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feeling chemistry?

tip!
See if it's more than skin deep.

Don't let the chemicals grease a slide you might regret.

Facts of Love #3 (4, 5 and 6 too!)
  • Half of all teens have not had sex (sometimes people lie to their peers about it).
     
  • Many who have, wish they'd waited.
     
  • Most sexual relationships last 6 months or less.
     
  • It can be harder to break up if you've gotten sexually involved.
The 3-6-9 Rule needs a PLAN
Touching skin-on-skin, breasts, and genitals will lead to sexual arousal that's hard to turn off...no matter what your intentions. That's why it's good to have a plan:
  • Decide beforehand: what touch is OK, and what's not OK?
     
  • How will you spend your time together? Balance time making out with time doing things together -- and think about limiting time making out.
     
  • Going to the next level -- moving boundaries -- should always be a DECISION and not a slide.

3-6-9 Rule: No Big Decisions for 3-6-9 Months

Can you relate?

  • "I wish I never got involved -- it's gotten so complicated"
  • "It always starts off sweet but ends up a disappointment"
  • "I just wanted a hook-up, now I'm catching feelings"
  • "Why do I keep getting in relationships that don't work?"
  • "Why do I keep getting drawn to the bad boys? Clueless girls?"
Those love chemicals make it awfully easy to SLIDE into:
  • getting involved with someone you later regret, or
  • sticking with someone you know you should break up with.
This is one of the biggest reasons people find themselves with relationship disappointments, regrets, and even stuck in a place they never planned to be -- pregnant, with a sexually transmitted disease, or feeling trapped with someone who's not right for them.

In the beginning of your relationship you don't always see clearly who your partner really is. It's the surface stuff, and the assumptions we make about that surface stuff, that turns on the chemistry.

But to really know someone, you need time to do things together, talk, laugh, and find out if you really like each other's personalities. You need time to see if your differences work together; to see if deep down there's enough that you really like about each other to want to be together.

Pitfalls of Sex-too-Soon

No one tells you much about the pitfalls of sex-too-soon: How it can change a relationship, set up unrealistic expectations, keep a relationship from growing, or even keep a bad one going that should end! Even people who say, "I don't want a relationship -- it's just sex" often find they catch feelings and get frustrated or resentful that their sex partner isn't showing more interest.

That stew of chemicals affecting our brains and bodies is cooking on high at the beginning.

The Third Option: Pacing it Slowly

You can live by the 3-6-9 rule. That means no big decisions about a relationship, or about sex, until you've been seeing each other for 3 or 6 or 9 months. (And it's safer to stick with 6 or 9 months before you start seriously considering really big decisions, like having sex.)

There are more and more people today turned off by the sex-so-soon or casual sex scene. They are deciding to take things more slowly. There is no magic number. Some wait for 12 months, some wait for 2 years, some wait till engagement or marriage. But it's SO wise to make a personal promise to wait at least 3 or 6 or 9 months to make those big decisions. It takes at least that long for the love chemicals to settle down a bit.

More Romantic

The 3-6-9 rule is more romantic. Get to know each other and do fun things. How about dancing, the zoo, a movie, concert, sports game, walk in the park, skateboarding, bike riding, making dinner together? Kissing and cuddling while holding onto boundaries is romantic. People rarely regret a slower pace. In fact, most sexually-experienced teens report they wish they had waited. (Here's a report on that survey: With One Voice 2012 [PDF: 1.1M].)

Heads Up! You Need a Plan

Pacing it slow means you have a plan that both of you agree to stick to. Where do you draw your line? When, and under what conditions, would you move your line? What rules do you have that help you stick to your plan? Anyone with a normal sex drive struggles with stopping points. It's not easy to turn off the passion as you get more sexually aroused, so rules help.
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