When is the right time to have sex when two people first start dating?

Whenever I accidentally word vomit to my parents that I'm going out with a guy, they remind me to not have sex on a first date.

“He'll think you're easy,” my mother always says.

“Wait a year,” my father once told me.

“You're crazy,” I responded. “If my brother was dating a woman who wouldn't have sex with him for a year, you would tell him to dump her ass.”

“Yes,” he said, “but he's not my daughter.”

But it's not just generations past that judge when to have sex on a date. Recently, when I revealed to my friends that I hadn't yet done the deed with my new beau, their jaws dropped.

(We waited 2 weeks to do it.)

“You gotta give him something to look forward to,” I said.

The three-date rule is common, one shared by most of my slack-jawed friends, but is there really an ideal amount of time to postpone coitus?

Perhaps it depends on motive — whether you like the person or whether or not you're only interested in collecting pelts. Or maybe that's a baseless assumption, too? Certainly we're guilty of sleeping with someone on the first date even when we like them enough to wait, only to later tell ourselves that we'd behaved fine and find that, in the end, it all worked out…right?

Does a couple's initial fuck session really weigh all that much on the ultimate development (or demise) of a relationship?

He brought a picnic, it was so romantic! But it was only date two, so I sent his blue-balled ass home.

He brought a picnic, it was so romantic! But it was only date two, so I sent his blue-balled ass home.

Curious as to what others thought, I conducted an informal poll on my social networking handles and profiles to see what others suggested.

Female, Caucasian, 30s, lesbian: If I'm not into your personality and there is no chance of a relationship…first date. If I'm into you and we haven't had sex by date three to see if I should invest more of my time and energy, then I'm backing off, and moving on to other options. It's about not being patient, and having options that always made me feel [impatient]. Good thing I found Ms. Right before I got too old to work it like that. I believe it all started when I was a teenager and had already been with too many pillow princesses, or girls who were just “entertaining” the idea of being with another woman. I ran out of patience.

Male, African-American, 20s, straight, in a relationship: I dated some white women in college who only wanted to sleep with a black man for the experience. I started off having “get back” sex with them to begin with but you can only do that so much before you are disgusted with yourself. So I just began to avoid people like that all together.

Female, Caucasian, 30s, bisexual, single: I wait months. Men hate me. But I want to be comfortable with people. This is perhaps why I have spent most of my life with the same man. If someone pushes me too hard to have sex I start to feel like — as my mom says — they have cooties.

Male, Latino, 20s, straight, married: When you say men pass judgment on women for sleeping with them on the first date, you're giving men way too much credit. Men don't think like that. For instance, she slept with me because I'm awesome, not because she's a whore. Women pass more judgment on other women for sleeping around than men do. Real men don't really care as long as it happens.

Female, Caucasian, 30s, straight, single: People still go on dates?

Male, Caucasian, 20s, straight, single: But maybe the whole “three dates” thing comes from our narrative expectations of climax, seeing as to how trilogies have become such a prevalent form of storytelling. For example, if the hobbits don't toss the ring into Mt. Doom (so to speak) or if the Rebels don't blow up the Death Star (if you catch my drift) or if whatever the fuck happens in the last Matrix movie doesn't happen, then by the end of the third installment we feel cheated. Or not. Probably not.

Something discovered, but not originally considered when posing the question, was how race and/or sexuality play into the first-time sex idea. The blend of responses from Caucasians, African-American, and Latinos — along with straight and gay — exemplifies that maybe there is no standard rule. It depends on the two individuals and their own situation.

When do you think is the right time to first have sex with someone you're dating and what are some factors to consider before making the move?

Melysa Martinez writes a sex column at clatl.com/areyoushaved. Follow her on Twitter at @areyoushaved and for more stories like this follow @AfterDarkLA on Twitter.

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