Gender and Society

Reasons Women Delay Engaging in Sexual Activity by Lisa

Understanding ‍Why Some Women Prefer​ to Delay Sex (And How to Respectfully ⁣Handle This)

You’ve recently begun dating someone. ⁤You’re attracted to her and⁣ are eager to take your relationship to a​ physical level.‌ Everything ‌seems to be progressing smoothly until she expresses her desire ⁢to wait ‍before engaging in sexual activities.

This​ conversation might arise during a⁣ date ⁣or after an intense makeout ⁤session. While you respond ⁣with empathy and respect, you may ⁣feel slightly disappointed ​or curious about ⁣her ‌reasons. ⁤You ‌might also ​be unsure about‌ how to discuss this topic respectfully.‍

RELATED: The Benefits of Waiting to Have ‍Sex

This article explores why some women ‍prefer to delay ⁤sex and provides guidance on how to​ respectfully handle such situations.

Why​ Some Women Choose to Delay Sex

It’s important to avoid generalizations. Women, like men, have ‍diverse views on sex and individual preferences. ⁤

However,‌ in a society where gender plays a significant role, ⁢women often ‍face unique challenges⁣ that may⁤ influence their decision to delay‌ sex with a ⁣new ⁢partner.‍

“Women⁢ who choose to wait are not necessarily being prudish, mean, or playing games,” ⁢explains Nicole Prause, Ph.D.,⁤ a licensed psychologist​ and founder of Liberos. “They are ⁤making informed decisions based on ‍the information you provide⁤ during dates about ‍your safety and their potential ‍pleasure‌ with you.”

This doesn’t imply that your new romantic interest thinks you’re bad in bed, ⁢isn’t attracted to you, ⁢or ‍feels unsafe around ‍you. However,⁤ it‌ does suggest that she ⁢may want to take her time to build more trust.

1. They‌ May Anticipate ⁣Less Pleasure Than You

“If⁤ you are having sex with women, ⁤the likelihood they ​will⁢ climax during their first‌ sexual encounter with ‌you is small,” says Prause, referring to the ‘orgasm gap.’”

Remember, this isn’t‍ necessarily a‍ reflection of your perceived abilities in the bedroom, ⁤but could be a‍ result⁢ of⁣ previous​ unsatisfying encounters or​ negative experiences with​ men.

If she’s had selfish ⁣lovers⁣ in the past, she might not view a ​hookup with a ‌man she doesn’t know well yet as enjoyable⁢ as a man might. As Prause explains, when women⁣ decide whether​ to engage in sexual activities, they are balancing “serious concerns⁤ with⁣ a lower‌ likelihood of pleasure than most men are.”

2. ⁢They ‍May Be Conscious of ⁣Seeming ‘Too Easy’

Appearing “too easy” is also a potential concern. Historically, ‍women have been ‍shamed and​ judged for⁢ embracing their sexuality. ‌While messages like “don’t ⁣give it up ‍too quickly” or “why buy the cow when he can get the milk for free” are ‌outdated​ and problematic, they can still influence⁣ women’s decisions ‌about sex.

“Society’s stigma of having sex ‘too quickly’ has a strong⁣ negative connotation⁢ that‌ many women feel shame around,” says Christina Bradley, a senior associate therapist at Gateway‍ to Solutions. ⁣

There are even dating rules⁢ like the “90-day rule,”‌ which suggests⁢ that a woman should wait at least 90 days‍ before having sex with a man. ‌These rules⁢ are based on the notion that men don’t‌ value women who sleep with them too quickly. ⁤

Because of these societal pressures, a woman might ⁤sexually desire you yet choose to ⁢wait to avoid being perceived in a certain way. ⁣Ironically, the more she likes you, the more‌ concerned she might be about what‍ you’ll think if she has‍ sex with​ you too soon.

3.⁤ They ⁢May‍ Be Concerned About​ Unplanned Pregnancy

Fears of ⁤unplanned pregnancy may‌ also contribute to the ​decision to ⁤delay⁢ sex.

“The possibility of unplanned pregnancy makes many⁢ women fearful, hesitant, ‍or at ⁤minimum need to do very complex calculations ⁤about​ sex at any given time,” says Carol ‌Queen,‍ Good Vibes staff sexologist. “This has gotten ⁤exponentially worse for many as abortion and even Plan B and birth control ‌are at risk for ⁣women in many states ⁢in ⁢the U.S.”

Even ​with access to ⁤reproductive health care, an unplanned⁣ pregnancy with someone you barely‍ know is a⁢ stressful situation. Women often bear the ⁣burden of birth control –⁢ and with that burden can come a tendency​ to hesitate ‌before having sex with a new partner.

4. They May Be Concerned About STI Transmission

Similarly, the risk of STI transmission is another factor that women may consider before deciding to have sex with you. It’s not a minor concern – according to the CDC, 1 in 5 people in ​the U.S. have an STI. ‍Anyone who is sexually active can get or spread one, ⁣especially considering‌ that​ some infections can be asymptomatic. This ‌risk increases if you have multiple sexual partners.

Women may‍ be acutely aware of these risks. A Cosmopolitan survey ​ revealed‌ that nearly half ⁢of women (47 percent) reported that ⁢none​ of their past partners asked ⁢about their STI testing results before sex. The survey also revealed that women are ⁣more ‍likely than men‍ to have⁣ been tested in the past year​ (58 percent⁤ of women versus 33​ percent of men). ⁤

While condoms significantly⁢ reduce the risk of contracting ‍an ⁣STI, they are not foolproof. Some women may choose to wait⁤ until you ⁢establish trust and sexual exclusivity before sleeping with you — or they may want to ask that you ⁣both⁤ get tested before having sex.

5. They May Be Concerned About ⁢Sexual Violence

“A ‌woman’s risk of being assaulted by a man is many times‌ higher than the risk of the reverse,” says Prause. ⁢

Unfortunately, sexual violence is prevalent. According to RAINN, 1⁣ out of every 6 American women has been the‍ victim of‍ an attempted or completed rape. CDC data also shows that 1 in 3 women experience sexual harassment in a public place.

While men⁣ can ​also be victims of sexual assault, the vast ⁤majority of victims are women (90%). Understandably, this factors into⁢ their ⁣thinking⁢ about sex, especially if they’ve experienced trauma in⁢ the ⁣past.

RELATED: How to Support Sexual Assault Survivors

6. They May Fear an Imbalance in Emotional Attachment

Some ⁢women‍ are⁤ comfortable⁢ with casual sex. ​Others prefer to ‍have ​sex with people they have an ⁤emotional​ connection with.

“Though this is a generalization and not​ a hard-and-fast rule, men can ⁣compartmentalize sexual⁤ encounters and women often incorporate their emotions in the act,” says licensed mental ‌health counselor Mary ​Joye.

While this isn’t ⁣a statement that applies⁤ to all ⁣women — and men can certainly ​prefer emotionally connected⁢ sex too — some women are aware that if they⁣ sleep ⁢with a man, they’re likely to develop deeper feelings for him.

“Men may also​ disengage after ⁤physical intimacy, so there​ is ‌a risk of ‍losing the connection entirely,” adds Bradley.

In a hookup culture where many ​men are seeking casual⁤ sex rather than more meaningful relationships,‌ if a ⁢woman is worried the man ​she’s‍ seeing is unlikely to stick around if she starts to want more, it makes sense to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach when ​it comes to sex.

As a result, ‍these women may wait to assess ​whether the relationship gets more serious and‌ see what his level of⁤ interest or commitment is before investing more.

7. They May Have Other Personal Reasons ​

People, regardless of​ gender, have various⁤ reasons for‍ wanting to delay​ rushing into a sexual relationship with someone. ⁢

Some⁣ people choose to abstain from sex until marriage ​for religious reasons. Others⁤ have boundaries around sex and exclusivity.⁢ People who’ve never‍ slept with anyone before might want to ⁣take things slow so they⁣ don’t end up regretting their​ first time.

RELATED: Factors to Consider Before Sleeping With a Virgin

There are numerous reasons, ⁣not necessarily ⁤connected ‌to gender, that a ⁤woman might want ⁤to delay sex. Ultimately, though, no justification is needed. Sometimes you’re just at a point in your life or in a specific ​relationship‌ when‌ waiting‌ to have sex‍ feels like the best thing for you.

How to Approach ⁤the Topic ⁤If She Wants ‍to Wait

If ‌a woman you’re dating wants ⁢to ⁣delay or take it slow sexually,⁣ there are several ‌ways you can approach her with care and consideration.

The most crucial thing is to avoid ‍pressuring her and show her ⁤that⁤ you respect her decision. ‌According‍ to Prause, women often feel nervous about expressing their ‌desire to delay sex. This hesitation can⁣ stem ⁤from a need to ‍protect themselves against coercion or ‍violence.

But it⁢ can also be because they like you ⁣and want you to reciprocate‌ their feelings. Maybe they’re attracted to you and want to be sexual ⁣with⁢ you eventually — ⁢they’re⁢ just not ready yet.⁤ Perhaps they’re worried⁤ about how you’ll perceive them⁤ or react.

So, if your new partner tells you that ‌she isn’t ready to have sex with you yet, understand that it ‌might‍ not have ‌been easy for her to‍ share. Your reaction — ‌and your approach⁤ to physical intimacy after she ⁣discloses that she wants to wait​ — plays a role in determining how safe she‌ feels with you.

“The No. ‌1 thing I ⁢believe men can do to respectfully navigate women’s⁤ preferences for initiating sex is to look ⁤for a no,” says Prause. “Men typically look only ​for ‘go’ ⁢signals. She ​said⁤ yes to kissing?‌ She’ll probably let me touch her ​breasts,⁤ so I’ll try.”

Looking for stop‍ signals, on the other hand, shows that⁤ you’re trustworthy ​and respectful — and interested⁤ in establishing safety and respecting her consent. ⁢For example, if ⁣she⁤ flinches ‌when you try to ‌touch her breasts, you can take note and stick to kissing unless she⁣ moves her hands back or explicitly tells ⁣you to try again.

RELATED: ​ 6 Things That ⁤Don’t Constitute​ Consent⁢ (And 3 Things ⁢That Do)

“In summary, there are many​ reasons women may be‍ hesitant to give you a strong no. You can be an ally by looking for, ​even​ soliciting, ⁢a no. When women feel safe to tell⁤ you their sexual desires, this ⁣is, by⁣ far, the best​ long-term strategy for establishing trust to‍ share sexual desires in any ‍sexual relationship ⁣with a woman,” adds Prause.

Finally, ​Prause advises against asking for ⁢a specific timeline: “While there occasionally ‌may be women​ who have‍ a number in mind, it is⁣ far more likely that she is waiting‍ to feel⁤ secure, whatever that means⁢ to her, and you asking for a specific timing‌ means you have ‍no idea what she is experiencing.”

If sex early⁣ in a​ relationship ‌is important ⁣to you ​and‌ you no longer feel comfortable waiting, the right thing to do is⁤ to accept where she’s at and consider⁤ whether you want to continue the relationship or not.

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