6 signs to help you decide if you're ready to take your relationship to the next level.
As people are dating past their 30s and 40s, they may rethink what seemed natural when they were younger. We know there is an increase in AIDS and STDs among older people. I remember while dating in the '80s after my divorce, I felt okay about my sexual behavior. I was clear then, and clear now, that I didn't want to be sexual unless I felt camaraderie, easy and open communication and the possibility of a long term relationship (which for many years meant 3 to 6 months for me).
These days, whether I answer or respond to men on OkCupid, Plenty Of Fish or Craiglist, I still want those three things. If you are new (again) to the dating game, here are six signs you are or may be ready for sex.
1. You genuinely like the person you are dating. Also, you would be comfortable introducing him or her to your good friends (of course, that is not required but it is a good indicator). If have any concerns and a friend says, "What a fine man he is!" I can usually keep from dropping him or jumping into bed with him until I've given our time together more room to grow wherever it will go. Check out my article A Man I'd Like To Love.
2. You have open discussions about sex. Whenever the subject of sex comes up, you discuss your feelings and considerations and preferences. For instance, when "L." suggested sex after two dates lasting a total of 15 hours, I already saw him as a possible "long term" partner. "Let's see how comfortable we feel after we've cuddled a bit," I said. We were comfortable. A week later, he emailed me saying there wasn't enough of a spark. Because we'd been very open, I was surprised but not dismayed. A month later, to my amazement, he invited me to join him in an erotic massage class, which was a different experience because though we practiced what the leader had demonstrated, we knew we weren't a couple. You might Google "erotic massage" for some examples of what you may not have thought of before either.
3. You have already shown affection toward each other. A third signal of readiness is that you have already shown affection toward each other—touching his arm or knee as you talk, light kissing, holding each other's gaze, trusting your intuition when you invite his or her touch. You have already discussed sex and have some certainty that you're both seeing intimacy from a similar viewpoint. You may choose to notice if his or her affection seems as natural as yours. Sometimes women have the fear deep down that "he's just out for sex." So give the affection time to feel genuine before you disrobe. I love Laura Day's book Practical Intuition, with its many exercises and look forward to reading her book Practical Intuition in Love: Let Your Intuition Guide You to the Love of Your Life.
More dating advice from YourTango: