Looking for Love
The complaint is well known: women meet men who want to have sex right away, even on the first date. How can a woman get a man to wait until she knows him better?
There are a few ways this issue can be addressed, so I will be making two points: one will pertain to how a woman presents herself and behaves on a date, which is addressed specifically to women. In the second point I will address the sex and dating issue directly, which will be of benefit to women as well as men.
When I hear women complain that the only thing that men are interested in is sex, I try to get them to look at themselves first before casting all of the blame on men. For example, if you are dating online, what is the message that your profile conveys about you? Let's start with your pictures: do you look smartly attractive in a variety of poses, or do your pictures instead exude sex with a "come hither" look? In your profile, how do you describe yourself, the men who interest you, and your ideal date? If it contains too many references to romance, this can be confused with wanting sex.
So be sure that your profile makes you sound appealing while simultaneously showing you as a woman of substance who is looking for a solid guy.
How do you behave while on the first date? It's important that you act in a friendly, but not too flirtatious manner. Make sure that you are wearing attractive (but not too sexy) clothes and that your shade of lipstick doesn't shout out "kiss me!" A man will respond to your lead if you start to touch him, so make sure that your gestures are meant to be friendly, not ones that would convey an interest in being grabbed and hotly pursued.
Even if a woman passes her own assessment of the cues and clues that she communicates, it's important to remember just how powerful sex hormones can be. Since there is a natural biological basis to chemistry and attraction, it will call out to be gratified. Instead of going for instant gratification, I suggest that singles channel their experience of chemistry to concentrate on learning more about their dating partner-to determine if you share a similar life path, and see if s/he has the necessary enduring qualities essential for a creating a committed relationship. This kind of learning is best accomplished when you spend your time together asking questions, listening to answers, and paying attention to behaviors.
But what happens if you and your dating partner end up in "lip lock" and are headed towards the bedroom? Sure, you might "learn" a lot about each other, but not with the same objectivity had you kept your clothes on. So it's important that you and your dating partner have the same answer to this question-- what are you looking for in a relationship? Are you looking for love, or are you looking for sex?
If you are a man or a woman honestly searching for a life partner relationship, then this should not be a difficult question to answer. Many psychological and sociological studies have found that when people experience instant chemistry, and then act on it quickly by engaging in sex, there is a higher chance that the relationship will "crash & burn," instead of becoming a lasting and loving partnership.
Relationships that last might have a strong chemical component in the beginning, and this can be a good thing! However, it's not necessarily the only essential ingredient for creating a long-term relationship. Growing together has to "take root" in something more than chemistry since attraction, being biochemically based, can wax and wane. And experiencing chemistry with someone does not guarantee anything whatsoever in the future. Look instead to develop a friendship based in similar interests, values, priorities and life goals. These are the qualities that will contribute to creating a loving relationship that lasts.
© Copyright 2005 Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D.
About Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D. Practicing as a psychologist for over 20 years, Janice has treated many singles looking to get married, but who had become depressed and demoralized by the dating process. She now uses her skills and experience to help healthy singles overcome the obstacles preventing them from attaining the relationships and lives they really want. Janice has been quoted in Cosmopolitan Magazine, writes the "Love Coach" advice column on http://www.JMatch.com, has a free e-newsletter and gives teleclasses, lectures and workshops. Check out her "Get Your Love Right!" blog, read other dating-related Q's&A's and articles, and sign up for a complimentary 40 minute telephone coaching session by visiting her website at http://www.DoctorLoveCoach.com
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