To that end, Mc Clary often tells women, "If you value a committed relationship, ask yourself, 'What do I need to do to stay emotionally whole?'" When directing her advice on dating rules to a male audience, Mc Clary puts things a little differently."It becomes much more difficult to objectively see each other's character traits" says Susanne Alexander, a relationship coach and author of Can We Dance? "Some couples then slide into engagement and marriage only to discover they have missed seeing major aspects of each other." While not every dating scenario that involves sex leads to marriage or even a serious relationship, couples do owe it to themselves to talk about where they see their relationship going and how sex might change the relationship -- before they get in bed together. The woman may assume sex implies a commitment; the man may not see it that way," Allen tells Web MD.Having an honest conversation with yourself about sex is just as important as discussing it with your partner, experts say.
By and large, Allen and other relationship experts endorse a cautious approach to the dating rules of sex."You might find that you don't even like the person," Allen tells Web MD.Other experts agree that sex too-soon can lead to undesirable consequences."Make sure your brain, heart, and penis are in conjunction -- they should all be in a straight line before you have sex," she says.Mc Clary believes all daters should invest the same amount of time conducting these 'self' conversations about personal dating rules as they do primping before a big date.Once you've decided what you want out of a date, say experts, you should make it part of your regular dating rules to tell your partner."If you just want a one-night stand, you owe it to your partner to tell them 'it's just sex I'm after,'" Mc Clary tells Web MD.Concern about STDs and unwanted pregnancies can help create sexual boundaries, believes Mc Clary.If, for instance, you're on the fence about whether or not to take sexual activity to the next level, a healthy dose of fear may cause you to pause, particularly if you're not prepared to take the necessary precautions."It depends on how rapidly or slowly things progress." Joan Allen, a relationship expert, finds that baby boomers are far more likely to wait to have sex than younger daters."Especially among older people who went through the sexual revolution, with maturity they realize there are emotional consequences for getting involved in a sexual relationship," says Allen, author of Celebrating Single and Getting Love Right: From Stalemate to Soulmate.