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It’s been three weeks: Should I keep waiting to have sex with my new guy?

Have a sex question? E-mail sexquestions@globeandmail.com or tweet at @amberlym (all questions will be published anonymously).

The question: I am really into a guy I have been dating for three weeks. He keeps inviting me to his house to "watch a movie" but I think you and I know what that means. I want to go over and I want to have sex with him – but I keep making dinner dates instead. My friends (and magazine articles, to be honest) tell me to wait to have sex – the longer I wait, the longer our relationship will last. Is that really true? How do I know he's into me on a relationship level before we have sex?

The answer: Waiting for sex is like waiting for Christmas: The anticipation and the build-up for the big day is what makes it great. There are only weeks left until Dec. 25, and yes – I'm counting.

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Start your own pseudo advent calendar and begin the waiting game. Keep it up with those dinner dates. Go to his house and watch a movie (as an aside, sometimes a movie is just a movie) but keep it PG.

Admittedly, this advice goes against most other facets of my life. If you want it, do not wait. YOLO, I'd say. If this were a new job, shoes or a Groupon deal, never wait.

But with sex, you send a big, important message by holding off: 1) I am not like other girls, sir. 2) I don't take sex lightly. 3) I'm worth the wait.

No, it's not about game playing. It's about getting him to realize how great you are, fully dressed. And you can't really underestimate the power of male yearning.

I can vouch from personal experience: Developing a connection over multiple dates while clothed is a really great thing. I know this makes me sound ol' timey and anti-feminist, but for me, the waiting game is crucial if a substantial relationship is what you desire.

It may seem counter-intuitive not to progress the relationship as quickly as possible, but if he's worth it, you let the heat build, gradually, over at least a few months.

Just to be sure I'm not crazy, I asked a professional for their take.

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"That's crazy," says Dr. Stephen De Wit, a sexologist in Toronto with a doctorate in human sexuality.

"First, you and your reader need to understand that these magazine articles that tell women to hold out – they're designed to sell magazines, that's all."

As he usually does, De Wit recommends "being open and honest" and having a frank, but light, conversation with your new guy to make sure your expectations line up. "Say, 'I really like you. I'm sexually attracted to you, I want to have a relationship and I want to come over. Are you looking for something casual or something more serious?' "

Fittingly, I went quiet. As a girl hardwired to never reveal too much too soon, this advice has me gaping at the phone handset.

"Wait just a second," I say. "What about the build up? The anticipation?"

"My stand, Amberly, is that people live a sexually empowered existence," he says. "You have two people who want to have sex, so you're then saying, no, we're going to play a bunch of games. We're going to tell them they have to wait to connect sexually – for what?'

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He says my idea of waiting is a "great disservice to women, to live in this bubble where they're not allowed to have agency around their sexual decisions."

Still, I can't actually picture saying, "let's have a conversation about our expectations" to a man I've been dating for three weeks.

I'm not convinced. In the name of research, I pried deep into the sexual history of Allen, my entirely platonic male friend at a Toronto Maple Leafs game, the most dude-liest of atmospheres. I confess to my ideals: You should be Facebook friends, know each other's middle names and have had at least five dates before getting naked.

Allen cringes and yells at me while banging on the glass. "You can't be serious! You're not! You are NOT."

Some of his great relationships have started with sex, he says. There shouldn't be rules around how long and when because it's different for every couple. But he admits that the best relationship of his life was when he "built a friendship and mutual respect while not-so-secretly wanting to get into bed."

Allen has always maintained that waiting too long could push a relationship into the friend zone. "I'd rather vacation in North Korea than get permanently stuck there." But with a little prodding, he tells me: "I waited months and months for a girl I couldn't stop thinking about. It was well worth it. Rules are meant to be broken, I guess."

His candour surprises me (almost more than the Leafs' victory) but it underlines my belief: Good things come to those who wait.

Patience is a virtue, and, at just three weeks in, you'll need to be virtuous – for now.

Have a sex question? E-mail sexquestions@globeandmail.com or tweet at @amberlym (all questions will be published anonymously).

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About the Author
Editor in the Opinion section

Amberly McAteer is an editor in the Opinion section at The Globe and Mail. She has been a homepage editor, online editor and community editor in Features - including Life, Travel, Style, Arts and Books. She's written columns about her quest to run a 10K and find the perfect dog. More

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