It’s a question that many people ask themselves when starting a new relationship: when is the right time to initiate intimacy in a relationship? Should you jump in right away or take things slow and see where they go? It can be a delicate balance to strike, as the timing, quality, and quantity of sex desired varies from person to person.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when to experience sexual intimacy in relationships, there are some pros and cons to consider for each option. Here are some things to keep in mind when making your decision:

Taking It Slow:

The dates you’ve been on together are going really well, but now you’re wondering if it’s time to go to the next level.

Pros:

  • You get to savor every “first.” Your first kiss, first date, first inside joke – taking it slow can help build anticipation for each new milestone.
  • You’ll have time to build trust and intimacy with your partner, which can lead to a more meaningful and satisfying sexual experience.
  • It can be a good way to ensure that you and your partner are on the same page about the relationship and what you both want from it.

Cons:

  • If you take too much time, your partner may start to wonder what’s wrong with them or with the relationship.
  • Touch is a primary way humans feel connection, so if that’s not happening after a while, the window of opportunity may close faster than expected.
  • You might miss out on sexual chemistry if you wait too long, and you won’t know if you have that physical connection until you try.

Jumping In!

Let’s say sparks are flying, you’re feeling super sexy, the vibes are all good and you just know this person is the type who will respect your boundaries. You’re thinking, “What do I have to lose?”

Pros:

  • If you decide to get intimate sooner rather than later, you’ll know right away if you have a physical connection. No wasting time!
  • Obviously, sex can be a lot of fun and provide an amazing rush of dopamine. It may even strengthen the emotional bond between you and your partner.

Cons:

  • If you barely know the person you’re with, it may be tough to get the momentum back on track if things go off-kilter. After all, the unexpected can happen to the best of us. It will probably be tough to get the momentum back on track. Uncomfortable moments might translate into insecure feelings if it’s too early in the relationship.
  • Even if your heart is going pitter-patter, the other person might just think you’re there to take advantage of them instead of wanting to build a meaningful relationship. This could put a strain on the relationship before it’s even begun.
  • You can simply regret it later if you feel like you moved too fast, or you didn’t take the time to build a stronger foundation.

According to Seeking’s dating expert, Emma Hathorn: “There is no right or wrong time for shifts in your relationship, and there is no right or wrong pace. In the end, it’s about what makes both parties feel comfortable, and what feels most natural to both of you.” 

The truth is that the perfect timing for sexual intimacy varies from person to person and relationship to relationship. There is no right or wrong pace, and it’s up to both partners to decide what makes them feel comfortable and what feels most natural to them. It’s important to have open communication with your partner and make sure you’re both on the same page.

Remember that timing is only one part of the equation. Trust, communication, and mutual respect are key components of a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship. By taking the time to build these foundations, you’ll be able to create a sexual relationship that’s right for you and your partner.

Now, having said that, please humor us while we share a few simple PSAs: 

1) Always use protection if you do decide to become intimate in a relationship

If you decide this person isn’t worth more of your time the next morning, imagine how the situation plays out if one of you gets pregnant or contracts an STD. Ugh. 

2) Remember that substances can really cloud your judgment.

Keep the number of drinks to a minimum when on a date. After all, you do want to remember everything (the good, the bad, and the really freakin’ fun moments), right?

3) Sometimes it’s nice to just give and receive nothing more than a hug—with permission, of course.

It lets the person who paid for the date know his generosity was appreciated and it allows the recipient to feel good about herself, even if there might not be a second date. 

4) Stick to your boundaries and communicate them clearly to your partner.

“Open communication with your partner—honesty, above all—will save you time and clear any misunderstandings about timing,” Hathorn explains. “In the end, relationships are about connection, and being on the same page is what’s going to make that connection work. Make sure to have frank discussions about intimacy in your relationship, without judgment.”


Now that you’re ready to embark on a sexy new journey that might start as a slow burn or turn into a passionate three-alarm fire, log in to your Seeking account or create your Seeking profile. And when you need some great date ideas and advice, read our other posts on the Seeking blog.

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