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Parallax - Advice            February 5, 2001

  Dates before the deed

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What is the deal with sex and dating? Some say three dates…some say ten. Does it matter? What if you've known someone for several months? And does age come into play (i.e. dating a man ten years older - I'm twenty-seven, he's thirty-seven)?

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Her view:

Dear Keeping-Track,

Nope, doesn't matter. If it's on the first date you're a slut. Beyond that, you choose - whatever feels right. You should know his first and last name, and maybe some other key data points. As for the third or tenth date, the number is irrelevant. It's all about your feelings, and your level of comfort.

Don't let silly pressures (like waiting around for a year or whatever the appropriate amount of time is) interfere with your good judgment. If you feel ready, then you're ready. If you have the slightest doubt, you should wait. There's no rule and it won't matter in the long run. Have at it, and have fun with no regrets.

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His view:

Dear Keeping-Track,

This is one of those instances in which hard and fast rules make little sense. If a person has a rule, they should also have the judgment to bend it, depending on the situation. Keep that in mind when you run into one of those pig-headed men who say, 'Sleep with me by date number three, or else.'

Here are some guidelines, from a male viewpoint (though admittedly, these don't apply to all men):

1) Women have the final word. Any decent, half-intelligent guy understands this and will take his cue accordingly.

2) The longer the woman waits, the more the guy will respect her. It's rather stupid, but generally true.

3) The longer the woman waits, the more likely the guy will get bored and cut loose.

Resolving the tension between '2' and '3' is, of course, the quandary that women inherit in exchange for the prerogative in guideline '1.'

I don't think a difference in age alters these rules, though it is probably true that older guys are more patient. Don't focus on the number of dates. The important factor is how long - and how well - you've known each other.

And yes, it's all a silly game.

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