How Can You Take Your Pants Off Without Having Sex?

How Can You Take Your Pants Off Without Having Sex?


In your book “Why He Disappeared,” on page 63, you write. “just because you invite him inside doesn’t mean you have to sleep with him, just because your pants are off doesn’t mean you have to sleep with him.” (!!!) (What???) I was a virgin when I married at twenty years old. My ensuing 40-year marriage was completely monogamous, but I was widowed three years ago. At this point in my life, *Virtue* is the one quality that I am so sure of, I feel I no longer have to “prove” it. I am 65 years old but continue to very much want and appreciate sex. I don’t know — with my long and “perfectly virtuous” life — what I need to do as far as “waiting” to have sex is concerned. Your ideas on page 63 of “rounding the bases” makes more sense than anything I’ve ever read. *But* “HOW” can your pants be off and you still won’t have sex? —Carol

Dear Carol,

I chose this question because what you expressed is a real common sentiment. And it’s a complete and utter fallacy.

“How can I invite him inside without having sex?”
“How can I kiss him without having sex?”
“How can I take my pants off without having sex?”

As if neither of you possesses any measure of self-control about whose penis goes into whose vagina.

Just because you’re both naked and he’s reaching for the condom in his wallet doesn’t mean that you have to have sex.

Honestly, people.

I’m not going to count the number of people I’ve “hooked up with” without having intercourse, but let’s just say it’s more than 50 and less than 4000. How did I manage to pull off this stupendous feat of full-frontal fortitude?

Well, sometimes, when we were making out on her couch, she’d say something like, “I’m so turned on right now, but we have to stop.” And I’d kiss her for another fifteen minutes and reach up the back of her shirt again, and she’d move my hand back to somewhere she felt appropriate. And I’d take the hint.

Sometimes, she’d declare that she was having fun, but that she had an early morning the next day and that I had to go.

Sometimes, we’d have our shirts off and I would reach for her belt buckle and she’d stop me and grab for mine.

Sometimes, we’d dry hump until it was painful and both go home sexually dissatisfied.

Sometimes, we’d both have our pants off and perform various permutations of oral and manual stimulation.

Sometimes, there were orgasms. Sometimes there weren’t.

But in each instance of participating in foreplay with a woman on Date 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, I would always leave with this feeling:

That was AWESOME. I can’t WAIT to do that again.

Refuse to do any of these things (because you don’t DO that), and you’ll find that most men who take you out and make a move on you will feel embarrassed, rejected, emasculated, confused and dispirited.

(Except for maybe the blue balls. Or three straight dates with nothing but kissing. That was a little frustrating.)

Foreplay — as we all used it back in high school before we had intercourse — can be fun, exciting, hot, and yes, even gratifying.

Used as a means of establishing a physical connection while you assess his relationship-worthiness, I think it’s a great tool that women can use to their advantage.

Refuse all forms of foreplay because you don’t DO that (which is within your rights, of course), and you’ll probably find that most men who take you out and make a move on you will feel embarrassed, rejected, emasculated, confused and dispirited.

But to be very clear — you, as a woman, have total control of what you want to happen. And just because you’re both naked and he’s reaching for the condom in his wallet doesn’t mean that you have to have sex.

It’s called self-control, y’all.

And as the rare man who DIDN’T have sex with anyone who wasn’t a girlfriend from 2004 until I met my wife in 2007, I can assure you that providing sexual pleasure while still maintaining some boundaries is an effective and powerful stance.

If you can’t see the line between oral sex and intercourse, I understand. But most people I know can count how many people they’ve slept with. Not so much with the oral sex tally.

Yes, it’s arbitrary, but I’ve used this method (and coached it) to great success over the years. Hope that clears things up a bit, Carol.

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  1. 81
    David T

    Where does this 70% decline a couple of people mentioned come from? When I hear a claim of most anything changing that much, my BS warning goes off and I look for source data.
    (you will have to use the tool at this URL to generate the table of data yourself.)
    The U.S. DOJ reports a significant drop in forcible rape rates (incidents/100,000) between the peak in 1992 and 2010 (most recent data available there) but it is nowhere near 70%. More like 35%. Evan, you said something about 2012 data. That cannot be treated as credible seeing as the year is not over and these things take time to compile if done with care.
    So yes it has dropped, but not nearly as much as is claimed. I am highly skeptical of whatever other statistics, interpretation of statistics or conclusions came from the source that claimed a 70% drop. The author was either careless or flat out deceptive.

  2. 82

    When I said “it doesn’t count,” I wasn’t being completely serious. Of course it is sexual in nature–and if your preference is not to indulge in that, then that is your preference. For me, as twisted as it sounds, I can enjoy foreplay, completely nude, including him going down on me without bonding to him. However, the minute I reciprocate, things get dicey. Thus, those are my arbitrary boundaries.  

  3. 83

    Fusee “I will clarify that while I indeed desire to keep sexual contact within the boundaries of a committed relationship, I also do not see anything dirty or shameful in not having these preferences.” This is fair. I don’t think anyone can argue much with this line of thinking, even if they have a different approach. Unless “sexual contact” means no kissing, making out, etc. That’s where I tend to think shame based thinking is dominating. Few men are going to stick around if there is little or no intimate touching for months on end. But I totally respect not wanting genital contact without a commitment of some kind first.
    Evan, while it seems to be true that there’s been a major drop in rape overall in the U.S. – our numbers are still at least 10 times higher than those in the UK and many other post-industrial nations. The 70% figure appears high to me, though. During the year with the largest number of documented cases, 1995, a little over 109,000 rapes were reported. In 2010, there were approximated 85,000 reported cases. That’s a little over a 28% decline. Furthermore, there are many problems with the long standing, official FBI definition of rape. The FBI finally changed their definition this year after 8 decades. The statistics only focused on women, and only on forced vaginal penetration, which leaves a hell of a lot out. Point being, I don’t think there’s a lot of clarity around how much of a drop has happened, or if that drop only applies to “violent” – (i.e. with physical force) cases of rape.
    As Selena pointed out, there’s a disconnect for some folks around boundaries where intercourse is seen as wildly different, whereas anything else is fair game. The same disconnect is present in addressing issues of rape and assault. For too many of us, the image of rape and sexual assault is solely one of heavy force and violence, when the reality is much more complex. And the lack of complex understanding roles into the overall sense of sexuality, which is one of the main reasons why there is so much struggle around these boundary points. Intercourse is treated as a final destination, and some kind of vital confirmation, when it really is only one destination, or one point along the journey.
    I don’t want anyone to live in fear. There are ways to overcome past abuse and be empowered – and plenty of people do so. In addition, self control does play an important role in the average dating situation, and shouldn’t be dismissed. At the same time, given the prevalence of rape and assault in the US – even if the numbers are reduced from a few decades ago – it’s really understandable that women in particular have some concerns. Especially if they’ve been harmed in the past.

  4. 84

    Sorry for the double post, but Karmic – your comments on this thread in general have been questionable. But you are flat out wrong about the stranger rape comments. Two thirds of rapes and assaults occur with someone who is either an intimate (partner, friend, family member) or an acquaintance. Someone known to the victim. Stranger rape is the stereotype: it happens, but at far less of a rate. It’s the kind of thing that makes for juicy media stories and TV shows, but it’s not the majority by a long shot. And the reinforcing of that image as the biggest danger is one of the major reasons why it’s so difficult for those of us who experience something else to step forward and report it.

  5. 85

    Karmic Equation #88
    “…are missing the fact that you are MORE VULNERABLE TO STRANGER RAPE than date rape…”
    You need to better educate yourself on this subject. Check out, for more info. It’s well-known that most rape victims know their assailants:
    Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.
    73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.
    38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
    28% are an intimate.
    7% are a relative.
    He’s not Hiding in the Bushes
    More than 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by victims to have occurred within 1 mile of their home or at their home.

    4 in 10 take place at the victim’s home.
    2 in 10 take place at the home of a friend, neighbor, or relative.
    1 in 12 take place in a parking garage.

    54% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to a statistical average of the past 5 years. Those rapists, of course, never spend a day in prison. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 3% of rapists ever serve a day in jail.
    Stats are taken from the US Dept. of Justice.

    1. 85.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I am hereby shutting down the rape discussion. It’s sad. It’s boring. It’s off-topic. And it’s my blog. And if you want to debate the 70% drop in rape statistic, please take it up with Hanna Rosin, author of “The End of Men” and the founder of Slate’s XX site. Clearly, she’s biased against women and blase about rape as well.

  6. 86

    @ Nathan #91
    “Few men are going to stick around if there is little or no intimate touching for months on end. But I totally respect not wanting genital contact without a commitment of some kind first.”

    Yep.  Huge difference between months on end, a commitment of some kind,  and date 2-4. That’s what I think has peeved some of the commenters and led to the now closed discussion. Why should anyone have genital contact (any kind) with someone they’ve only known a handful or so hours in order to keep them interested? They are either interested, or they are not interested. Or they are just interested in getting genital contact from relative strangers.

  7. 87

    I’m a male in his upper 30’s who has done a lot of online dating (dating women who are mostly in their 30’s).   Online dating pretty much translates to a lot of casual dating and few relationships and I can say my experience has been very similar to EMK’s.   In dating scenarios I have “fooled around” with a lot of women and only really have sex with a woman when it seems like dating is transitioning into a relationship.   I   actually prefer it this way because it usually takes me some time to get to know a complete stranger.

    I also agree with EMK that if I like the girl, foreplay is a great way of making me want to come back for more.   Unless you are pre-disposed to such behavior, there is no excuse for a lack of self-control when dealing with a mature person.

    This is good and bad.   I recently dated a girl on the rebound with whom I had amazing chemistry.   We had some amazing foreplay sessions but just as things were really taking off, she decided to go back to her ex.   It’s been tough and I still fantasize about her, even to the point of not being able to concentrate on another girl until I can get it out of my head.   But I know she didn’t do it to be cruel or with any mal-intent.   It’s just a part of casual dating that has to be accepted.

    I think there are plenty of healthy males out there that are used to cooling their jets in the dating world.   It’s just something a lot of us expect when dating outside of a relationship.

  8. 88
    Karmic Equation

    @Selena 95

    I don’t think anyone’s suggesting genital contact within a few hours to keep anyone interested. That’s absolutely the WRONG way to keep anyone interested. You should only do this if you DON’T care to have a relationship with whoever you’re doing this with. If you DO want a relationship then be physical at whatever pace makes you comfortable.

    What I was espousing was that if (generic) you have good guydar, you should usually be able tell if a guy is a good guy within 15 minutes. Not that you go home with someone withing 15 minutes. My POV annoyed a lot of folks who believe that it takes longer to tell if a guy is a good guy or not. Maybe I should have said you can usually weed out jerks within 15 minutes 🙂 Perhaps that would have gotten better press. KTR did it in less than 15, and online, at that! It can be done. Again, this weeding is what takes 15 minutes, not the going home part.

    The point I was trying to make before the discussion got derailed, was that it’s the CHARACTER of the man that matters most in the rounding of bases not actually how many dates. If the man is a good man, he’ll be ok stopping on a dime on date 1. If he’s a bad man, he will not be ok with stopping whether on dates 1 or 20 (but he’ll probably not be around for 20…which is good).

    It behooves a woman to establish that the man is a good man before rounding any bases. The contentiousness began when I said I could do that on 1 note and many insisted that 3 or more notes were necessary (This reference may be before your time, it’s referring to the game show Name That Tune!).

  9. 89

    @Karmic #97

    Within 15 min. I can sometimes recognize whether or not I’m attracted to someone. That’s about as far as my “dar” goes in that time frame. I suspect their are more women like me, than like you.

    As far as the topic of this discussion goes…the purpose of foreplay is to create and increase sexual arousal. If I’m not ready  to have sex with a new man, I’m not going to be ready to be sexually aroused by him either. That being the case, why would I deliberately sexually arouse a man I didn’t want sex  with?

    The premise is foreplay will keep a man interested in early dating (2-4?). How much time has a woman spent with a man on those dates? A handful or so of hours? How well does she really know him, or thinks she knows him in that amount of time? Apparently some people find sexual frustration exciting. I don’t. I find it an unpleasant feeling. How is woman to know how the man she is out with going to feel when she arouses him and then  slams on the brakes? Maybe he’s cool with sexual frustration. But maybe he isn’t, so much. Some men can get nasty when they are sexually frustrated. Others just become more persistant. I don’t see foreplay as interest-keeping working very well if the guy walks away thinking the woman is a cock tease. And I don’t think a woman is going to remain interested in a man she had to end up fending off. More likely she will be upset and never want to see him again.

    Karmic, I don’t think even you can predict how a man will handle sexual frustration until you see how he handles it.

    I believe people should have sex – any kind – whenever it is they feel comfortable. Simple. I also believe using foreplay as a tool when one doesn’t want sex is risky business with men a woman doesn’t know very well. To borrow from another blogger, “If you don’t want to go there, Don’t. Go. There.”

    This is very clear to me. And part of self-control is not putting oneself in sexually murky situations.

  10. 90
    David T

    @Selena   The way foreplay is used in this thread, it means anything done before sex, whether it leads to sex or not.  
    Kissing is part of foreplay.   A warm hug can be part of foreplay.   A gentle touch to the arm, face or neck are part of foreplay. Clever verbal flirtation is part of foreplay. ALL of these are sexually arousing. These activities are fun in themselves even when they don’t lead to sex, and fun is part of what keeps someone interested.
    Are you saying you won’t do any of these things with anyone, even your partner unless sex is the outcome, because otherwise it will be ‘frustrating’? I doubt that is what you meant, so where do you draw your line?   What is your definition of foreplay ’cause your post is saying something odd as I understand it.

  11. 91

    I pretty much agree with Selena. I don’t think that foreplay is a good idea unless you are absolutely sure that you will want to have sex at some point in the very near future. Otherwise what good can it possibly do?

  12. 92

    @David T.

    Foreplay as it is used in the discussion, By Evan, is “rounding the bases”. Surely you are aware kissing would be first base. Fondling a woman’s breasts – 2nd. base. Fondling genitals, either or both parties – 3rd. base.

    I don’t consider a warm hug, or gentle casual touch, or verbal flirtation  to be foreplay. The intention of such is not to sexually arouse, though that may happen to someone easily excitable. 🙂 And I very much agree that doing these things in early dating IS the way to show affection and interest. In fact, a much better way than fondling breasts or genitals with someone  one doesn’t  feel comfortable having sex with yet.

    I also like kissing. To me, it is how I gauge my level of sexual attraction to that person. If the kissingis good, there is something to go on. If the kissing feels icky, then it’s a clear sign I’m not sufficiently attracted to that person.   I don’t consider kissing on par with genital contact. That’s why it’s considered FIRST base and genital contact is considered THIRD, the base shy of a home run.

    Hope that clears it up for you. 😉

  13. 93
    Karmic Equation

    Foreplay done right just makes the next time something to look forward to, and is something fun!
    I’ve stopped at intense foreplay when no condom was available. I always made this the guys job to provide it. While they all tried to convince me it would be ok without one, they never succeeded and, while a little put out, they knew they had no one to blame but themselves for being unprepared.
    Again, it’s all in the guy’s character. I have yet to meet a man that turned violent or refused to see me again for stopping at foreplay. I would even say the stopping is a very sexy part of the guy-girl dynamic, provided you have good rapport and the guy is a GOOD guy. Sure, good guys can be frustrated, but how they handle it tells you a lot about them. Slight pressure and “convincing” (or begging!–this is a huge turn on) is ok. Calling you names is not ok.
    I’ve yet to meet a bad guy myself. Rule of thumb is if you don’t KNOW if the guy is a good guy, then DON’T do anything stronger than passionate kisses, imo, until you DO know.

  14. 94


    “Slight pressure and “convincing” (or begging!—this is a huge turn on) is ok.”

    Ugh.  Begging is not a huge turn on to me –   It is a HUGE TURN OFF.

    Different strokes for different folks apparently.

  15. 95

    Foreplay can also be used to build sexual desire, which in infinitely more sexy than easy sex. I have used foreplay for weeks and both of us were quite satisfied doing it.

  16. 96

    fore ·play [fawr-pley, fohr-] noun: sexual stimulation, usually as a prelude to sexual intercourse.

    Like for “sex”, we can give any definition we want to “foreplay”. It’s a free country. To me, technically, it starts at open-mouth kissing because that’s what starts to arouse me sexually, but practically this is when we go to second base and down.

    Because I refrain from sex (and for me “sex” means any kind of genital stimulation, mutual or not) outside of a committed-relationship-that-is-going-to-be-explored-long-term-with-a-possibility-of-maybe-just-maybe-progressing-towards-marriage, I postpone open-mouth kissing for as long as humanely possible, and completely avoid other bases before commitment and assessment of long-term compatibility have been established.

    Once again: I’m not coming from a place of fear or judgement. These definitions and boundaries work just fine for me and I’m not preachin’.To each their own. But in case you wonder, yes, there are men who are fine with these limits, as long as they understand what they are and the reason they are in place. The hardest is to communicate them in the most conducive way WHILE focusing on making him FEEL good date after date in other – non-sexual – ways. After that, it’s smooth sailing when he is serious-minded and plan 10-hour dates because he can’t get enough of you!

    But definitions and boundaries – and the principles behind them – are going to inform our decisions to engage or not engage in certain activities. Well, if we are wise at least. For me, since I do not want sex before reaching a certain level of agreement on the relationship status and potential, I prefer to avoid finding myself highly sexually aroused. Just not comfortable! Therefore I do not go on dates where much intimacy is possible until the relationship develops further.

    I’m not making him “wait”, I’m actively using the time to find out about potential deal-breakers and to playfully build emotional connection while he is doing just the same. Keeping my p*ussy dry helps keeping a focused mind.

    It does not need to take months to progress physically. It all depends on how the emotional connection develops and – how ironic – it’s very much up to him and his emotional availability! With my current boyfriend it took us six weeks because circumstances encouraged us to be very effective on our 12 first dates. Could have taken a bit longer, but I would not have given much more than two months to see some emotional connection before opting out. So not the end of the world, and the awesome kisses and other innocent delights tied us over. The good news is, by then I did not have to “believe” he was a “good” guy. I KNEW that he was much more.


  17. 97
    Karmic Equation

    Depends on the delivery of the begging. Begging from betas, not hot. Begging from alphas…wow! They know how to do it right. Is there such a thing as assertive begging? LOL

  18. 98

    If this thread has proved anything it’s that attitudes and expectations regarding sex vary tremendously from individual to individual. Therefore, the best any of us can do is be clear on what OUR OWN attiudes and expectations are, what works for ourselves,  not assume a potential partner has the same mindset, and be willing to communicate about said attitudes and expectations if need be.

    1. 98.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      And I’ve learned that while women expect men to understand and respect their desires, some women don’t seem to think that his desires matter. If he makes a move before you’re ready (whenever that is), he can easily be demonized as a perv, an asshole, or a man who’s “all about sex”

      Your takeaway, if you’re in this camp, is that unless you can make him feel important and desirable and validate his feelings, you will accidentally alienate some good men. Just as a man who is tone-deaf to your boundaries will alienate you. It works both ways. Not just one way.

  19. 99

    @Karmic Equation #106: “Begging from alphas…wow! They know how to do it right.”
    There is no such thing as “begging” for alphas. It it looks like begging, it’s actually *game*.
    And those know how to game a naive woman : )

  20. 100


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