sex & relationships

The three date rule: say no to social convention

In 2014, dating is not as it used to be. With apps like Tinder, an increased sexual freedom and less prejudice regarding sexual promiscuity, individuals are generally able to have sex when they wish to without feeling like they have to conform to a strict repertoire of expectations.

The pressure to wait before sex

Despite the fact that there is less pressure to wait to have sex, there is defiantly still a precedent that encourages people to think carefully before they plunge. Often, friends advise friends to make things ‘official’ before they do the deed – apparently in an attempt to ensure the new suitor is in it for the long run, and not just after one thing.

Even with such freedom, there are definite standards with which females are expected to act within and to stray out of these notions means being ostracized from friends and treated as a less than respectable human being. But why in such a sexually freeing society, are females are still dubbed as a ‘slag’ or ‘easy’ for sleeping with a man after only a couple of dates?

The ‘three date’ rule

To be sexually free, it is clear that you are able to act on your sexual desires without feeling like you have to act a certain way to fit in with a supposed norm. Often, the behaviour of women is discussed deeper when relating to new relationships and dating. The typical expectation is for women to be virtuous, to resist temptation and to wait a considerable amount of time before having sex with a new man. In the past, the ‘three date rule’ has been in circulation, suggesting that a time limit should be set in order for the female to appear respectable, with often no mention of whether the male participant should have to wait. This expectation means that females are taught to resist sex when it is casual, or after a night out in order to retain some sense of positive face – to appear proper. If a female ‘gives in’ (as casual sex seems to be a weakness when females are concerned) she is often treated badly, dubbed promiscuous and the butt of many sex related jokes for many weeks to come. In contrast to this subjection, for males’, sexual conquests are treated like a badge of honour, an act to be proud of and shared – rather than a route to shame and ridicule.

Sexual behaviour is individual

Dating is complicated. There are many different ways to interpret the status of a couple – and each one often garners a multitude of differing opinions. There will always be the endless questions when you begin to date someone new – “So are you official?”  “Are you going out or seeing each other?”  The prevalence of these questions means that more pressure is mounted upon the debate on when having sex is ‘appropriate’ and treated without judgement. Apparently, a single word can change how the act appears to others. When a friend says they are ‘exclusive’ the automatic assumption is that them having sex is deemed respectable, as they are only sleeping with each other. It is unfair to place these pressures on new couples, as who is anyone else to judge their private behaviour?

In such a sexually explicit, freeing and heavily debated time, why do people place so much judgement on when new couples should have sex for the first time? In my opinion it makes no difference to any outsider – sexual behaviour is individual, not shared. If the stereotypes’ regarding female sexual decisions and unnecessary shaming continues females will be forever unable to be truly sexually free and this is a great disadvantage to female independence and the individual’s ability to choose who they want to have sex with and when. One date, ten dates, or wait the rest of your life – why should it matter?