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How abstaining got him to tell me he liked me

When to get intimate? Often the million dollar/relationship defining question.

And a few too many glasses of your favourite tipple can sway you in a certain direction quicker than you might have thought.

I had a few firm rules when I was dating that I always stuck by for guys I genuinely liked (note these did not apply to guys I didn’t see things going anywhere with). Whilst these didn’t always guarantee a relationship was on the cards, they did always leave me comfortable with my choices and not full of regret or shame. It’s these reasons which I think are such an important consideration when considering when to get intimate, and your thresholds will be different to mine!

My rules

I thought I’d share the very simple rules that worked for me.

  1. I never slept with a guy until I was sure he genuinely liked me*

  2. If it was a close call, I would always err on the side of caution and say no

*now, I’m going to preempt the “but how did you know??” question by saying this: I looked at how he ACTED towards me and how he made me FEEL - mainly on an instinctive basis.

A little story - why they worked

I was in my mid 20s and dating a very eligible bachelor. He had a lovely house in Borough which is very appealing when you’re in dingy flat share in Clapham. Our first meeting was quite amusing so allow me to digress slightly… he approached me in a nightclub in Camden several times and eventually we wound up chatting for ages at the bar. When I went back to where my friends had been, they’d all gone home for the night. Complete with my purse, phone and keys. Lucky guy - I didn’t have much choice but to go back to his that night!

We kissed, but I made very clear nothing more was going to happen - this guy struck me as a potential... He lived up to that potential the next day, taking me for a lovely long recovery lunch in Borough - whilst I was dressed in his skinny jeans and t-shirt, and my heels from the night before! And our dating began.

Around 4 or 5 dates in I was staying over again and he asked why I still wasn’t ready to sleep with him. I explained my rules. He looked at me and said “But I really like you, and I’ve shown you that the whole way through - I completely respect you and would like to explore more intimacy”. Bingo, I had the clearest answer ever to my rules. The very fact that I was prepared to stick to my rules until I got the answer I needed, led to me getting that answer (and it was genuine!). It made me feel so much more safe, secure and comfortable and I didn’t leave the next morning with any doubts as to whether I’d see him again (which of course I did).

And whilst it didn’t work eventually, it did lead to such a genuine experience - I look back on it as an important learning curve for me, and an introduction to the benefits of dating an older guy!

Why I believe in erring on the side of caution

Whilst there will always be the story of a friend who ended up married to her one-night stand, I do think this is an area to tread very carefully in. More for the protection of your own feelings, and your own self-respect.

Whilst plenty of guys will claim they wouldn’t be put off by sex on a first date, I think a significant shift in dynamic can occur due to the changes it leaves in you (remember all those hormones!) Sure, if a woman retains her confidence, sexiness and is amazing in bed the guy may be left gagging for more. But I think a lot of the time, it leaves the woman feeling vulnerable and the man left questioning her confidence and self-respect as a result of this vulnerability, rather than because of what she was prepared to do.


This is a controversial subject, and I 100% do not think less of anyone who has slept with someone they like on a first date - nor do I want you to feel any shame that you didn’t feel before as a result of reading this article.

But I do want to open you up to considering how getting intimate changes how YOU feel. What’s guaranteed is that it will have an effect on your hormones, which can lead you somewhat blind to the true merits (or lack thereof!) of the relationship and acting in ways you wouldn’t normally rationally act.

Remember, if you’re going to spend the rest of your life with this guy, waiting a few weeks to be sure is such a short time!

The most important thing to focus on in dating and relationships is how YOU feel and what YOU feel comfortable doing. As long as you’re following that, you stand yourself in great stead for not getting hurt and for finding a long-lasting relationship that works great for you - whenever you wind up sleeping with him.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this somewhat controversial topic, and do check out my article which explains more about what happens in your body when you get intimate.


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