Ask Sarah – When to NOT have sex?

Dear Sarah,

I’m convinced that God intended physical intimacy as a gift that should be reserved for marriage. However, I get the impression that this is not the normal practice on the dating scene, especially when you’re a grown adult, even within Christian communities. This is a really important faith practice to me, so much so that I want to find someone who shares the same perspective. That brings me to two related questions: 1) How unusual do you think this belief is within the 30’s+ dating scene? 2) How do you advise someone who holds this belief to communicate it both (a) early enough to be forthright and (b) not so early that you’re a creepster?


Dear Sex-Saver,

What a great question – and you’ve definitely come to the right place.
I am an expert in how to NOT have sex.  In fact – a whole lotta of my single life has been comprised of just that.

Oh…that’s not what you meant?


Well, regardless of where your ‘line’ is for sex, most people have SOME standard they try to follow…and when should such a thing come up?  How do you talk about it with a potential relationship partner?  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first question you asked was how common your perspective is.  I can only answer from my own experience, but I’d say it’s (sadly) EXTREMELY RARE.  I can count on one hand the number of people I know or have ever met in this season of dating,  who hold to the ‘wait until marriage’ sexual standard.

Now, that certainly doesn’t comment on the rightness or wrongness of anything.  It’s just to say – VERY few people I’ve interacted with fall into this camp.  So, yes, that makes it really difficult to hold to your beliefs…when almost no one else is – even in the Christian community.
Le sigh…

One side note of encouragement on this front:  it works to your advantage that you’re a man.  Men who want to wait until marriage, (in my opinion) have an easier go than women who do.  Women who want to abstain have to find a man who wants to wait (and we all know that, statistically, men – on the whole – have a greater or more seemingly ‘urgent’ sex drive than women.  Oh…chill people.  I know it’s not true across the board.  I also know that sex drives are expressed differently between the sexes… but c’mon… typically men want sex sooner and more aggressively than women do.)  Anyway – if that’s true, it’s going to be a lot easier for YOU to convince a woman to wait, than for me to convince a man.  Women are touched/impressed with men’s resolve in this arena.  Men are typically just turned off.  I’m just sayin’…

I would say this… like SO many other sticky-wickets of dating… people are a whole lot more likely to get on board with something they might not otherwise agree with or choose…if they find themselves smitten by you.  I’m not saying to TRICK people, but I AM saying…let them see how great you are before dropping the “fat chance of gettin’ lucky tonight, babe!” card on ’em.

On my online profile, I have it listed like this:

waiting for sex 6


Why that one?  Because it’s the truth – but it’s not enough to scare someone away.  I’d much rather wait until after having met a guy and started getting to know each other – to drop the “I’m kinda a prude” hammer on him.  It’s my HOPE that by that time, he’ll be so insanely smitten with me that he’ll be willing to wait longer than he had originally planned.

Another thing I did – just to put this on the radar of anyone interested… was to put this in my profile:

waiting for sex 1

And it’s not just religious folk who think it’s a good idea to wait.  Even Steve Harvey tells women not to “give up the cookie” for 90 days.  That’s a long time in the modern dating world!  Why 90 days?  Because Christians or not, smart people know that when you hold off on sex… there are loads of relational advantages, not the least of which is seeing if the person is even willing to stick around to get to know and love YOU!

And there are lots of other ways to let someone know you’re sexually conservative without spilling the “on the wedding night” beans so early it scares ’em.  I’ll sometimes use the opportunity of flirty texting to throw it out there.  If a guy makes a joking reference to sex (which…hello….give any of them enough time, and they all will), I’ll sometimes text back, “haha – rewrrrr!  But I should tell you… as much as I love the entendre jokes and flirty banter, I’m actually a good girl.”  I’ve never had a guy respond negatively to that.  Probably because if I’m texting him, he’s likely a decent fellow – and they tend to actually WANT to date someone with a bit of moral fiber in her character.

Also, if you use OKCupid (which is the one I recommend to people), you get to answer tons of questions about all kinds of topics.  Then, when you have a potential match, not only can you peruse his/her profile, but you can see how your answers line up with theirs – AND you can search by category!  What?!

waiting for sex 5

It also lets you leave comments on the questions to clarify your stance.  Here’s an example of one I wrote – to let people know I’m not a goodie goodie for lack of desire…but because I think there’s something there worth waiting for.

waiting for sex 3

So, I guess what I’m saying is this:

Don’t focus on the fact that the majority of the dating/single world doesn’t hold to your standard.  Focus on getting to know someone who seems otherwise great – let her see how great YOU are, and she might just be willing to wait for cookies…

In the meantime, you can put some hints out there – (see above examples) – but I wouldn’t explicitly bring it up until at LEAST date 3.  And trust me… a guy who will wait to talk/joke/intimate about sex… is a pretty dreamy anomaly in today’s dating world.  Women (the good ones, at least), will find it refreshing.  Let her know you’re interested and you desire her, without chomping at the bit.  That’s the sexiest thing in the world.

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