By Courtney Edwards
As a Black man, embarking on the relatively difficult task of finding a soulmate, I am consistently asking myself this one question: How soon, after meeting someone, should I become sexually involved with her? Three months? Six months? After just a few dates? There is really no easy answer to this question.
The general consensus seems to be that one should see how things are going with that person before they decide when – or whether – they should become sexually involved. Do you feel a connection with the person? Is there strong chemistry between the two of you? Are you becoming acquainted with the person relatively quickly? These are all determining factors. But, shouldn’t we be looking for these factors regardless? If the goal is to truly find a soulmate, then what’s the rush? Right?
As I reflect on my past dating experiences, I can say with relative certainty that I wasn’t always looking for these factors in the utmost earnestness. At some point, the lines had become distorted and I wasn’t sure if I was getting to know a woman because I genuinely liked her and wanted to get to know her or because I wanted to find myself encapsulated within her nether region.
And after the deed was done, my ability to discern whether I really liked her because I felt this strong personal connection and affinity, was greatly compromised. Was I just looking through the scope of rose-colored lenses? Were my feelings the result of some sort of self-fulfilling prophesy? A ploy orchestrated by the most primitive and compulsive part of my consciousness – the Id as characterized by Sigmund Freud – to satisfy the most innate desires for sexual gratification, convincing my mind that the woman I saw before me had all of the characteristics that I was looking for?
This is why I had to institute some sort of policy for myself dictating how soon after meeting a member of the opposite sex that I would consider becoming sexually involved with them. I just had to make sure that I was sexually involved with the person because I liked them and not simply liking the person because I was sexually involved. Again, if the goal is finding a person to be with for the unforeseeable future, then what’s the hurry? Right?
Studies show that the longer couples wait until having sex the more positive the outcome of their relationships. Couples that waited longer experienced better quality of communication, greater relationship stability and satisfaction, and an increase in the overall quality of sex, according to researchers at Brigham Young University. Alternately, couples that had sex prior to a month experienced the most negative relationship outcomes.
Furthermore, waiting to become sexually involved with someone may not only contribute to a longer, more fulfilling relationship, but it could potentially keep you healthier in the end. Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, are a real risk. In the United States, the estimated lifetime risk of contracting HIV is 1 in 16 for Black males and 1 in 30 for Black females. Compare that to the 1 in 104 risk for White males and the 1 in 588 risk for White females. Unfortunately, the risks within the Black community are substantially higher.
Ultimately, I have decided to implement a three-month abstinence policy – famously or infamously known as “the 90-day rule.” I will not become sexually involved with a member of the opposite sex until after at least three months of dating. This means going on multiple dates, communicating on the phone and by text message fairly consistently, and spending time at each other’s homes without any sexual activity being initiated.
I just feel as if three months is enough time for two individuals to learn about one another and make an informed decision as to whether becoming intimate would be the best for both individuals. Now, I’m not saying that a relationship will fail miserably if a couple has sex after the first date or within the first month of dating because there are many examples that say contrary. What I am saying is that it wouldn’t hurt to wait, though? If the person truly likes you, they will be willing to wait.
I have decided to wait at least three months before engaging in sexual activity with someone whom I’m interested. You have to determine what’s right for you. Where do you draw the line? What kind of relationship do you want to have?
Remember, it’s your body, your choice.
Courtney Edwards writes about love, relationships, and his many adventures while dating in New York City. Check out his blog The Court of New York or follow him on Twitter @TheCourtSpeaks.
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