Monday, November 12, 2007

How Soon is Too Soon?

If you watch as much TV as I do, you probably see a lot of people hopping in and out of bed with each other. On Desperate Housewives, Gabrielle slept with her teen gardener during her marriage to Carlos; now she's sleeping with Carlos during her marriage to Victor (well, actually, it seems Gab and Carlos killed poor Victor last night).

On Sex and the City, everybody had sex with everybody (in fact, Carrie bounced a mattress with very guy who plays Victor on DH). On Friends, Rachel and Joey spent so much time scoring it's a wonder they held down jobs. And "reality television" absolutely thrives on all sorts of sexual activity.

All this bonking leaves the average viewer wondering just what is normal sexual behavior. What's weird? What's good? What's prudish?

Whatever you do, don't tune into Entourage for guidance.

Many women (and men, I'm told) are nervous enough on a first date or at the start of a relationship, and they don't want to come across pushy, freaky, or monastic. The best thing you can do here is follow your own instincts. Worry less about what people are doing on television and more on what feels right to you.

That means, if you're comfortable going for it, be smart about it.

Here's why:

During a recent visit to my doctor's office, a pharmaceutical rep dragged in a shopping cart filled to the tippy-top with samples for Valtrex, the Herpes drug you may have seen on TV.

When I got into see my doctor, I asked her, "How many people have Herpes that salespeople drop off samples in such enormous quantities?"

"You wouldn't believe it," my doctor said. "About one out of five people are walking around with the virus and don't even know it."

One out of five!

So, please proceed with caution, lest you end up toting home your very own Valtrex starter kit. And if you do indeed decide to proceed, do not--I repeat--do not send the man flowers the next morning.

However, if you believe that sex is meant for marriage, then by all means, be true to yourself. There are plenty of men out there that feel that way, too. Chances are, they don't watch a lot of TV.

One thing I hate is a double standard, so if you're going to "hold out" in the sex department, do it for the right reasons. Do it because you want to, not because of some misguided idea that a guy will value you more. (You don't want a guy who will value you more for not having sex with him. Trust me.)

And, please, please, please don't ever give a guy the "gift" of a first time with you for his birthday or Christmas or Arbor Day. You'll only set up a weird dynamic for the relationship. (I know a woman who did this and later married the guy she presented with the gift of her body; it is not a happy scene.)

For a a good perspective on this subject, check out Jeff Mac's Manslations. Jeff offered advice to a woman who wanted to know how soon she could sleep with a guy without him thinking her a woman of "easy virtue."

My take on it: If she's a woman of easy virtue, doesn't that make the guy she's with a man of easy virtue?

Why is certain behavior okay for him but wrong for her? Is this a recipe for future happiness?

Think about it.