Slow, conscious sex is also about taking my time before jumping into bed with someone for the first time.

“Let’s wait before we have sex”, said Mr. Right. 

I didn’t mind.

We’ve been together for about a month. Both in our mid-thirties. Seasoned in relationships, some short, some long-ish. We waited another month before we had sex for the first time.

We’ve kissed and cuddled and shared the same bed, enjoying some special touch. But there was no penetration. No orgasms. Only sensuality. Plenty of it.

Sensual touches will never be the same after having sex.

That time before we first had sex was electrifying. Specifically, touches that were on the border of sensuality and sexuality. 

There is one move I recall vividly.
The way he placed his palm on my inner thigh, painfully slowly… Resting one finger at a time until the entire hand was still. It was a tease. Marvelous sensations washed throughout my entire body. Foretelling a future I wished was getting closer. Craving that time in which the door into sex will be opened. 

Each time I start seeing a new man, the time before we have sex for the first time is excruciatingly delicious.

A gentle sensual kiss on my neck can linger for days on end. Whenever my mind revisits it, my body starts melting again. Sometimes even more so than it did while the touch actually happened.

This sensual haven lasts until we start having sex regularly.

When sex becomes a done deal, as beautiful as it can — and does — become, those sensual sensations only very rarely, if ever, have the same intensity.

Perhaps this is the way I personally experience the Coolidge Effect

The Coolidge Effect is what happens when we get excited by a new sexual partner. It makes animals — including humans — feel renewed sexual desire for a new potential mate when the desire to a familiar partner waned.

But the Coolidge Effect is merely an observation. It doesn’t explain why an untouched mate is more exciting than the one which we already had sex with.

Can science explain this phenomenon?

Scientific studies have shown that early stages of romantic love are characterized by activation of regions of the brain’s “reward system”. Specifically, dopamine-rich regions.

When dopamine is released in the brain’s reward circuitry, it makes us want that which we perceive to be the subject of our desire. Dr. Kent Berridge and his colleagues have described this as incentive salience. 

In other words, in the presence of dopamine, the same sensations in our body can seem more alluring than without it.

This could explain why when a new partner touches me, the excitement levels can feel intoxicating. Whereas with a familiar partner I would “only” feel aroused.

However, it doesn’t explain why sex is the marker between my elevated enthusiasm as opposed to my normal levels of eagerness.

It could be related to the fact that sex — specifically, orgasms — spike up the dopamine levels and then reduce it to a below-average low.

Regardless of a scientific explanation of this phenomenon, though, I know that I like it. And I would love to stay with it for a while before it evaporates.

The obvious reasons to wait before having sex with someone new.

These are all associated with our social awkwardness around everything sex. Not many people can have a mature, aware discussion of sexual expectations before they engage in sex for the first time. And it is even trickier with someone we only just met.

Many of us jump into sex, hoping the other person will be as responsible and respectful as we need them to be. We assume they will let us know if they have any STIs, or we expect them to be OK with using condoms. We take it for granted that they will be decent human beings and that they will not do anything we feel uncomfortable with.

Unfortunately, this is where things can go awfully wrong.

Waiting until you know someone well enough to be able to deeply trust them is imperative. Much more so if you are a woman and sex will be with a man.

This day and age, most people think there should be zero expectations for what happens after having sex with someone we only just met — so I don’t even mention it. However, in the context of reasons for delaying having sex, I do want to mention that sometimes sex creates attachment. So you can go to bed with someone with no expectations just to find out the following day that expectations started to emerge.

When we rush into having sex with a new partner, we miss out.

So on top of the obvious reasons to wait with sex, my add-on reason is that you can’t bring those ultra-enhanced sensations back.

This period of time when an accidental brush of his arm against mine creates endless butterflies in my tummy for days on end will not repeat itself after we start having sex.

This is the reason I linger, for a little while anyway, before I have sex with someone new.

How to delay having sex with a new partner?

Let’s look at two different scenarios.

Having a one night stand with someone we don’t expect to ever see again.

In this scenario, and as long as you can completely trust them for the reasons mentioned above, there’s no reason to delay having sex. If you know with absolute certainty that you are safe, and if you have reason to believe the sex will be pleasurable for you — go for it.

Having sex with someone that you are developing a relationship with.

If you want this relationship to be a meaningful one, it’s a good idea to know exactly what the other thinks and expects from the relationship. There’s no way around it: you need to have that conversation.

Once this has been established, and you’re both happy with the nature of the relationship that is evolving between the two of you, you will need to explain to your partner that you would like to wait with sex.

First, think for yourself how long would you like to wait for.

Is it a matter of time? Or are you waiting for a specific relationship benchmark? You need to understand your reasoning in order to explain it to your partner.

As for me personally, I don’t have a specific timeframe. I do, however, have specific conditions that need to be met first. For example, I want to know that our relationship is exclusive on the emotional and on the physical front. I also prefer knowing in advance when and where will the first sex happen. So, ideally, I can be ready. But that’s just me.

Agreeing with my partner on these things makes it easier for both of us to manage our expectations. And if there’s something we disagree on, we could find a compromise that works for both of us.

The most important thing here is that I need to feel comfortable enough talking about sex and my expectations. I know that many people don’t. I thought it’s a no-no and I never used to talk about these things, either. But now that I do bring these topics up with guys I am dating, I can see that they are intrigued. They seem to appreciate the fact that I am comfortable and that I know what I want from a relationship. And from sex.

Mr. Right turned out to be Mr. Wrong.

Delaying having sex is a sensationally rewarding decision. 

Mr. Right, the guy who suggested it himself when we became a couple, ended up to be the wrong guy for me. 

But he made me appreciate the phase of the relationship before having sex. So much so, that I am looking forward to it whenever a new relationship starts.

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