Get Real! When Is It the “Right Time” for Sex?

Heather Corinna

On Get Real!, Heather talks to a young woman wondering when it's the "right time" to have sex to keep guys interested.

Editor’s Note: We’re delighted to bring Get Real!, Heather Corinna’s
popular sexuality advice column, to you on Rewire, now every week!

Jes asks:

I am 22 and
was the kinda girl that always had a boyfriend, all through junior high
and high school and moved in with my h.s. sweetheart. I have become
single for the last year and truly enjoy it. I rarely engage in
intercourse (major STD fears) but do enjoy some PG13 action. I date
very often and like to try and keep it all very old fashioned. It’s not
a rule I’ve made but I don’t kiss on the first date and keep ’em
wanting more till at least the 4th date when they finally get a lil
makeout. I was casually dating a guy for about a month and felt he was
really into me. I wanted to have sex so we did and now he is MIA. My
girlfriend said thats what will always happen, they’ll stick around til
you put out than they peace out. 2 of my guy friends said they like a
lil chase but if after a month of hot dates they still don’t get any
action at all they move on to the next. So when do I put out? To wait
or not! I know theres no general rule or cookie cutter answer here but
I would like all of your personal opinions. People say just wait til
the time is right but c’mon… I’m not 16 and the time is always past
due and very right. Thank you for the advice as well as this excellent
site! Keep up the good work!

Heather replies:

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There is no one way to do things when it comes to sex which will guarantee that a partner sticks around or does not.

There also is not any one way men feel or behave when it comes to
sex and relationships, nor any one way women do. Generalizations about
these kinds of things are very infrequently helpful and are often
grossly inaccurate. When people in small social communities talk about
these things, they tend to forget that social circles tend to have
their own dynamics, which become more pervasive the more everyone
starts to behave the same way, believing something to be universal
which is usually nothing of the sort.

Ultimately? When you should have sex with a partner is at whatever
time it is that it’s what you both want to do together, and at a time
when it’s something you both feel ready for, individually. None of us
is perpetually ready for or interested in sex with everyone and anyone
at a given time because we’re a certain age or because we’re single.
When we want sex, and with whom we want to have it, is going to be
based on unique sets of circumstances at any given time. We might go on
six dates and never want to have sex with a given person (or they with
us), and then be on one date with someone else and very strongly feel
that mutual desire and want. One set of rules for every person we date
only makes so much sense, unless you just know there are things you
unilaterally do NOT want to do, with anyone, period, or in a certain
time frame or situation (some people, for instance are only comfortable
having sex within committed monogamy, while some people can be the
opposite at times, only comfortable with more casual sex, for
instance). I’m 38 years old and have been very sexually active for
decades now, but that doesn’t mean I always want to have sex just
because I enjoy sex or am the age I am. We’re not always in the mood,
we’re not always attracted to just anyone, and interpersonal dynamics
and chemistry between any two (or more) people vary wildly.

Trying to schedule sex in such a way that’s not about sex at all,
but about trying to control someone else’s behavior by withholding sex
both doesn’t work to give you that result, and tends to take the sex
out of sex altogether: sex with someone else is about sharing physical
and emotional pleasure and adventure, about developing intimacy (either
just during that one time, or, if a relationship continues, about
developing more over time), about getting to know someone in a sexual
way. A healthy sexual relationship between equals who mutually respect
one another isn’t about a barter to get someone to stick around or give
you a commitment you want. In my opinion, withholding sex not because
that’s what you want to do in terms of your desire or readiness, but
because you’re trying to convince someone else to spend time with you
in the hopes that eventually you’ll put out is manipulative and
sex-negative, and turns sex and dating into a cheap powerplay rather
than a shared expression of mutual accord, pleasure and desire, which
is what it’s all supposed to be.

No matter when you have sex, not everyone you date is going to share
the same end goals you may have, or want to continue a relationship of
any kind. Sometimes, the reason people move on after having sex is
because sex really was all they wanted. Sometimes, it’s because they
discovered with that sex — or might have known before, but figured
they’d see how the sex was to see if that changed their feelings —
that they just don’t really feel a connection with that person that’s
sexual or romantic. Sometimes, they move on because the sex just wasn’t
very compelling for them, to the point they’re not interested in having
another go, even if it does improve over time.

If you want to know what someone is really looking for when you’re dating them, the way to find that out is to talk about it.
Ask if they’re looking for something long-term or more short-term, open
or monogamous, exclusively sexual or something which is also romantic
or about friendship. Express what you’re looking for yourself.
Obviously, you don’t want to get too into that on a first date (that’d
be a bit overwhelming for anyone), but as you move into second or third
dates, those are totally appropriate discussions. And if you feel like
you’re only comfortable with things becoming sexual once you’ve
procured a given commitment, then you voice that need. You’re far more
likely to find people for whom that’s a shared want by talking than you
are by withholding sex or having sex. If the people you’re dating
aren’t initiating these kinds of conversations, then maybe you need to
open that door yourself. Ideally, one or both people in a dating
relationship will bring these things up soon enough.

The guy friends you have may be saying what they are because they
want a sexual relationship, and feel that at a certain point, if it’s
not put forth, that’s not what the person they’re dating wants. They’re
then moving on because they feel they and those dates don’t share the
same wants in a relationship. That’s not unreasonable, but it’d sure be
a lot easier for them to find out if they really do or don’t share
those same desires by just talking about it. These really just aren’t
things we can intuit or discern based on when someone does or doesn’t
have sex with us.

None of this is to say it’s not perfectly fine for you to enjoy the
anticipation of sex when it comes to putting it off in your dating
patterns. It sounds like you like that part of it. Anticipation can be
pretty exciting, after all, and really rev up desire and arousal. I’d
just encourage you to think about it that way, and approach it that
way, than to see it as a way to keep someone wanting more in the hopes
of fending off what it sounds like you and your mates think is an
inevitable escape after sex finally happens.

So, when is the right time for you to have sex with someone you’re dating?
When it’s — and by it, I mean sex, plain and simple — what both of
you want, in a situation or scenario that feels right for both of you.

While how two people communicate in terms of sex, and how two people
conduct a sexual relationship certainly has an effect on if something
good sustains itself, any time you have sex with someone you just have
to accept that you cannot control how sex will make either of you feel
about the other, nor can it — or the absence of it — control if
someone will be interested in continuing the relationship.

As an aside? Again, no matter what the situation is when you don’t
want to have sex, that’s fine. But when it comes to sexually
transmitted infections, waiting a few dates for sex alone doesn’t
protect you from sexually transmitted infections: either not having sex
at all, or using safer sex practices with any sex you have is what we
know prevents the transmission of STIs. So, I’m including a link below
to help get you filled in on that.

Here are a few extra links to help you out:

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Tim Kaine Outlines Plan to ‘Make Housing Fair’

Ally Boguhn

“A house is more than just a place to sleep. It's part of the foundation on which a family can build a life,” wrote Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). “Where you live determines the jobs you can find, the schools your children can attend, the air you breathe and the opportunities you have. And when you are blocked from living where you want, it cuts to the core of who you are.”

Donald Trump made some controversial changes to his campaign staff this week, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) noted his commitment to better housing policies.

Trump Hires Controversial Conservative Media Figure

Republican presidential nominee Trump made two notable additions to his campaign staff this week, hiring Breitbart News’ Stephen Bannon as CEO and GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager.

“I have known Steve and Kellyanne both for many years. They are extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win,” said Trump in a Wednesday statement announcing the hires. “I believe we’re adding some of the best talents in politics, with the experience and expertise needed to defeat Hillary Clinton in November and continue to share my message and vision to Make America Great Again.”

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Both have been criticized as being divisive figures.

Conway, for example, previously advised then-client Todd Akin to wait out the backlash after his notorious “legitimate rape” comments, comparing the controversy to “the Waco with David Koresh situation where they’re trying to smoke him out with the SWAT teams.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Conway is also “often cited by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim organizations such as the think tank Center for Security Policy and NumbersUSA.”

Under Bannon’s leadership, “mainstream conservative website” changed “into a cesspool of the alt-right,” suggested the publication’s former editor at large, Ben Shapiro, in a piece for the Washington Post‘s PostEverything. “It’s a movement shot through with racism and anti-Semitism.”

Speaking with ABC News this week, Kurt Bardella, who also previously worked with Bannon at Breitbart, alleged that Bannon had exhibited “nationalism and hatred for immigrants, people coming into this country to try to get a better life for themselves” during editorial calls.

“If anyone sat there and listened to that call, you’d think that you were attending a white supremacist rally,” said Bardella.

Trump’s new hire drew heated criticism from the Clinton campaign in a Wednesday press call. “The Breitbart organization has been known to defend white supremacists,” said Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. After pointing to an analysis from the SPLC linking Breitbart to the extremist alt-right movement, Mook listed a number of other controversial positions pushed by the site.

“Breitbart has compared the work of Planned Parenthood to the Holocaust. They’ve also repeatedly used anti-LGBT slurs in their coverage. And finally, like Trump himself, Breitbart and Bannon have frequently trafficked in all sorts of deranged conspiracy theories from touting that President Obama was not born in America to claiming that the Obama Administration was ‘importing more hating Muslims.’”

“It’s clear that [Trump’s] divisive, erratic, and dangerous rhetoric simply represents who he really is,” continued Mook.

Kaine Outlines Plan to “Make Housing Fair”

Clinton’s vice presidential nominee Kaine wrote an essay for CNN late last week explaining how the Clinton-Kaine ticket can “make housing fair” in the United States.

“A house is more than just a place to sleep. It’s part of the foundation on which a family can build a life,” wrote Kaine. “Where you live determines the jobs you can find, the schools your children can attend, the air you breathe and the opportunities you have. And when you are blocked from living where you want, it cuts to the core of who you are.”

Kaine shared the story of Lorraine, a young Black woman who had experienced housing discrimination, whom Kaine had represented pro bono just after completing law school.

“This is one issue that shows the essential role government can play in creating a fairer society. Sen. Ed Brooke, an African-American Republican from Massachusetts, and Sen. Walter Mondale, a white Democrat from Minnesota, came together to draft the Fair Housing Act, which protects people from discrimination in the housing market,” noted Kaine, pointing to the 1968 law.

“Today, more action is still needed. That’s why Hillary Clinton and I have a bold, progressive plan to fight housing inequities across Americaespecially in communities that have been left out or left behind,” Kaine continued.

The Virginia senator outlined some of the key related components of Clinton’s “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda,” including an initiative to offer $10,000 in down payment assistance to new homebuyers that earn less than the median income in a given area, and plans to “bolster resources to enforce Fair Housing laws and fight housing discrimination in all its forms.”

The need for fair and affordable housing is a pressing issue for people throughout the country.

“It is estimated that each year more than four million acts of [housing] discrimination occur in the rental market alone,” found a 2015 analysis by the National Fair Housing Alliance.

No county in the United States has enough affordable housing to accommodate the needs of those with low incomes, according to a 2015 report released by the Urban Institute. “Since 2000, rents have risen while the number of renters who need low-priced housing has increased,” explained the report. “Nationwide, only 28 adequate and affordable units are available for every 100 renter households with incomes at or below 30 percent of the area median income.”

What Else We’re Reading

CBS News’ Will Rahn penned a primer explaining Trump campaign CEO Bannon’s relationship to the alt-right.

White supremacists and the alt-right “rejoice[d]” after Trump hired Bannon, reported Betsy Woodruff and Gideon Resnick for the Daily Beast.

Clinton published an essay in Teen Vogue this week encouraging young people to fight for what they care about, learn from those with whom they disagree, and get out the vote.

“In calling for ‘extreme vetting’ of foreigners entering the United States, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested a return to a 1950s-era immigration standard—since abandoned—that barred entry to people based on their political beliefs,” explained USA Today.

Trump wants to cut a visa program “his own companies have used … to bring in hundreds of foreign workers, including fashion models for his modeling agency who need exhibit no special skills,” according to a report by the New York Times.

A Koch-backed group “has unleashed an aggressive campaign to kill a ballot measure in South Dakota that would require Koch-affiliated groups and others like them to reveal their donors’ identities.”

News Health Systems

The Crackdown on L.A.’s Fake Clinics Is Working

Nicole Knight

"Why did we take those steps? Because every day is a day where some number of women could potentially be misinformed about [their] reproductive options," Feuer said. "And therefore every day is a day that a woman's health could be jeopardized."

Three Los Angeles area fake clinics, which were warned last month they were breaking a new state reproductive transparency law, are now in compliance, the city attorney announced Thursday.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a press briefing that two of the fake clinics, also known as crisis pregnancy centers, began complying with the law after his office issued notices of violation last month. But it wasn’t until this week, when Feuer’s office threatened court action against the third facility, that it agreed to display the reproductive health information that the law requires.

“Why did we take those steps? Because every day is a day where some number of women could potentially be misinformed about [their] reproductive options,” Feuer said. “And therefore every day is a day that a woman’s health could be jeopardized.”

The facilities, two unlicensed and one licensed fake clinic, are Harbor Pregnancy Help CenterLos Angeles Pregnancy Services, and Pregnancy Counseling Center.

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Feuer said the lawsuit could have carried fines of up to $2,500 each day the facility continued to break the law.

The Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act requires the state’s licensed pregnancy-related centers to display a brief statement with a number to call for access to free and low-cost birth control and abortion care. Unlicensed centers must disclose that they are not medical facilities.

Feuer’s office in May launched a campaign to crack down on violators of the law. His action marked a sharp contrast to some jurisdictions, which are reportedly taking a wait-and-see approach as fake clinics’ challenges to the law wind through the courts.

Federal and state courts have denied requests to temporarily block the law, although appeals are pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Some 25 fake clinics operate in Los Angeles County, according to a representative of NARAL Pro-Choice California, though firm numbers are hard to come by. Feuer initially issued notices to six Los Angeles area fake clinics in May. Following an investigation, his office warned three clinics last month that they’re breaking the law.

Those three clinics are now complying, Feuer told reporters Thursday. Feuer said his office is still determining whether another fake clinic, Avenues Pregnancy Clinic, is complying with the law.

Fake clinic owners and staffers have slammed the FACT Act, saying they’d rather shut down than refer clients to services they find “morally and ethically objectionable.”

“If you’re a pro-life organization, you’re offering free healthcare to women so the women have a choice other than abortion,” said Matt Bowman, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents several Los Angeles fake clinics fighting the law in court.

Asked why the clinics have agreed to comply, Bowman reiterated an earlier statement, saying the FACT Act violates his clients’ free speech rights. Forcing faith-based clinics to “communicate messages or promote ideas they disagree with, especially on life-and-death issues like abortion,” violates their “core beliefs,” Bowman said.

Reports of deceit by 91 percent of fake clinics surveyed by NARAL Pro-Choice California helped spur the passage of the FACT Act last October. Until recently, Googling “abortion clinic” might turn up results for a fake clinic that discourages abortion care.

“Put yourself in the position of a young woman who is going to one of these centers … and she comes into this center and she is less than fully informed … of what her choices are,” Feuer said Thursday. “In that state of mind, is she going to make the kind of choice that you’d want your loved one to make?

Rewire last month visited Lost Angeles area fake clinics that are abiding by the FACT Act. Claris Health in West Los Angeles includes the reproductive notice with patient intake forms, while Open Arms Pregnancy Center in the San Fernando Valley has posted the notice in the waiting room.

“To us, it’s a non-issue,” Debi Harvey, the center’s executive director, told Rewire. “We don’t provide abortion, we’re an abortion-alternative organization, we’re very clear on that. But we educate on all options.”


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