Reader Dr. Jeremy left a comment earlier today that was interesting and contains some excellent advice. Jeremy Nicholson is a writer and psychologist specializing in social and personality psychology. I’ve linked to him before, while discussing male mating strategies and being miserable in the friend zone, and he comes by HUS from time to time and joins our discussions. His insight, both professional and personal, has been extremely valuable and popular with other readers.
Earlier today we were talking about why women would go for a hookup (casual) when what they really want is a boyfriend (commitment). I observed that many women see the casual hookup as the prerequisite for a shot at the relationship:
You want a boyfriend? Well, to get that you have to travel through Lust, the second circle of Hell. Nearly every relationship I know of among young people today began with uncommitted sex. The women took a leap of faith and prayed they wouldn’t be pumped and dumped.
No Sex Before Monogamy is ideal, but I’m not kidding myself. It’s very rare.
Dr. Jeremy responded:
I think there are a lot of behavior nuances here that we are missing, which give women control in the outcome of the hookup and also show differences in their character. Specifically, I see three such areas, where women can behave to limit their hook-up risk and maximize the possibility of a long-term relationship, i.e., LTR, (and also be less severely evaluated by men who care). These assume the women care about their sexual reputation and are goal-oriented looking for a LTR too – rather than being STR-oriented, sex-positive, and just having fun with wherever they land.
1) Screening – Getting to know a man over time as a friend first is much less risky and requires less faith than falling into bed with a stranger. Also, having selective and defined criteria for sex partners can maximize the chance a ONS turns into a LTR, much better than simply sleeping with whoever asks and hoping for the best. Both help the woman “pick” a guy who is more likely to eventually turn into a LTR, even if their physical relationship starts with no-promises sex. Having sex after being friends first and/or having set criteria for sex partners is also more palatable to future men, as it shows greater character, discretion, and self-control.
2) Escalating – Lust and hook-ups can take many forms. The first physical encounter does not necessarily have to go all the way to intercourse. Women have options of stopping the activity at making out, mutual masturbation, oral sex, etc. Rather than going “all in” with intercourse, they can step it up over time. This tests the man in an incremental way and risks less on her part all at once. If he doesn’t call after a blow job, having intercourse would not have turned him into a boyfriend. But, having another full “notch” on her belt may be more traumatic for her, and might be judged less favorably by others. So, better to only have “faith” and “risk” a kiss or bj, than go all in – especially when the results are no different (or possibly even worse for full sex at time #1).
3) Follow-Up – Does the woman choose to pursue and even “game” the guy after hooking up, or just passively see what he does? A woman who actively pursues a relationship after a hookup is more likely to get one. She also feels better about herself if it doesn’t work out, because she was an active agent who tried, instead of being a passive victim. Future partners would judge her less harshly for wanting and pursuing a relationship too, rather than simply letting herself “get used” for one night of sex.
Given all that, while “no sex before monogamy” is hard right now – nevertheless, there are “smarter” ways of hooking up than others, which are more likely to result in a LTR. Sure, sex must often be risked before commitment. But, that risk can be mitigated and drawn out over time, depending on HOW a woman chooses to hook up within the broad spectrum of that behavior.
Having said that, I also see your own success story as a bit more than just taking a “leap of faith” with uncommitted sex. First, your now husband began as a friend, who you carefully screened for awhile, along specific criteria. Although you focused on attractive alpha characteristics, you also had some beta characteristics in your criteria – improving LTR success. This friendship, time lag, and screening made the eventual sex less impulsive. It also made it more likely to turn into a LTR than some random, un-calculated ONS with a stranger pulled from a bar.
Second, you pursued him after the sex. Kudos for that btw. It takes a lot of guts, particularly because it is contrary to the standard female role. Even after rejection, you still stayed connected. You even “gamed” him a bit, with some Scarcity/Rules stuff there by ignoring him for a time (even if it was unintentional). Eventually, that pumped your value enough to get him to chase you. So, you limited the risk of getting pumped and dumped there by hanging on, asserting your desires, and even gaming to get it.
Thus, you didn’t just “spread and pray”…you did “hook up smart”. The only piece I might add in retrospect, is that I would have advised stopping that first night at something less than sex. I would have told you to give him a hand job or oral, then see what he does… If he doesn’t try to reciprocate in some manner, prompt him by getting naked but saying you don’t want full sex. If he doesn’t use fingers or tongue, cut him loose – he’s not that into you. If he does reciprocate, then see if he calls. Try to make plans for next time, etc.
Doing it that way and stopping at manual/oral for the first hookup would be less of an investment. Emotionally, you might not have needed a weekend away to recover when he declined your next offer. Also, if it had not blossomed past a ONS, the next guy would be less likely to count it.
I hope all this makes sense. There are nuances here that can help women achieve a LTR goal. Even if they “have to” eventually hookup and have intercourse before commitment, how they navigate the choices within and up to that make a difference to LTR success. It will later make a difference as to whether their future husbands (who may care) have dissonance/phantoms about their historic behavior too.
I know you are wrestling with the religious component here. I know some guys are “all or nothing”. One PIV and she’ a slut. I don’t think most guys are that way though. They don’t necessarily want perfect, sparkling, virgins. However, I do think a larger number of guys get a bit squeamish when they learn their wife has made some pretty impulsive, reckless, and unseemly sexual decisions in her past. So, for women who want LTRs, “hooking up smart” every time works for both her goals – and her future husband’s happiness.
Good stuff, right? What do you think?
Note: Both comments were edited. Jeremy’s full comment may be found here.