I won’t go into one of the many rants I have stored up on how damaging the mere premise of Steve Harvey’s Think Like A Man, Act Like A Lady book can be to women attempting to maneuver through already confusing dating and relationship rituals. That ship has sailed, we all watched it make its bon voyage. Over wine the other day, though, a group of sister-friends and I had a chit-chat about one segment of the book that we felt was worth exploring: the three-month rule. Harvey has notoriously (or victoriously, depending on who you ask) stated that women should wait at least three months before sleeping with a new partner.
As a feminist and one who advocates for women to be released from all rules that govern how, when, where and why we sex, I am totally against blanket guidelines being provided to women (who obviously have had unsuccessful relationships and are looking for answers) that may or may not be beneficial to them as individuals. Meaning, one woman can decide that she is ready to have sex after an initial meeting, and another may need years of contemplation before taking such a step; neither method of thinking is right or wrong.
As a divorcee well into her thirties with plenty of “dating the wrong guy” experience, and as someone who studies and discusses women, desire and relationships often, I won’t count out a woman’s need to investigate her own feelings about sharing sex and the expectations that follow- AND how those expectations will affect her feelings of self worth and esteem. A woman who understands that she becomes extremely emotionally attached to her partner post-coitus may need significant time to determine who her potential partner is and where the relationship may go after sex. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel secure about such a thing, and many women with fewer dating and sexual experiences find making and negotiating “wait” rules helpful. To them, cementing rules make them feel powerful and in control of their bodies and their sex. I’m not mad.
Many of the women in my circle, who share my age and experience, completely dismiss the ninety-day dating rule as pure and utter bullsh*t. Hey, these women are veterans- many are married (or divorced) with children and mortgages, and know better than to rely on rules that ultimately inhibit them from doing what they want. One friend commented, “If I wait three months for sex and its wack, I’m going to be pissed. Who has time for that?” For a woman who has limited time to date and frolic, trying to uphold rules surrounding desire can be viewed as repressive, and plain nonsensical. But again, as one ages and learns to trust her inner-voice, she quickly figures out what will work for her and what won’t. I know women who can have a fifteen-minute bar conversation with a guy and determine whether said guy is datable and sex-able. It truly can be that easy, for some.
Again, when to sex varies from woman to woman depending on a slew of criteria, but what is constant is the exhausting thought process that many women face attempting to determine whether or not to they should lay it down- both literally and figuratively. Often, instead of women meditating on whether or not they want to have sex and how that sex will affect THEM, they are caught up in trying to determine how having sex will make them look in the eyes of their lovers, families and friends. What is lost in translation is pleasure and freedom, which is really what sex is all about anyway, yes?
Want a male perspective? Listen to what Steve Harvey himself has to say about why women should practice the three-month rule here. Also, check out Jason Hairston as he offers a rebuttal to Harvey’s assertion.
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