creators home lifestyle web
Amy Alkon


Mr. Throng I'm a 35-year-old woman, and I've been involved with a guy around my age for almost two years. It's been "open." Well, that is, he's had the freedom to sleep with other people. I haven't wanted to. I finally realized that I am not happy with this …Read more. Ben Hurry I'm a woman in my 40s, and I've been happily married for 22 years. Unfortunately, my husband and I have never been very compatible sexually. I had read so much Cosmo in college that I believed sex was something we could work on. Well, he is quick in …Read more. Shove Hurts I've spent hundreds of dollars on a relationship coach, who instructed me to cut off all sex and even all contact with the guy I was dating until he agreed to marry me. I knew he loved me and wanted to marry me; I just wanted him to do it faster. …Read more. Livid And Let Livid You responded to a woman who was very proud of herself for leaving the room to compose herself when she got really angry with her boyfriend. It is very unhealthy to stuff your anger. Why would you give this terrible advice — encouraging her …Read more.
more articles

Bodies At Rust


I'm a recently divorced 40-something woman, now dating again, and I'm wondering what the guidelines are on how long to wait to have sex. I'm not interested in casual sex, but I have a healthy libido. If I'm really attracted to a man, I'll be dealing with some powerful mixed (internal) signals regarding how long to wait. Really what I want is to have sex with a man I like as soon as reasonably possible without getting labeled by him (consciously or subconsciously) as an expendable floozy. — Hotblooded

Tempting as it can be to tear off each other's clothes and rut like wild animals on the first date, it can be less than conducive to a desire to meet up again to ask things like "So...where'd you go to middle school?"

Also, you do risk getting labeled a hussy for not keeping an aspirin clenched between your knees — Rush Limbaugh's advice for unmarried women he isn't popping Viagra for — while the date you drop the aspirin for gets to put another notch in his oar. As explained in previous columns, men and women are biologically and psychologically different, and the sexual double standard springs out of those differences — like how one sex gets pregnant and the other sex gets paternity uncertainty. As nice (and fair) as it would be if casual sex worked the same for women and men, there's an old Arab saying quoted by a Lebanese-born friend of mine: "If my grandmother had testicles, we would have called her my grandfather."

Some women do wait to have sex with a man they've just met — like, a whole hour — and manage to make that the first hour of the rest of their lives together. Just because that's risky doesn't mean it's impossible. But, sleep with a man before you know who he is and you could find yourself wearing lust goggles — convincing yourself he's good for the long haul when he's really just good in bed. The good news is, men in their 40s tend to be less "use 'em and lose 'em" than those in their 20s. "The third date rule" — the expectation that the third date is the sex date — is also more of a factor for 20-somethings. If you're, say, 45, and dating guys 50 to 60, the third date rule is probably something more like "Don't fall asleep."

When dating, remind yourself that the part of you that's clamoring for sex is not the organ that does your best thinking, and plan your outings accordingly. Keep in mind that people who regret their behavior on dates tend to say stuff like "We got really drunk, and then we slept together," not "We went to the museum in broad daylight and then had one too many lattes." As for how long to wait to have sex, there's no magic number of dates.

But, since casual sex isn't your thing, you should probably hold out until there seems to be an emotional attachment — on both sides. Maybe a good guideline is waiting until you and a man are kinda cuddly. Until that time, hint that your favorite sex position actually isn't arms folded/legs crossed; you just like to get to know a man before you get to know how his Miller Lite chandelier looks wearing your thong.

Beer Your Soul

I've fallen for my new best friend, a woman I met two years ago while we were both going through similar divorces. Sometimes I think the attraction's mutual. She recently started dating but hasn't met anyone she's into. I'm going crazy trying to decide whether to say something and risk losing the coolest friend I've met in decades. — Obsessing

The line from Cole Porter is "Birds do it, bees do it," not "birds and bees get a committee together to discuss it." Telling her how you feel could be icky and embarrassing if she doesn't share your feelings — and maybe even if she does. You've heard of "plausible deniability"? If you decide to go for something with her, what you need is plausible drunkability. Have drinks with her, get a little fuzzed, and make a move on her. If she recoils in horror, it was the alcohol talking. If she kisses back or, better yet, is all over you like freezer burn on mysterious leftovers, follow up by asking her on a date. (Emphasize the D-word, reinforcing that your interest is more than friendzonely.) Sure, by making a move, you risk losing a friend. By doing nothing, you risk missing out on a lot more. Life is risk. You can either hide under your bed or opt for managed risk. That doesn't mean managing risk out of existence; it means having a plan for damage control if things go badly. ("Captain Morgan, next time, you behave yourself!")

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email ( Alkon is the author of "I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle To Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society."



It's Amy Alkon's Advice Goddess Radio! "Nerd your way to a better life," with the best brains in science solving your love, dating, sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. The call-in number during the show is 347-326-9761. This week, Dr. Frederick Woolverton's brilliantly unconventional insights on overcoming addiction. Fascinating and moving, even if you aren’t hooked on anything.


18 Comments | Post Comment
That was Santorum who gave that advice, Amy, not Limbaugh.
Comment: #1
Posted by: limniade
Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:47 AM
Actually, it was someone else...can't remember who, but it was NOT Santorum.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Janie
Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:12 AM
LW2: Don't listen to Amy!!! A good male friend of mine tried moving in for a kiss when we were both drunk. My eyes happened to be closed at the moment, and when I opened them and saw his face looming right in front of mine, moving in for a kiss, I screamed! This sent him leaping backward, and we both had a really awkward moment until he left. Our friendship ended that night. I was totally creeped out that he had tried to kiss me without talking about it first and making sure I was OK with it, drunk or not. And he was totally mortified that I had screamed when he tried to kiss me.

Here's a better idea: Sometime when you're talking to her, you say to her that you really value your friendship with her and how cool she is. She's such a great person and so fun to be with. Then you ask her, "I'm wondering if there could be something more. What do you think?" That way, you're putting the idea out there without going overboard and making things potentially awkward, and you're letting her state her feelings about it to find out if she could be thinking the same thing. If she says she loves the friendship but thinks it's just a friendship and nothing more, you act cool and nonchalant about it, without any petulance or weird vibes in the air, and say, yeah, you really love the friendship too and how much fun you guys have together. If she says she was wondering if there could be something more too, THAT's when you move in for a kiss.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Joyce
Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:19 AM
@Limniade: Santorum never said it, and Amy isn't really wrong. Originally it was Foster Friess, one of Santorum's wealthy patrons, who said it. And then later, when Limbaugh was talking to Sandra Fluke, he said that he would "happily buy her all the aspirin she wants" to put between her knees in lieu of contraception.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Joyce
Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:23 AM
Re: Joyce
I have to add to your post, Joyce. In addition to what you wrote, if she does not respond positively, accept it. The absolute surest way to lose her friendship is by not accepting her answer. If she is interested she *will* let you know. If she says anything similar to I can't cause our friendship is too important to me - that means NO!
Comment: #5
Posted by: kristen
Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:38 AM
Did anyone else find it interesting that Amy made a point of telling LW1 to avoid situations where she and her date might have a little too much to drink and wind up in the sack -- but then she suggests LW2 should get drunk and try to kiss his friend so that if it doesn't go well, they can just chalk it up to too much alcohol?

Here's a thought for both LWs -- nix the games and be honest.

LW1 -- Have sex with the guy when you want to have sex with him and believe you can trust him. Don't worry about whether the guy is going to write you off as an expendable floozy. If he does, he's not worth your time. There's no formula for this, where waiting just three dates makes you a floozy, waiting eight dates means you're playing hard to get and a tease, but waiting five dates is "just right." What is "just right" is what feels right to you. You may feel you can trust one guy after just three dates, but with another guy, you might find it takes more time.

LW2 -- Even with "plausible drunkability," the fact is you still run the risk of freaking your friend out and killing the friendship. I like Joyce's suggestion of just asking something like, "do you ever wonder if there could be something more, or is that just a bad idea?" Some women might actually prefer you just going for the kiss and talking about it later. Hard to say where your friend is on that spectrum. But the next time she's telling you about a date that doesn't seem to have gone anywhere, look for the opening and then go for it.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:15 PM
Ladies, I've heard the old "aspirin between the knees" thing for over 40 years - and I'm 63. It wasn't "originally" any of those people - have no idea who was first, but it's kind of stupid.
Lisa, I have to disagree with you about the having sex when you feel like it and if he thinks you're a floozy he's not worth your time. That's a great formula for finding yourself alone in a world full of men who think you're a floozy. Amy is right on this - sex does not make a man love you and if love is what you're looking for, use your head.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:32 PM
LW1: I think its sad that as old as you are you still care more about what a man thinks than what you think. How about doing what you want and apologizing to no one? Try that on and see how you like it.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Diana
Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:56 PM
Amy, do you even know any people in their fifties and sixties? You seem to enjoy perpetuating a stereotype that "old" people are not interested or cannot stay awake during a date??? Give me a break. Some of the most youthful and actively engaged in life are that age and some of the twenty years olds are are really dull and totally ruled by media hype.People in their fifties and sixties finally have a few things figured out about life and are much better company!
Comment: #9
Posted by: Carol
Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:14 AM
No thanks, Diana. What's really sad is that the world is already full of people who "do what they want and apologize to no one." That would include the person who cuts you off in traffic, steals your wallet, butts in line, talks on their cell phone in a movie and a long list of other things which you're probably familiar with since that seems to be your philosophy of life. The last thing I want around me is more people who "do what they want and apologize to no one" and we can include in that group some of the more extreme mentally disabled and sociopaths. Nice world you've got there, Diana.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:23 AM
I like what Patty, the "Millionaire Matchmaker", says: "No sex before monogamy". She's pretty firm about that with her clients, and it makes sense!
Comment: #11
Posted by: DarkVorona
Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:08 AM
@Maggie Lawrence -- actually, I agree with you, even if it didn't sound like it in my original post. The point I was trying to make (but apparently didn't make very well) is that instead of trying to figure out if there's some nifty formula for how many dates/how long to "make him wait" so you aren't a floozy, perhaps she should instead focus on waiting until she TRUSTS someone. Where there is real trust, there isn't someone judging the other as as floozy, or as playing hard to get or what have you. Personally, I waited WAY longer than just three dates to have sex -- because I wanted to wait until I felt like there was a strong, stable relationship -- one built on trust and honesty. I never worried about whether a guy thought I was a floozy, because I knew I had a real relationship with someone I trusted first. And while I cannot imagine developing that kind of trust over the course of just three dates, who am I to dictate "this is how long it takes" to anyone else?
So, why, then, did I suggest having sex "when she feels like it" and if the guy is judging her as an expendable floozy, good riddance to him? Well, for one thing, if she's waiting simply to avoid being labeled a floozy, then that's sort of a stupid reason to wait -- basically, it's "playing the game" by "The Rules," and I was never a fan of "The Rules" and game-playing, in general. I'd rather she just be honest about what she wants -- which appears to be sex sooner rather than later. BUT, if what she wants is a real, meaningful, lasting relationship with someone, then that is worth waiting for and is not about playing games -- it's about building something real before hopping in the sack. I guess I got the impression that she wouldn't mind a casual roll in the hay, so long as she isn't going to be judged for it. IF that's the case (and it may not be -- hence the rest of the advice related to building trust first), then she should just have sex when she wants and not get all wrapped up in what the guy thinks of her.
Yes, if love is what she's looking for, she'd be wise to wait until she has a love she can trust. Frankly, nowhere in her letter does she say she wants love. She only says she wants to have sex but doesn't want to be considered a floozy.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Lisa
Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:20 PM
@DarkVorona -- I definitely agree. I've not watched "Millionaire Matchmaker," but "no sex before monogamy" is a smart rule to follow, since monogamy implies a level of commitment and trust.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Lisa
Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:22 PM
P.S. I hadn't heard of "aspirin between the knees" -- I heard it with pennies, instead! When I was in school, there was a required course called "health" that included a variety of topics, but the primary topic was sex ed -- they just didn't want to come out and call it that. The teacher, at that time, was probably in her 50s or 60s -- I believe she retired not long after I graduated. She taught us all about condoms, the pill, IUDs, etc., as that was what was required. But at the end of the course, after we'd taken the required exams, she went around the room and handed out a penny to each person (male and female -- after all, it's not just a woman who can keep one's legs closed). None of us knew why she was giving us the penny. When all of us had one, she told us to put it between our knees and hold it there. We all felt silly and still didn't know where this was going. Once everyone had his/her penny between his/her knees, the teacher said, "and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the only 100% effective form of birth control!"
Comment: #14
Posted by: Lisa
Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:31 PM
LW1--"I'm not interested in casual sex, but I have a healthy libido. If I'm really attracted to a man, I'll be dealing with some powerful mixed (internal) signals regarding how long to wait." So what you're saying, essentially, is that you want your cake and to eat it too. You want to have hot passionate sex with a man as soon as humanly possible, but you don't want said man to think you're a slut. Sorry honey, but you need to make a choice. If you hit the sheets on the third date, the guy is likely to think you're pretty easy. On the other hand if you wait until an engagement ring appears, then the guy is going to think you're trying to rope him into a commitment. Why are you pressuring yourself (and your guy)? If you want to get down and dirty, then own it and get down and dirty. There's no harm to you in sowing some wild oats, unless, apparently, you discover that your "F" buddy is someone you want to get serious with. My advice is to do some serious reflection and decide what's more important to you: having free and wanton sex with a hot guy or settling down and playing house. Act accordingly.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Chris
Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:21 PM
Re: Maggie Lawrence
Keep in mind Diana is the one who has told LWs more than once that no one is undamaged, no one is happy, every one is screwed up and dysfunctional. Mind you, sometimes she's right. Even a broken clock is right twice a day...

Comment: #16
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:04 PM
Re: Lisa
You know... like my daughter once told me... If you get sex early and the date doesn't pan out to anything serious, at least you got sex... tiding you over until you can get some serious stuff going. Out of the mouth of babes...

Comment: #17
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:50 PM
and manage to make that the first hour of the rest of their lives together. True!

The two most important men (tho not the only men) in my life were a firey sexual event on the first date. 35 and 25 years later-they are still around. There were reasons we could not marry (on my end) and tho they went on with their lives, as did I, they are still very much in the picture, if I ever need them.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Jennifer
Sun Apr 1, 2012 9:43 PM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
Amy Alkon
Feb. `16
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month