Pure Romance recently opened its doors to the public for its annual Valentine’s Day Warehouse Sale; I love this time of year because I get to meet with so many different people and answer their questions on a one-to-one level. Similar to my Ask Patty column, I’m always approached with a wide range of questions, yet it seems this year I had more and more women coming to visit me with the same question: “I’ve started seeing someone new, when is it okay to be intimate with them? Is there a ‘too soon’?” Both men and women have concerns about what is “normal” in terms of their relationships, including when is it “OK” to start being intimate with another person. I’ve enjoyed sharing these many insights within my book Pure Romance Between the Sheets.
An important point to remember is that not every relationship has to end up in bed after just a short while. It is perfectly okay for you not to be sexual with someone you’re dating for as long as you choose to do so – and that it’s your choice. It’s important to explore your feelings as to whether or not you are ready to be intimate. You may discover that you don’t want to be intimately involved at this point in your life. And that’s okay!
The more time you take to get to know a person (and yourself), the more comfortable you will feel when you are ready for your relationship to become physical. Communication is such an important part of a relationship, both in and out of the bedroom, so talk to your partner about your feelings. Not only can this reduce any anxiety you might be feeling, but it can also open those all-important lines of communication. Remember – if this is someone with whom you might eventually be physically intimate, becoming emotionally intimate first can be a very positive process.
It’s natural to feel anxious and uncomfortable about being intimate with someone new. The initial step to overcoming these feelings is to identify what you really want for yourself, not believing what you think others want from you. Once you have a strong grasp on your own sexual self, you’ll be able to let whoever you’re dating know what you are ready for at that time. Then you are giving that person a chance to respect your feelings.
Of course, baring yourself and your true feelings can be hard. I strongly recommend taking it one step at a time. It is important to have a partner who can be caring, sensitive, and supportive. Sharing your needs and feelings from the get-go will help you weed out those who don’t fit this description.