Third-Date Pressure

We’re usually preoccupied with our own sweaty palms on the first date, that and deciding if there are sufficient sparks to merit a second. It’s not until well into that subsequent meeting that you get a chance to really feel out the chemistry. And should you be fortunate enough to make it to the third, well, you know what that means … Or do you?

What is it about date number three? Sure, it seems a little hasty. But as modern, emotionally enlightened, and sexually liberated singles, should we really be encumbered with waiting for a sense of imposed propriety?

If it’s a set of alleged social norms that motivate your timing, the answer is probably no. Your third meeting has no more intrinsic decency about it than the first or the tenth, and any time you impose artificial conventions on your date, you take away from the real magic that may be happening between you.

Men are especially vulnerable to feeling that some sort of advance is expected within a certain time frame, when the reality is, most women don’t mind the chance to wait and wish. Honestly, as long as we have some indication that you’re interested, it’s nice to not be the one putting on the brakes all the time. Good sex is better than immediate sex, and for that, we need a little time to want you.

That said, not everyone needs three dates to warm up. Depending on the nature of the attraction (and how long the lead-up to the first date) it might even be on the late side. If you’ve been pining for each other for years, for example, waiting through three nights of dinners and polite conversation seems a little mechanical.

There are some very good reasons for waiting before you take the plunge, not the least of which is giving the sexual tension a little time to flourish. Some people make connections faster than others — we’ve all had those instances when something ‘clicked’ within the first moments of conversation –but it’s certainly easier to avoid entanglements you’ll regret later if you give yourself some time to find out what you’re signing up for.

Never forget that there are health risks to consider — waiting gives you more time to take care of tests, protection, and birth control. And lastly, if you do think your latest interest is someone you’d like around on Saturday mornings as well as Friday nights, your partnership has more staying power if you delay the onset of physical intimacy. But none of that means anything if you’re only dating through an arbitrary waiting period.

When it comes down to it, what we really want to know is that the connection was so hot, so passionate, so right, that we both knew it was time. Somehow ticking off three dates or six months on your social calendar just doesn’t carry the same intensity. No one wants to feel like all your other dates or that your passion was motivated by anything other than, well, passion.

So sure, the third date is ok, though the tenth date is probably better. Don’t wait for anyone else to give you the thumbs up. Keep in mind that waiting a little longer than you’d like usually makes for better sex, fewer regrets, and a more lasting connection, but that waiting as long as you think you should is something else entirely.

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