I have a “5 date rule” meaning that I don’t have sex with a man until we have been on at least 5 dates. I’m torn about whether I should tell men this explicitly. On one hand I don’t want them to think they’ll never get sex (If I don’t tell them) but on the other hand I don’t want them sticking around for exactly 6 dates JUST to get sex. What do you think? Side note, I have this rule because I know that I get attached easily when I have sex with someone so it’s to give myself a buffer to get to know them first. You don’t owe me - or anyone - an explanation as to why you hold-off on having sex. Whatever your reason, it’s a valid and personal decision that doesn’t require anyone’s approval.
That being said, absolutely DO NOT tell men you have a 5 Date Rule. Mainly for the reason above, but also because it will increase your chances of a guy sticking around for 5 dates, sleeping with you, and ghosting. In general, dating rules are side-eyed and frowned upon. These rules are most often associated with books, love gurus and, well, bad advice found on the interwebs. In short, dating rules are suspect because - more often than not - they are not authentic choices. Rather, they are guidelines that lack critical thinking, logic and any credible scientific foundation.
They’re a joke. One constructed by charlatans and experts to sell products and shitty self-written and poorly researched books. Or to provide vulnerable self-doubting women a sense of control in an area where they have none. These coaches - and they’re almost always women - will throw around science-y terms to make what they’re saying sound impressive. In reality, they possess outdated and uninformed ideas about men, women and sexuality and found “facts” to support their Bro-Science. These coaches have zero credentials. In some cases, they imply they have training, degrees and have performed research. If they can’t directly name or link to a specific source of these credentials they’re embellishing or outright lying.
I’ve been communicating with Dr. Robert Froemke of NYU’s Langone Medical Center regarding brain chemicals and their role in sex and attachment. (Of special note: Women make up the majority of Dr. Froemke’s research staff.) Here’s what he had to say on the matter:
It is incredibly easy to cherry- pick the literature, pick up on any one paper or set of findings, and try to extrapolate to humans in general or one's own behavior/physiology in particular, which is really just storytelling or outright BSing lol. One fun fact is that it's now believed that testosterone in the brain is rapidly converted into estrodiol (an estrogen) in both males and females, and so estrogens are the neuroactive compounds in both. Estrogens generally *enhance* oxytocin signaling in different ways. Now, it very well could be that higher levels of oxytocin (and estrogen) make anyone (male, female, non-binary) more socially aware and sensitive to cues that might have been previously overlooked that could signal problems with potential bonding partners.
Actual neuroscientist, folks. Not someone who downloaded a course from Transformation Academy and called it a day.
The other reason you don’t want to divulge your 5 Date Rule is because, without realizing it, you’ll invalidate your self-created boundary. Any reasonably intelligent person knows that humans can’t completely control the bonding process. You might have a general time-frame that works for you, but it’s unlikely one can pick an arbitrary number of dates to determine how long it will take them to be ready for physical intimacy.
If it’s the myth that that women get attached after sex because of oxytocin troubling you, consider this:
Robert C. Froemke, PhD, a neuroscientist who studies oxytocin at New York University concurs. “Oxytocin is not a ‘trust hormone’ or ‘love drug’—there’s really no such thing, biologically speaking. Oxytocin is released during social contact and gaze, mother-infant bonding and birthing, and maybe in some other cases as well,” he explains. “Most current neuroscientific studies of oxytocin indicate that oxytocin doesn’t just always make people happier or more pro-social or willing to bond. Rather, oxytocin seems to act like a volume dial, turning up and amplifying brain activity related to whatever someone is already experiencing. That’s essentially what a lot of different recent studies are converging on for oxytocin.” TL:DR version: Sex or no sex, you’re getting attached. All sex does in relation to attachment is produce surges of chemicals/hormones that enhance a pre-existing attachment.
I will die on this hill: If a man is interested and believes a woman is waiting to have sex because that’s her authentic choice, he’ll wait. If he senses she’s testing his sincerity, he’ll either wait because he’s desperate and has no options or will wait, have sex then ghost out of principle because his integrity was questioned. The question to ask yourself is whether or not this rule you’ve put in place for yourself works or if it’s something you’ve concocted to give you a sense of control. If you want to wait, wait. If a man asks why you’re waiting simply say it’s your preferred approach to physical intimacy. No need to go into detail. In fact, the more detail you provide, the less likely it is he’ll believe you.
Stand by your decision, whatever it is. Just make sure you’re being true to yourself and not basing your decision on the ill-informed opinions of other people.
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