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.

Join our conversation (324 Comments).
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  1. 31

    Interesting comments.

    I can understand Patti’s frustration.  I’d been on dates where guys would tell me ON the date, they didn’t like one-night stands, didn’t sleep with a date on the first date, etc.  And yet, these same turds would try doing just what they told me they didn’t want to do.  Huh??  I didn’t make a scene but I’d gently let them know that no, I do not want first-date sex, and that I’m looking for a relationship, not a fling.  Those guys would 9 times out of 10 stop right there, leave, and usually I never heard from them again.  Which told me right there that those guys were lying through their teeth and were hoping that I’d be dumb enough to go along.

    I used to take it really personally but then I just developed an attitude of, “Hey buddy, your loss.  I have a right to my boundaries, and if you cannot respect them, then you’re not boyfriend material anyways.” 

    EMK is right, guys do look for sex and then find love along the way, and hey that’s fine, but it’s also fine for me to not want sex on the first date.  I’m never a shrew about it but I do make it clear if they try to make a move, that it’s just not gonna happen.

  2. 32

    Frank, what you describe happens all the time. In the last six months, I slept with a  ONS I knew for a few hours, went to third base by the fifth date with someone I was dating, slept with an old fwb and had a one week sexual fling out of town, but this week just had a seventh date with no nudity. Is the last guy a tool that I’m using? No, I like him A LOT. He has real relationship potential. I don’t want to screw anything up and put pressure on things, or cloud my head, or prematurely force a “talk” – at this point I’m doing it more for me than to impress him.

    But at the back of my head, I also know that men value women more who make them wait – and men have no one but men to blame when they complain about the scenario you describe. I have had several male friends tell me that their wives made them wait six months for sex and that’s the way to make a guy really fall for you. I have no intention of doing anything close to six months, but trust me, girls are well aware of the bizarre phenomenon that men seemingly will do anything for sex, yet uphold the girl who won’t give them any as a prize.

    1. 32.1

      Lol, the guy that is waiting for you would feel betrayed if he happens to know about your other flings. Probably would like to sleep with you first. Also if he happens to know about it, he will see you as a bad person, and all that sexual tension will go off. We don’t like women to have the milk shake shaken for other guy in her “mixer” he would ask himslef and maybe you if you had sex in the same day that you had the date with him. It would just be fine if you had sex with the guy you really want.

    2. 32.2

      Mia said: “I slept with a  ONSwent to third base by the fifth dateslept with an old fwbhad a one week sexual fling out of town …”
      and went on to say: “but this week just had a seventh date with no nudity. Is the last guy a tool that I’m using?

      Yes, you are just using him, or at the minimum you are playing him.
      I hope that he finds out what you are really like and dumps you.
      If I was him, I sure would.
      And you probably complain about guys who are players.


      1. 32.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        No, it means the guy is too beta to make a move. That’s on him, not her. She doesn’t owe him sex for time put in. She probably thinks he’s nice but he’s not inspiring attraction.

        1. DeeGee

          If she isn’t attracted to him because he is too beta, then why is she still saying yes to dating him?  As she said “a tool that I’m using”.
          That’s on her.
          She is using him just to pay for dates, just like a player uses a women just for sex.  And stringing him along.
          Sure, he needs to wake up and quite being so beta, but we know nothing about this story other than her side. Any kissing and petting?  Is she the one stopping his sexual advances?  We don’t know.

          If sex on the third date is the new norm, then where is your wait until 6 months come in to weed out the guys who only want sex?
          If I’m supposed to pursue sex on the third date, and she doesn’t put out (ie she’s waiting), then why should I not just dump her with no date #4?

        2. Steven

          Exactly.  his acceptance of being treated like this is beta.  Being beta is the biggest mistake you can make in dating and relationships.  If a woman doesn’t sleep with you in the first five dates and you don’t move on, you’re being like this guy and you’re going to get what he’s getting.  Don’t be beta.  Sex by the 5th date or get the hint: she doesn’t want you!  Also, don’t marry.  Marriage is beta.  If you act that beta you’ll get treated even worse than this guy did and you shouldn’t expect anything better.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          Every time someone writes stuff like this, I laugh a little bit. This is a guy who thinks he’s “red pill” but is really just lonely, frustrated and jaded. Did it ever occur to you that if she says no to sex with you on the 5th date, it’s because she doesn’t want to sleep with a guy who is not her boyfriend because that has proven to be a painful experience for her in the past? Well, now it has.

          On behalf of all married alphas, you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

  3. 33


    I read men know whether or not they want to sleep with a woman in 30 seconds. I don’t believe the same is true for most women. We may be initially attracted to a man and find him less attractive as his personality is revealed. Or we may not be super attracted at first, but find him more attractive as we get to know him. The notion that women know how interested they are in man immediately is a dangerous assumption because it can change, and change quickly.

  4. 34

    so much for circular dating! :)))
    is it only me or every woman finds it extremely energy-draining: to date few men at the same time, and for each men it will be 3 dates max, then you suppose to find the replacement.
    when i hear “see other men”, i have picture of this circus in my head and – thank you, no.

  5. 35

    @ Mia,

    Yes I’ve noticed that too.  Some guys complain if they never get it, but yet complain if they do get it, that the girl’s a tramp, a slut, etc.  And I sit there and go well hold on a minute now boys.  You can’t have it both ways. 

    That’s why I just go with what works for ME now.  I could care less if it hurts a guy’s feelings if I don’t want first date sex.  That’s not my problem.  I have a right to take care of myself.  Again, I’m never nasty and have never slapped a guy or anything even close.  But I do make it clear.  No, you’re not getting it tonight.  And if you keep pushing me about it, I’m either going to walk out, or ask you to leave.

    I get that guys like sex alot and I don’t fault them for it.  But for me, I’ve learned that if you put out on the first date, they won’t respect you and they usually disappear when they’re done having fun.

    1. 35.1

      Not to mention that women generally do not experience real sexual pleasure in the early stages of a relationship.  I for one have a lot of anxiety at this stage, if I am not sure where things are going.  Additionally I have HSVII (genital herpes) courtesy of an ex, this also means I have to be certain of a level of seriousness before I disclose.

  6. 36

    Expectations of third date sex have been around since I was a teenager in college in the last 1970s.  And probably before that.  It’s hardly “the new normal.” 

  7. 37

    Adding to Lance’s post #30

    There are people who view sex as a part of getting to know someone. Just as there are those who don’t want to have sex without attachment, there are those who don’t want to become attached only to find they are sexually incompatible with that person.

  8. 38

    Lance, are you and Honey no longer together?
    As for this… women should go with what they feel is right. If you want to wait for a few months and a guy said he’s not waiting past the third date, move on. If you find ONS works for you, hey, go ahead and do it (just don’t complain later if they don’t turn into relationships and you want a relationship).
    It’s your body. Choose what’s best for you. If you are going to wait, explain why. A man who is on the same page as you will wait. If he says he needs to know RIGHT NOW if you all have sexual chemistry before becoming exclusive and he won’t wait, then let him find someone else.
    When I stopped stressing over men’s sometimes mixed messages and followed my own mind, this became less of an issue. I waited four months with my husband, although we did do enough in other ways for him to know I was interested. I do agree that helps… plus, usually, you want to do something if you’re into him!

  9. 39

    I wonder if men who expect sex so soon ever consider that a woman might be seeing other men. Guys do you mind sharing a sexual partner?
    In my experience its easier for me to get sex than most of the men I date. 

    1. 39.1
      Prince Max

      I think only insecure guys think “Wow, she slept with me fast, I  wonder if she does that with everyone? Am I no longer special”

      Most girls, except absolute train wrecks, may have many guys on the case. That’s why it’s good to have sex with her early, so you can have a physical connection and advantage over Joe Schmoe.

      I wouldn’t mind sharing a sexual partner, I have before, but I never would take her seriously. It will always be easier for women to have sex than men, even an ugly girl can bang almost every guy that walks down the street, but a really attractive guy could only get maybe a third or half. It’s simple biology, men love sex. Women use it to get something (Marriage, Love, Daddy complex)

  10. 40

    I thought that when Honey was still posting, she was engaged to a guy named Jake, and that she blogged with Lance and they had at one point dated.  But I’m pretty sure he was not the BF or fiance that she’d been referring to since I’ve been reading this blog.  

    (Assuming this is the same Lance as before, b/c I hadn’t seen either name pop up recently.)

  11. 41

    @ SS,

    Exactly right.  If the guy is worth it, he will wait and understand where you are coming from.  If someone can’t wait, well that’s OK, but they’ll have to move on, because people like me don’t put up with being nagged, too well.  I’ve met a few guys who told me, “Well my ex and I had sex on the first date, and we dated for x amount of time.”  And I usually told them, well that’s nice, but that’s not how I roll.  I’m me, I’m not your ex.

    @ BeenThruTheWars,
    I too, thought the sex on the third date thing is kind of an old one.  I’d heard that one for years. I always thought it was a ridiculous idea, too much pressure on people to figure things out by date 3.  Definitely, it’s good to know sooner, rather than later, if things are going to work out, but not everyone fits into the same mold.  I dated one guy where it took almost 2 months before we really did anything, dated one guy where we never truly went “all the way” due to issues on his part, etc.  So everyone’s going to have a different timetable and to hold people to a standard like that just seems crazy to me.

  12. 42

    I haven’t seen Honey post in a long time so I don’t know if she will pop up to answer. She and Lance dated many years ago and shared a blog writing together as friends for some time afterward. She and long time partner Jake married around 2 yrs. ago to the best of my recollection.

  13. 43

    Thanks everyone for explaining the Lance/Honey thing. I didn’t mean any harm, I was just curious! 

  14. 44

    I’m always really impressed with your one-woman crusade against the current dating zeitgeist. I can appreciate navigating the “subtle dance” of indicating interest but not violating your boundaries is difficult. Bravo!

    David T
    “If what Evan says is true that most men will have sex with women they’re barely attracted to. Really? Yuck”

    As your diametric opposite I’ve done this before. Sex is just like food to me – of course I’d prefer a steak, but if I haven’t eaten in ages I’ll have to settle for some fast food. But I’m probably not a typical guy either.

    Your rule against having a second date with a guy who has a 3 date rule made me laugh. J

    “women don’t move things slowly with guys they are attracted to”

    I think you’re absolutely right here. I used to be the mug that would date for weeks with nothing physical until I also discovered that women throw out their rule-book when they really like someone (in direct violation of Evan’s advice!) The amount of times I’ve been back with a woman on a first date who has said: “I never normally do this, but…” Ladies, do you actually mean this when sex happens on the first night, or is it just a line in case we judge you? I’m curious.

    “guys do you mind sharing a sexual partner?”

    I don’t particularly mind, as long as I’m also seeing someone else, and all parties use protection of course. Again, I doubt I’m typical though.

    I think everyone here is correct – there are no rules, so just do whatever you are comfortable with.

  15. 45

    “Ladies, do you actually mean this when sex happens on the first night, or is it just a line in case we judge you? I’m curious.”

    I have mostly been dating online lately, so the first date is the first time I am meeting a guy. I am NEVER ready after the first meeting, even if I really like a guy. If its someone I know and have been flirting with for awhile, I might. Though really in my experience first date sex usually means ONS.

  16. 46
    Daria (Ria)

    Haha, let me tell you, l got called a penis teaser, liar and stupid, when l refused to have sex with a guy. (Bless him)
    I was not sure at the beginning of how serious he was with me, so l decided NOT to get intimate, until l get some clarification as he was drop dead charming at the beginning. Talking of hot handsome dark and tall guy. So at the end my bets proved me right. No way l would have enjoyed having sex with someone who thinks of me so bad. I was extremely attracted to him, and yes l would have slept with him, no problem, but the later woudl have ended up same, so l aborted the mission.

    Like someone earlier said, actually timing wont that much matter, but the personality. My take is that if a woman falls into the category of “lm barely attracted to you anyway and l wont consider you a LTR” for him, then making him wait wont upgrade you or change this status. 

    Different story when both of you want to just have fun.    

  17. 47

    All men know that they have to take the lead when they want to court a woman.

    He has to ask you out.

    He has to plan the date.  

    He has to take you out, 

    So of course he’s going to have to take the lead toward the bedroom.

    You can’t blame him for that.

    In fact, most men would want to have sex with a woman before the first date.

    So if you don’t want to deal with going on multiple dates with a man, only to find out that he’s only there for the sex…

    Let him know on the 2nd or 1st date (or even before that), that you’re looking for a relationship.

    It will scare the majority of men away, but those are also the exact same guys who will try to make the move on the 3rd date.

    Stop them now. 

  18. 48

    @Tom #44: “until I also discovered that women throw out their rule-book when they really like someone.”
    Depends on the individual. A person with integrity to their values do not change them according to circumstances. If a woman says one thing and does the opposite – even “just this time” – it means that she was either trying to follow “rules” and not real values, or it means that she does not have integrity to her values. Same goes for men of course. No clearly defined values and/or no integrity = huge troubles ahead, and not only in relationships.

  19. 49

    I feel it’s a double edge sword. I recently had sex with a guy on my first date, who then told me he couldn’t see me again (citing other reasons). Then, he wrote to me three days later, blaming his job for his behavior. He expresses interest in seeing me again, saying that he thinks I’d make for a better bed partner if I relaxed a bit. He wanted to continue where we left off.
    Another guy I made out heavily with on the second date. He wanted to get physical so I said to give me a few weeks. He waited, but as soon as that week approached, he hurried me to his house for it to happen. A few more dates, and well, you know, followed. But as soon I told him how much I liked him by our six date, he gets cold feet. Now we are friends, but as soon as I suggested something more, he fled.
    Want can you do? Evan, are there ways of fooling around or so to do before having full-on sex? Because sometimes I find even they wait until we do the deed and then they disappear once it’s happened.

  20. 50


    I feel sorry for the guy who’s dating you. I wouldn’t want to be him.

    Would you be happy to find out that he’s sleeping with a whole host of other women because he doesn’t want to screw what you guys already have ongoing. I highly doubt it. What a lame way to justify your intermittent straying patterns.

    I previously had no problem with a woman making me wait for it. I only started having problems waiting when i discovered that she’ll be giving it to some other guys in the interim.  

    Michael, nailed it when he said, men push for sex because women expect them to and punish them if they don’t by giving it to other guys. 

  21. 51

    I want to stay well away from this subject, but it’s just so tantalizing!

    I think each individual person has their own timeline and the “trick” is finding a person who’s timeline either matches yours, or is flexible enough to bend for yours. 

    If good men are taking off on a good woman i’d be inclined to say there’s more going on than a mis-matched sexual timeline. I can’t say what. Everyone is unique. 

    When I was dating I found men to be very respectful of my timelines. EVEN the ones who just wanted sex with no strings. 


  22. 52

    Frank, I do not think it is generally true that a woman who makes a man wait a bit is sleeping with someone else. After date 3 I am likely to either disappear because it won’t work or stop dating other men until I see how things pan out. I really do not like the idea of sleeping with one man and continuing to date others. I know that I am not alone in this.

  23. 53

    Frank, you misunderstood me. I am not hooking up with anyone else while seeing this man. I wrote that I had hooked up with a series of others quickly in the past couple months, and because he has real relationship potential, I want to wait. He took a long time to ask me out again after the first date, and between then and the second I had a one weeklong passionate fling while out of town. I really don’t want to sleep with someone new just a few weeks after sleeping with someone else. I also       have had enough stress in recent years wondering if a man likes me after sex that I want to wait a little longer for my own emotional protection.

  24. 54

    I always try to be one step behind the guy. On one date, I might give him a peck on the cheek, another a kiss on the lips then on next meeting more passionate kissing and so forth – that way it is building up and progress is being made from the guy’s point of view. I communicate what I want effectively so he is left in no doubt. 

    When I read about dating in the US, I find it to be quite different to here. For example, British people don’t tend to date more than one person at a time. If you end up on more than one date then it’s pretty much assumed that you’re on the pathway to exclusivity and anything else would be leading the person on. So if I’m not interested in someone, I can’t really take more than a couple of dates to decide. That third date dilemma you mention, hasn’t ever presented itself to me. If I was going on dates with more than one guy, some people would see me as a bit of a cock tease (although most aren’t like that).

    I’m a bit cautious about dating rules which rely on a person suppressing their gut instinct, and this seems like one of them. I prefer to wait and build up desire, but what if it felt right to do it before the third date? I mean it seems like a pointless rule. Waiting too long is silly anyway because it seems pretty manipulative and doesn’t guarantee you a relationship with a good man. I actually have to make an effort to hold off in my desire for sex, because my British reserve does not extend into the bedroom.

    Dating does seem to be pretty formal in the USA, whereas most people I know here end up getting serious with people they meet in day to day life. For  that reason, I have never been on a formal dinner date with a man. That usually happens after establishing a relationship with him. If I wanted otherwise, some men would think I’m a stuck up princess gold digger type.

  25. 55


    That’s a pretty hard core prejudice!

    The idea that a woman would punish a man for not pushing for sex right away is mind boggling!

  26. 56

    As my brother once put it- he would follow his dick into a meat grinder 🙂
    This coming from a really great, normal, intelligent male.  He goes for sex early because he’s assertive and extroverted, not because he’s a jerk.  And he certainly would never force it.
    I don’t have sex until boyfriend/girlfriend status has been established and would find it to be a huge red flag if a guy wasn’t willing to wait until that point

  27. 57
    David T

    @Aly 56
    You left out “and because to him sex is a meaningless bodily function that feels really good.”  There are plenty of assertive extroverts who do not share your brother’s philosophy.

  28. 58

    I’m sorry, Evan, but I’m having trouble with this one. A decent man doesn’t try to get into a woman’s pants on dates 1,2, or 3. So, if he’s acting like a perveted sleazebag, well, maybe that’s what he is. I know that men have a sexual drive, but he does have some self-control, that is the reason that rape is a crime.

    1. 58.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Margo #59 – Your apology is accepted. It became readily apparent a long time ago that your emotions override your logic on the issue of sex, so I’m not surprised that you wrote something that was objectively untrue. Here’s how fast I can prove that you’re wrong.

      a) I am a decent man. I’m happily married. I’m a good father, provider and husband. I’m 40 and have never cheated on anybody in any relationship. I’ve devoted my life to helping women understand men and make healthier relationship decisions.
      b) I tried (and succeeded) to get into women’s pants on dates 1, 2, and 3.

      I wasn’t wrong for trying – certainly not according to the many women who consensually said yes – and I’m certainly not going to be called a sleazebag or a potential rapist on my own blog.

      So either retract your statement about me (and, by extension, other good men who act on attraction earlier than YOU’RE comfortable with) or stop posting here. I don’t come to work to be insulted by strangers who don’t know me and seem to prefer emotional reasoning to logical reasoning.

  29. 59

    You know what, this is seriously getting ridiculous. No man should EXPECT sex on first, second, third or forth whatever dates. Sex should be done when BOTH people feel comfortable with each other. If he expects sex on first date, then i expect to get paid. We give so many excuses to guys, yet if a girl will expect a guy to buy her a $200 dollar purse on a second date, she is a gold digger….TOTALLY double standards.

    1. 59.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Dina – HUGE difference between TRYING to make a move for sex and EXPECTING sex. NO ONE said that sex should happen only when he wants it. Any parallels to you “getting paid” are way off base, and indicative of your mindset about what you value in men. Put another way: I know MANY people who have consensual sex on the third date. I don’t know ANYONE who has bought a purse for a woman on the third date. Sex is consensual. He tries. She says yes or no. The point of this post is that she shouldn’t be surprised when he tries.

      Oh, and one more thing: if you equate dating to a crude exchange of value: he wants sex, she wants money, he doesn’t need to buy her a $200 purse.

      After all, he already spent $200 on the first 2 dates.

  30. 60

    Margo basically just called me a perverted sleazebag too… 😉 

    I recall trying pretty damn hard to get that button open.

    Sometimes sex is just a raw impulsive reaction to being really really horny and being with someone really really HOT!  

    And sometimes a person just wants to get some because they like sex. Horniness is not a perversion.

    Yes, rape is a perversion but it’s not illegal because a rapist makes a choice. It isn’t any less illegal if a rape is committed by someone (lets say) in the depths of sleepwalking and makes no choice. The punishment may change due to mental state, but not how illegal it is. It’s illegal because it’s violent and harmful.

    Likening horny men who “give it a good try” to rapists is…Just so way off I can hardly take any of this seriously. 

    So i’m not :p


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