great sex + chemistry connection and a man definitely coming back for more.; 100% of time begins a relationship.
      Yes, he can get faster sex anywhere online, but who can’t?! I’ve never lost a guy’s interest and as long as I’m initiating (important) passionate kissing and foreplay, BTW there are many ways to find pleasure, perhaps people need to get a little more creative in some karma sutra LOL because fast sex is very very rarely good (for women) and if it’s not turning me on, then he’s not going to get the best I got.

  18. 18

    Michael, there is some truth to what you are saying. We would expect a man to make some kind of move to show his attraction. There is a respectful way for men to do that, such as asking at the end of the 4th/5th date if they can come inside, or inviting you inside after the date, and if the girl says no not making an issue of it. That’s usually what men do with me and I have no problem with it, even if I need a couple more dates to feel comfortable with that. I’ve decided after a couple incidents in a row of men disappearing after date 8, or revealing they don’t want a relationshpi by date 9, that I need to wait at least 10 dates to get better results than what I’ve been getting.

    But I always feel like this gets to be very tricky for the woman by dates 5-8  – on one hand, you want to convey interest in the man, on the other it seems like men LOVE women who make them wait for 3 to 6 months, and those are the women they marry. Then there’s the added concern for the woman that if we wait TOO long, we could discover the guy has a two-incher or can’t get it up. We don’t want to be a tease, or a prude, or a slut … Ultimately, I’m amazed that men (not you, just men in general) bitch about this kind of thing when it’s their own weird and conflicting standards about sex that create the problem.

  19. 19

    It also works to tell a man that you physically desire him but need to take things a bit slower, so that way they know that sex will happen just not tonight.

  20. 20

    @Karl R:
    “If you’re having an easy time going slowly and not breaking your own rules, you’re just not that attracted to him/her.
    If you’re attracted and interested, make it obvious.”
    Like subtly moaning in my guy’s ear after a nice long and slow kissing interlude on date #5. He totally got it : )
    And no, it was not *easy* to postpone sex. Very hard indeed (pun intended). But so worth it.

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