Love, Lust, and the Clock: How Long Should You Wait to Have Sex When Dating?

Maybe it’s after they surprise you with tickets to see Burna Boy at Madison Square Garden. Or when they whip up your grandma’s secret pap recipe.
The Love Central - Love, Lust, and the Clock: How Long Should You Wait to Have Sex When Dating? The Love Central - Love, Lust, and the Clock: How Long Should You Wait to Have Sex When Dating?
Love, Lust, and the Clock: How Long Should You Wait to Have Sex When Dating?
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You’ve just met a fellow Liberian at a diaspora mixer in London. The sparks are flying faster than you can imagine. But when should you take things from flirty banter to between the sheets? 

Remember when your Igbo grandmother insisted on abstinence until marriage? Those days are long gone. Now you’re balancing Zoom dates with that cute South African entrepreneur you met at Afropunk, while your Algerian coworker keeps “accidentally” brushing against you in the break room. It’s a lot to juggle.

So, what’s the “right” waiting period? Let’s break it down:

The Love Central -
Some argue sexual chemistry is as crucial as finding the perfect plantain ripeness Image source Freepik

The Three-Date Rule

Popularized by American rom-coms, this rule suggests waiting until the third date. 

  • Date 1: Suya and drinks at that Nigerian spot in Brooklyn.
  • Date 2: Dancing to Amapiano at Lit Bar in the Bronx.
  • Date 3: Homemade jollof and… more?

You’re busy at your fintech startup – ain’t nobody has time for games. But beware: moving faster means missing red flags.

The 90-Day Rule

Steve Harvey’s book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” popularized this approach. That’s about 12 dates if you’re meeting weekly. 90 days can feel longer than waiting for your auntie to finish a phone call. 

But supporters say it’s perfect for weeding out those only interested in a quick hookup at Afro Caribbean Night.

The “When It Feels Right” Approach

Maybe it’s after they surprise you with tickets to see Burna Boy at Madison Square Garden. Or when they whip up your grandma’s secret pap recipe. The downside? It’s vaguer than trying to explain to your American friends why you can’t just “call your Elder.”

The Compatibility Test

Some argue sexual chemistry is as crucial as finding the perfect plantain ripeness. They suggest finding out sooner rather than later if you vibe in the bedroom. This practical approach is tempting. But it risks prioritizing physical sparks over emotional connection.

The Emotional Connection First

This approach is all about building a stronger foundation. It might involve deep dives into your experiences growing up Somali in Minnesota, and sharing your dreams of launching a tech incubator in Nairobi.

Pros of Waiting

  • You build a stronger emotional foundation. (Think of it as seasoning the relationship stew.)
  • More time to assess compatibility beyond physical attraction.
  • The anticipation can be deliciously exciting.

Cons of Waiting

  • Sexual frustration might build up.
  • You might miss out on discovering early physical incompatibility.
  • It could feel like you’re playing unnecessary games.
The Love Central -
Are you more traditional or liberal when it comes to sex Image source Freepik

Factors to Consider

  • Your values: Are you more traditional or liberal when it comes to sex?
  • Cultural expectations: What would your Auntie say? (And does that matter to you?)
  • Relationship goals: Are you looking for a quick fling or a potential life partner?
  • Physical and emotional readiness: Are you prepared for the potential consequences?

For Africans in the diaspora, this decision can be extra layered. You’re balancing the values of your homeland with the norms of your new country. 

Some Specific Strategies

  • The “Everything But” Approach: Some couples engage in other forms of intimacy while saving penetrative sex for later.
  • The Intimacy Timeline: Agree on a gradual progression of physical acts over time.

Conclusion: How Long Should You Wait to Have Sex When Dating?

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. What works for your Ivorian coworker might not be right for you and your Kenyan boo. The key is open, honest communication. Don’t let the pressure of the diaspora dating scene rush you into anything.

Ultimately, the best time for sex is when both partners feel genuinely ready and excited. Whether that’s after three dates or three months doesn’t matter. 

Trust your gut, talk it out, and enjoy the process of getting to know someone new – emotionally, spiritually, and yes, eventually physically too.

READ: The Hidden Costs of Casual Sex: Mental Health Implications

While casual sex may seem like a harmless and enjoyable experience, research suggests that it can affect mental well-being.

This article explores the hidden costs of casual sex and its mental health implications.

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