Why I Play the Waiting Game

A much-discussed question among friend groups of all genders is when to start having sex in a relationship. A few months? Fourth date? Maybe even that first night?

Why not wait until after you’ve tied the knot?

The immediate reaction to this proposal, I assume, is one of shock, disgust, and horror. College is the perfect time to sexually experiment, to figure out what you like and don’t like. It’s after that awkward, uncomfortable high school era in which you still live with your parents, but before we’re thrust into the real world and have to Be Adults Who Are Mature About This Kind of Thing. Plus, sex and everything related to it is more normalized now than it ever has been in modern society. There is no reason not to go around and have a little fun: protection is 99+% effective, people are generally upfront about STIs, and few people (at least at small liberal arts colleges) are judgmental about any aspect of it. Sex is better now than ever!

Sex is like biting into a orange slice. You get wet and sticky, your senses kick into overdrive, and in five minutes you are told to get your butt back on the field.

No other act approaches sex in terms of physical and emotional intimacy. Ideally, all of the sexual partners are having a safe, consensual, and awesome time for as long as they want, and from what I hear, nothing compares to the feelings released during the experience. Sex is like biting into a orange slice. You get wet and sticky, your senses kick into overdrive, and in five minutes you are told to get your butt back on the field. You never want it to end, and afterward, you feel an emotional attachment like no other to the other person(s) involved. 

And then, odds are you sneak out in the wee hours the following morning and stare at the ground whenever they pass you in Commons or the COVID-19 testing line. Maybe there is an unrequited “hey that was nice” text. Maybe it happens again, and you consider starting something up, but there is just too much on your plate right now and your roommate is always around at night and you don’t feel like getting super invested and their friends are kind of strange. Oh well. So much for that emotional attachment. Guess we will see what happens next weekend?

It is pretty standard practice to not say “I love you” on the first date. It is usually a good way to not get asked out for a second date. Jumping to a level of intimacy so high right off the bat, when you have barely got past the “What’s your favorite color?” stage, is commonly seen as off-putting and unnerving. Nobody wants to get caught up in a “You” stalker situation. And after you say it, the only way you can go up from there intimacy-wise is adding terms of endearment, which really should be removed from the English lexicon as soon as possible already anyway. 

I approach sex the same way. If it is the most intimate interaction with somebody you can have, why get to it right away? Let the feelings marinate for a while, and build up to the big event. That way, your first time is with someone you feel truly differently about than anyone else in the world. Obviously, saying those three little words is different from having sex; it is a declaration of total commitment. But there are as many physical levels scaling up to sex as there are verbal levels scaling up to the word love. Why not take it slow if it means greater satisfaction down the road?

Personally, I am fine with waiting until I know I have found the right person. Shredding gnar at Sunday River provides me with the physical thrill, and laughing with friends at dinner provides me with the emotional attachment. Not in the same way, of course, but to a far enough extent that I don’t crave anything more. 

I am not here to preach that abstinence is the way to salvation, or to cite statistics about the results of getting pregnant before you are emotionally or financially ready, or to foist my stance upon you at all. I am just here to say that if you are also waiting until you have found the right person, power to you.