Updated: Sep 22, 2020
A young male client came to see me recently with a problem. “I had sex with someone on our second date and now she won’t leave me alone. I had fun with her, but I don’t want a relationship with her and I’m feeling a lot of pressure. What should I do? ”
An older woman client says, “We met at a workshop and were immediately attracted to each other. We’ve been having sex for a few weeks now and I like it, but he’s not very interesting outside of bed. I don’t know what to do?”
There are many variations of these stories, but they all have the same basis…..what I call “too soon sex”. What does that mean? What makes sex qualify as “too soon”? Let’s explore this by first considering the question, “why have sex?” When I look back at my own life experiences, three come to mind. I am not claiming these are universal.
First is simply that someone is new, different, mysterious, and available. Coming of age in the late 1960’s was a perfect time to develop and indulge this attitude. This attitude was personified in Milan Kundera’s book, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, when he describes his protagonist Tomas:
“When he saw a woman in her clothes, he could naturally imagine more or less what she looked like naked….but between the approximation of the idea and the precision of reality there was a small gap of the unimaginable…And then the pursuit of the unimaginable does not stop with the revelations of nudity; it goes much further….What would she say when he made love to her ? How would her sighs sound ?…He was not obsessed with women; he was obsessed with what in each of them in unimaginable..”
Second is that I want to have sex, and I like her enough. In the past, enough didn’t have to be much. According to what I hear recently, this is also currently true of the hook-up generation.
Third, and this has been rare in my life, I wanted to actually connect with someone in a deeper way, and build a relationship.
Perhaps there is no such thing as too soon sex in the first two scenarios as long as both people agree. And that’s a key issue. Often, someone has a hidden agenda or they’re just fooling themselves consciously or unconsciously, saying one thing and feeling something else.
Why? To be liked, to go along, to be cool. Or they just don’t realize their unconscious needs and drives. Or they do realize them, but are conflicted.
I admitted earlier my male point of view regarding what motivated me to want to have sex with someone. I admit now that I was not always honest when a potential sexual encounter presented itself. I may have wanted my partner to think that I was more inclined to number three than I actually was, to avoid rejection and to get what I wanted.
And coming from numbers one and two, I was not really concerned about my potential partner’s agenda. Even when I told my truth and she said ok, there were times when I suspected she wanted more, which could and did cause trouble later. But at the time, driven by my hormones (or ego), I didn’t care. All I really cared about was immediate gratification without considering longer term effects, not only for my life but for my partner’s.
This may be the primary motivator for too soon sex. And it can be justified by many belief systems that have been proposed since the sexual revolution began……freedom, self expression, polyamory, etc.
So I invite (and challenge) you to take a deeper look at your motivation when considering having sex with someone for the first time. Look beyond the short term pleasure or the “reasons” to justify it. There may be consequences on your and the others’ life to consider.
And if you realize you already have, as the clients I mentioned did, what next ? Perhaps it’s time for some coaching.