Why Men Should Say No to Sex

couple cuddling on the couch

I’d like to hear your take on how a guy can smoothly handle the condom issue early in the dating relationship (assuming things get hot and heavy on the first few dates before the “safe sex talk” comes up).  

For example, on the first few dates, the guy is not sure if he is going to ‘get lucky’ or not with the woman he’s dating.  

If things start to get intimate early on, the guy is going to look pretty tacky if he just whips a condom out of his pocket when it’s time. The woman would probably think, “The jerk must think I’m always easy that he put a condom in his pocket EXPECTING sex!”

So what’s he supposed to do to make this go more smoothly? If he just whips out a condom out of his wallet, she’ll probably think he’s looking like the promiscuous high school football star.  

The guy could just not bring condoms on the early dates (so it doesn’t look too obvious that he’s just out for sex), and hope the woman has one in her belongings or at her place. But then the woman could be thinking the guy is not very responsible, and he’s leaving it to her to bring the goods.

Perhaps the guy could put some in his glove compartment and tell her, “Hey, I didn’t know we were going to get intimate on this 1st (or 2nd) date, but I do have a condom in my glove compartment, I think.”   It would chill the sudden hot intimacy while he has to dash out to his car, but how else does a guy not look like a jerk in this whole process if things get unexpectedly sexual early on?  



Dear Jim,

First off, kudos to you for asking this. It’s not only a fun question, but an original one, as well.

Second, you’ve clearly thought this through, although I’m quite sure I don’t agree with your final conclusion.

Dashing to the car to retrieve a rubber from the glove compartment? I know you were going for some sort of compromise between prepared and unprepared, but this isn’t it. Might as well turn on Jay Leno and pour two glasses of milk, because your mood has already been ruined.

So let’s discuss the two alternatives you brought up and allow me to counter with one that you don’t seem to have considered.

You’re right about the perception of the guy who carries the condom in his wallet. I did it myself for years and got nothing out of it, except for a bunch of wallets with raised ring outlines. And, as you acknowledged, it comes off as a bit too slick and tacky. While being prepared is usually a good idea, the negative connotations outweigh the benefits of preparedness.

The other idea you came up with is not bringing condoms on dates, in hopes that the woman is prepared. This is a far better scenario, and I don’t believe that it indicates that you’re not responsible. Rather, it indicates that you didn’t expect to be in the position to have sex.

But what I want to posit with the rest of this post is a mind-blowing new take for men on how to deal with sex and early-phase dating.

Don’t do it….

See, that’s the supposition underlying all dates: “When are we gonna have sex?” And although sex can make things very exciting, it often leads to disastrous results.

Unless both parties are on the same page with either an exclusive relationship or an agreed-upon casual relationship, it’s likely that one person will feel stronger than the other. And you know how that plays out:

You two have sex on the second date.

She thinks this means you want to be her boyfriend.

You think it was fun, but don’t see her as your future wife.

Her heart gets broken.

You feel like a jerk.

This is dating, in five lines.

So what I’m proposing here is a whole new paradigm shift — one in which hot-and-heavy, spontaneous, condom scrambling never takes place again.

Why? Because you’re actually going to talk about sex before you have it. And what are you going to say, Jim?

“I don’t have sex with anyone with whom I’m not in an exclusive relationship. Which is why I don’t carry condoms with me anywhere.”

It’s crazy, I know.

But once I started doing this, the results were astounding.

Women would say, “Are you serious?”

And I’d say, “Completely.”

And they’d say, playfully, “You mean if I tried to seduce you right now, you’d say no?”

And I’d say, “That’s right.”

And they’d smile and stare at me and say, “Hmmm…”

And what I’ve established with that one declaration is this:

I’m safe.

I’m not going to rape her.

I’m not trying to take her home tonight.

I’m not out for just sex.

I don’t sleep around.

I have integrity.

I’m surprising.

I’m challenging.

I’m different.

Saying no to spontaneous sex gives a man power. Constantly chasing sex makes him weak. I’m not saying that spontaneous sex isn’t fun, or that I’m morally above it. I’m saying that nothing bad comes out of saying no.

Either you’ll avoid breaking hearts (which is a good thing) or you’ll make sex into something special (which is a good thing). Regardless, she’ll respect you for taking an unusual stand.

And more likely than not, she’ll feel so comfortable with you that if you do choose to have sex, you’ll be able to have it the next time out, but not until you’ve had a genuine conversation about what it means.

Say no to spontaneous sex.

More power, less heartbreak.

Join our conversation (83 Comments).
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  1. 42

    I read this article in amazement…Are we still playing games around our health? Are perhaps some men and women still messing around without condoms perhaps because they never found the right time to bring the condom issue up????

    Wouldn’t it be better to start educating all: that being healthy and ALWAYS carrying a condom if you are a single adult, sexually active (which is normal unless you are a freak) is the thing to do…naturally, without so much strategizing?

    This is nonsense. Are you guys telling me that girls in America still don’t keep condoms in their bedside drawer for fear of looking bad????

    Instead of advising guys to play around with silly phrases to pull out the condom, or give them hints on how to whip out the rubber most appropriately, I think it would be best to use this powerful media to teach people that it is silly in this time and age to continue feeling weird around it.

    If we educate all to BE SAFE and expect the condom PRESENT at all times, let the condom be part of any date just like our cloths are, then there would be nothing weird about pulling IT out, no expectations would be broken or temper with nor awkward moments will occur.

    It will be much easier and natural that if both consenting adults are feeling in the moment, and their cloths are off already, that the most logical move then is to put the condom on even if intercourse is no complete…no fuss, no surprises…it just gets on, without destroying the moment.

    So Jim, does that means you are still getting oral sex without using a flavorful condom?

    I think we need to start smarting up about the condom issue. It is only awkward if you make it so.

  2. 43

    Well, all I can say is that, if a guy behaved as Evan suggests, my respect for him, overall trust, and degree of attraction would all skyrocket at once. It would also open up the floor as to what we were both looking for and, as Evan said, help to prevent a load of messy situations (no pun intended). I can’t say I judge a guy for carrying condoms, nor read anything into it more than he’s the prepared type, as I’m pretty good at telling when they expected it was ME they would get with ‘quick and easy’, and that’s a turn off no matter how attracted to them I am. But any man who’d think this through and be prepared not to have them on him, I applaud. I can definitely say that, even if I was not in the market for a casual relationship and he was, I would consider ‘just playing’ with him as at least I’d know he was solid.

  3. 44

    Well, by the nature of my education i mentally do not accept the ideea of casual, or spontaneous sex.It just feels unapealling for me to get soo intimate with someone you don’t really share anything with.Meeting people from other cultures years back made me familiar with the fact that this is reality on the hard way.And while i appreciate a man beeing prepared with a condom at any time, i would highly appreciate him to specify from the beginning that he has no plans or feelings for commitment, rather than acting the opposite way for sex only…I would see myself able to enjoy a one night onest stand this way and i would respect him for his honesty and responsability.
    Anyway, Evan, if you weren’t already involved with a very good-looking and i’m sure-great lady, i would have been more than honored to have had a date with someone with your atitude at any age of my life…

  4. 45

    Wow, by and large an amazing discussion.

    I think the crux of what I am having difficulty with, Evan, is the inevitable reality that most men will not adopt your suggestion about embracing a exclusivity-based approach. Should they? Probably most of the time it would be emotionally healthier if men *and* women showed a little more restraint or discernment in their a) choices of sexual partners and b) the timing of their intimacy.

    More communication = better than less. Just *talking* about sex before it happens is better, even if one is not adopting a less flexible stance of having to be in an exclusive relationship first.

    Now, to MP, let me quote your whole post so that i don’t take anything out of context:

    “MP Nov 7th 2007 at 11:40 am 31

    p.s. As in that Sex and the City episode where Charlotte doesn’t have sex with her fiance until the night before their wedding and discovers that he’s impotent, I would much rather NOT get into any kind of exclusive relationship without a test drive. I mean, come on, nobody wants to work on a relationship and nurture it for weeks or months only to find out that one or the other person has problems with sex of whatever kind. Who has the time for that??”

    Wow, you must be awfully young, MP. Yes, people should communicate about their sexual histories, functioning and libido with partners or potential partners, because, frankly, that’s only fair. The earlier it happens in the interaction, the better. But to suggest that you don’t have “time” to wait and see how someone’s sexual functioning works out is awfully immature-sounding.

    *And* believe it or not, a hard penis is not the center of the known universe. i am in a long-term committed relationship with a man with Erectile Dysfunction, and i love him very much. He’s not wasting any of my time and cares deeply about my sexual satisfaction.

    If one is *only* looking for a casual playmate, then of course, let blood-flow to the penis guide your decisions. If one is looking for a potential life-mate or spouse, however, i think blood-flow to the brain is rather more important.

  5. 46

    To M:

    I totally agree that I may be very immature, since I am very young. (I’m 24) However, I have had a lot of experience with sex, and relationships as well, and precisely BECAUSE I am young, I fully expect men around my age to be healthy. It is true that many men have problems having sex including ED and others, but the majority of those close to my age should not normally have such problems, at least not yet.

    Of course you are completely correct that intelligence, personality and humor are way more important in the long run, but since this conversation is based on a question relating to condoms, I think focusing on the sexual aspects of a relationship is appropriate, and what we’ve mostly been commenting on.

    I was merely talking about the silliness that is inherent in this question about whether or not to carry condoms. On that particular issue, I believe myself to be very mature indeed. Everyone who is sexually active should have condoms in convenient but safe places in order to protect themselves to the maximum extent possible. We women should NOT think less of a man or judge him poorly based on the fact that he takes responsibility for his own (and our) health. In fact, we should (I do) think highly of him in that case.

  6. 47

    Also, I resent anyone’s assumptions (if anyone was thinking of these) that if they are in a long-term committed and exclusive relationship or are married, they have a special authority.

    Sex and love are different for everyone.

    We all have unique experience and I have been enjoying hearing everyone’s opinions on all sides of these issues.

  7. 48

    One more response – I mentioned the lack of time to wait because as I said in my original post, I have had at least one negative experience in which the man wanted, for some reason he WOULD NOT explain to me at all, to wait until he was in a true relationship before he would have sex with a woman. Frankly, he was not worth waiting for, and since he would not explain it to me, I could only assume that there was something wrong with him (physically or otherwise) or else he just felt like withholding information from me.

    I am in graduate school, and I also work. So I’m sorry but I absolutely do not have the time (or patience, obviously) to date someone for months before I have an opportunity to see how they really are.

    Furthermore, a person’s attitude and effort during sex is something that I have found to be highly reflective of their general personality. If they are selfish in sex, they are usually selfish in general. If they are generous in sex, they are usually generous in general. And as we all know for sure, people very very rarely change in significant ways.

  8. 49

    Great comments. I wish people in general were always this clear and communicative about their expections regarding sex and relationships. The condom issue is just a red herring.

    I’ve always thought the problem, aside from submissive and aggressive biological hardwiring, is the dual nature that “dating” provides: an entryway into either casual sex or a serious relationship. Unfortunately, it’s just vague enough that it lends easily to deception. Women have to play dual roles to get attention from biased men (those that are making an effort and are almost always on one role), which doesn’t create a win-win situation when both parties are mismatched. Notice how most of those that said they would react disfavorably to hearing the phrase are sexually active singles, i.e. they’re not relationship-minded and just want sex. And vice versa.

    Believe it or not, but I actually use the phrase and I’ve always meant it. But in my defense, I don’t typically associate with women that view society’s and the media’s unrelentless obsession with sex as the “Be All, End All, Big Whopper” that the majority perceive it as, so it doesn’t come off as insincere.

    I’ll wager good money that 95%+ of guys would not be honest to suddenly start using the phrase, so I really favor the moderated version as suggested by Craig. Sorry, Evan.


  9. 50

    MP sounds pretty mature AND very intelligent to me. He makes total sense and I did not see him write that you have to jump into bed on the 1st or 2nd date, what I DID see him write is that there is no point in waiting “forever” before you find out that you’re not sexually compatible. I am a 48 year old woman who was married for 22 years before divorcing, who at my “old age” I find that sexual compatibility is very important to me!! I am NOT trying to confuse the act of physical sex with love, I DO agree with M whose mate has E.D. as there is way more to a relationship than “blood flow to the penis”, however, at the same time, if one can be fortunate to have both, then I agree with MP.
    By the way, I”M IN THE INFECTIOUS DISEASE industry…I preach safe sex weekly AND I practice it. I have never had a problem with a guy bringing a condom, but I’m always prepared and have never had the guy be insulted blah blah. I also do NOT “put out” right away, but there is a balance for me. I’ve had my fair share of dysfunctional men and it does play havoc with a relationship. PLEASE M, try not to judge my comments, I know that if I truly loved someone, I would just have to accept his dysfunctional problems, so I’m not judging you, I think you’re wonderful in fact.
    Matzoball, yes isn’t Philly wonderful…I went on business to Temple Univ area yesterday and was petrified due to our “homicide city of the nation” reputation.
    Again, M you sound really intelligent and cool and don’t let anyone try and take that away from you.

  10. 51

    I didnt have the time to read all the other comments so this may have been said already, but i think its good thing to mention that leaving the condom in the wallet is a little unsafe since it can get warm w/ body heat. and leaving condoms in the car is even worse. if its hot out, the car is scorcing and the condom isnt supposed to be in high heat. if its cold out, the car is freezing and condoms arent supposed to be in very low temps. NEVER a good idea to leave them in your car!!! i say leave them at your house and hope for the best!

  11. 52

    It is very rare these days to get responsible advice from a man as in as Evan. Ditto Evan’s advice. Incidentally I am a woman.

  12. 53

    I think that is the dumbest Idea I have ever heard. If she is going to fool around with you on the first or second date then she isn’t going to be analyzing if he is thinking he would have gotten laid or not because she is more likely than not a slut. If it goes to the third and fourth date and they keep seeing each other (the first “couple” of dates) then something is obviously building and she will likewise understand that you are prepared as you had to expect it to happen sometime soon. Also reccomending someone not bring condoms with you is highly irresponsible especially since in reality many dates will involve going out and alcohol and IF that alcohol leads to lowered inhibitions on both thier part then if as you reccomend he not “whip it out” then many people might still have sex anyway- which might be irresponsible, but its reality. Also, as someone else said, it is not a wise idea to keep a condom in the wallet or the car, however it is better to take one along than to not bring any at all.

  13. 54
    Kat Wilder

    I don’t like to make hard-and fast rules about sex while dating. It’s a very individual thing. If he and I are both into each other, I don’t see a problem (and there should never, ever be a problem about safe sex, only if you don’t practice it. Who has the condom doesn’t really matter, does it, as long as it’s being used). And if someone is making the decision to have sex while in an alcohol-enhanced state, well, that’s just plain dumb. Control your drinking if you can’t make smart choices while under the influence (and few of us can). I’d actually push for no drinking on a first date over no sex.

    The problem really is the expectations after sex, what it “means.” Many women expect that having sex with a guy means that it will lead to more dates or to a relationship. We all know that that isn’t always true. So if you are a woman who thinks like that, then YOU need to take responsibility and say what Evan is telling guys to say, “I don’t have sex, etc…”

    Sure, withholding sex gives the person “power,” but being genuine, open and honest (and safe) to yourself and to a potential partner is way more empowering.

  14. 55

    As a woman, I understand and respect Evan’s point about men showing restraint in the face of an opportunity to have sex. In the same way it is our reality that sex happens between married people, the couple that just met an hour ago, and every other situation between – so it is always better to be prepared than unprepared. I think sexually active women should have their own supply of condoms for the simple reason that they can know they have been stored in a cool dry place. You wouldn’t go on a camping trip with a first aid kit with one band-aid, so why limit yourself to having one condom?

    I agree with the last comment that having a condom there plus a willingness to use it is most important, therefore I don’t see how the comments on this question never made it far past a discussion about latex. Anyone who would not use a condom during sex (at least in a non-monogamous relationship) is an idiot who puts him/herself and others at risk, and those who are going to split hairs worrying about looking awkward fetching one from the car or breaking the mood to head to the corner store is completely missing the point.

    What is most important about Evan’s advice is that he is encouraging all people having sex to use their brains first. Given that 50% of the roughly 6 million pregnancies that occur in the U.S. are unintended, and that 1 in 4 college student has at least one STD (just to look at a narrow demographic) BRAINS ARE NOT BEING USED ENOUGH WHEN IT COMES TO SEX!!! Don’t get it confused: a person’s right to enjoy indulging their sexual appetite doesn’t make them entitled to a pat on the back for taking basic precautions when there is so much more thinking that aught to come after pulling out a condom.

    If you are the type who prefers to have sex soon after meeting someone before it’s established that you are in a relationship, then make it a priority to have the conversation about safe sex and expectations (physical and emotional) ASAP – then get hot and sweaty all you want.

    The condom (in addition to birth control) is a cornerstone of our concept of safe sex. But the point is that a condom DOES NOT protect against all the possible “OH $#!&” moments that can occur after what ultimately amounts to a brief sexual encounter.

    Condoms break, pregnancy occurs my accident, diseases are caught, emotions are strained. Watch any daytime talk show and you see stories of mostly young, single people who are unfortunately joined at the hip because a child resulted from a casual sexual encounter.

    WHY TAKE THE RISK? You might be consenting to one sexual encounter and think that with a condom you are good to go, but sadly the reality is that every time you get involved with a person EVEN WHEN SEX DOESN’T HAPPEN you can get more than you bargained for. PLEASE BE SMART!!

  15. 56

    …I have said no to sex early on, and it does seem to turn up the heat. I stay away from the “sexy,’ women, I wonder if that has anything to do with it…on account of them being less experienced…I don’t carry a condom in my wallet, opportunities have always been far and few……

  16. 57

    yeah, its funny how waiting a night or two before acting like the normal Neanderthal that we are makes the ladies go wild, “oh my god, he didnt try to sleep with me, hes so nice”

    but seriously if there is no condom, in this day and age, would any guy just stick it in if it was a random hookup? have people forgotten about HPV or all the stuff that transfers from skin to skin?

  17. 58

    To raygun,

    be careful…….after three months of seeing my girlfriend, she finally talked me into “not” using a condom, and….she gave me an infection…a mild one, but, still an infection….

  18. 59

    When a guy I started seeing told me that he didn’t think we should have sex before really discussing it and our relationship, it not only made me respect him, but it made me want him so much more. And he’s turned out to be the best guy I’ve met…I’m so used to having to say no, and am so turned off by the guys that try so hard to get in my pants on a first date…especially because I tend to like older men, so they think I am easy. But this one won over my heart. And the sex is great hah.

  19. 60

    i hate condoms and so do most women. i’m not convinced for the necessity of them except for avoiding babies.

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