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General Dating Questions/weeding out "loser" men


Hi! I do not have much dating experience, even though I am in my thirties. This is because I have a history of extreme anxiety and very low self-esteem. However, with therapy, self-belief, and medication, my self-esteem and anxiety have improved substantially in the past several months.  I am very happy about this! My question is: What is a good number of dates or amount of time that should occur before having sex to find out if a guy is interested in ONLY sex?  What is a reasonable amount of time to guess that he is interested in a relationship in addition to sex?  Thank you!

Hello Holly!

Congratulations on your self-improvement success - I'm very proud of you!

I'll bet my answer is going to come as a surprise. It is: the absolute fewest number of dates and the shortest amount of time possible. Let me explain:

Conventional wisdom says to try to hold off a guy as long as possible. That is; to go on as many dates as possible and to try to build a relationship before having sex. The theory is this:

1) By creating scarcity you create value;

2) Getting the guy to "invest" in you over time makes it more likely he'll have a reason to stick around; and,

3) After enough time he must be interested in more than just sex, otherwise he'd be gone almost immediately.

In fact, every one of these beliefs is wrong. They are based on some very bad misunderstandings about men (and women too!) and are a hold-over from a culture that existed last millennium. Today, things don't work this way.

To understand why these points are false, you need to understand some basics of men in general. This is a little lengthy, but trust me, it's well-worth the read.

First, you have to understand the difference between "culture" and "nature".

"Culture" is a layer that we add to who and what we are. It gives us rules and order and allows us to have predictability in the way we interact with others. It's an artificial "layer" on top of the way we'd normally be, think, speak and act. It also changes over time - sometimes swinging wildly from one side to another and back again. Consider that fashion is just one example of culture. There are many, many others.

Culture is also there to hide the foundations of who and what we really are. This "who" and "what" are called "nature".

Nature is the way that things really work. Animals don't have "culture" per se - they operate entirely from "nature". If you've ever had a pet, you know this well. You try to impose YOUR culture on them so that they know how to get along with humans, but that isn't their natural state. They want to get up on the counter and eat what you're eating. They want go to the bathroom in the house, etc. We have to "culturalize" them to change their natural behaviors.

For example, do pets have "self-esteem"? No, not really - at least not in the "human" sense of the term. Thus, they can't have "poor self-esteem" (like you used to have). While self-esteem seems like a natural part of us humans, it's entirely culture-based. Ultimately, nature doesn't give a rip if you have "good" or "bad" self-esteem!

There are many other points of nature that we need to take into account because regardless of how culture may change, nature doesn't. You will always have to eat and sleep. You will always be motivated to survive. Likewise, you will be driven to find love and to love others.

These are nature's rules - not culture's. Thus, if you really want to know how things work in men, you need to understand our "natures" rather than relying on culture's rules as to how and when to do things - like have sex!

Now, here's a very important rule that nature has given us; but that culture is trying to trick you into not seeing:

In order for any man to become emotionally invested in you; that is, wanting more with you than just sex, you have to first, get sex out of the way!

Stop and think about that. Men and women are wired in very different ways here. Culture tends to skew "feminine" - particularly at this time in our history. But, as we've already explored, culture is about hiding nature's facts. Culture tells you the three points I mentioned above but nature simply doesn't give a shit about those points! Nature has it's own rules and they don't change and you can't get around them. They are firm.

Men are pre-wired to be sex-driven by nature. We learn culture just like women do and even learn how to use culture to get what we want - just like women do.

Nature's rule here is absolute. In fact, it's imposed itself in a way that you (and frankly, few women) understand: the vast majority of men are not able to connect with you emotionally or romantically until AFTER they've had sex with you! No, I'm not kidding.

Think about the last time you and a new boyfriend were in bed. Did you notice how he changed right after having sex? Most men get relaxed and open and comfortable (emotionally) following this experience and yes, there's a reason why. We've satisfied nature's programming and are able to deal with the emotional/cultural parts of being with you - including our emotional interest in you.

In fact, no man knows if he's interested in being with a woman long-term until AFTER he's had sex with her. That's nature's rule - and has been serving our species since mankind has been around. Culture would have you believe differently, but trust me, culture is wrong.

Let me repeat: until a man has had sex with you, he's incapable of knowing if he honestly wants more (long-term) with you or not. He may THINK he does, he may tell you he does and even want to believe it himself; but the fact remains: he simply doesn't know and won't until after you've had sex with him.

That's the first reason why you want to get sex started as early as possible, and there's one more:

Men have a built-in "shelf life" or what I call the "Window of Opportunity" or "WO".

Nature demands that her rules are followed. She's built these rules right into all of us and is unapologetic and unyielding about them.

Nature has built into men a timer (the "WO") that starts ticking the moment we meet a woman who we think we might want more with. Nature has done this in order to keep us hunting by the way so that we can ensure that our genes get passed to new generations.

Men want an emotional connection just like you do with us. However, we can't have that until after we get sex out of the way - or even know if we can have it with you until then. Nature has made it an urgency however via the WO because once the WO has closed, we can still have sex with you, but we actually lose the ability to connect with you emotionally!

Have you ever heard your girlfriends complain (or experienced this yourself): a girl meets a man she really likes. She works hard to hold him off for weeks or months (following the three points above) and finally has sex with him. Then, she never hears from the guy again.

Does this story sound familiar? It should! Many women; being the culture-based creatures you are, try to follow those three points; let the man's WO close (which is a permanent thing by the way) and then try to keep him around via sex. The guy sleeps with her and only afterward realizes he can't connect with her (because he's lost that ability) and then goes out looking for what he wanted in the first place: an emotional connection - something he can no longer have with this particular woman! Women THINK it's because the man is (your term) a "loser" when in fact, SHE created the problem - not him! He might have been just as interested in something long-term with that girl (or you!) only to lose the ability because she tried to operate from cultural rules rather than nature's!

So, your next question is this: how long does a man's WO stay "open"? The answer to that is different for each guy but tends to be based on his "market value". Higher-value men tend to have much shorter WO's than lower-value men - some as few as a couple of dates - and some as long as a few months - but rarely longer than that.

So, back to my answer:

How long, or how many dates should you hold a guy off from sex? Answer: as soon and as few dates as possible. As soon as you think you might want more than to just casually hang-out as friends with a guy, you need to get working on getting him in bed! To do that, you need to focus and work on your own sexual "self-esteem".

Sex isn't something you trade for relationships. It's its own, separate benefit not just for your guy but for you as well. You need to work on your sexuality to build it's strength and thus, your confidence right along with it. Have you ever met a sexually-confident individual with low self-esteem? There aren't many of them out there.

By the way; another question you're probably having is: "If this is true, is it ok to have sex on the first date?" The answer is: Yes it is - AS LONG AS you're in a good place with it and your sexuality is strong enough.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

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Dr. Dennis W. Neder


I'm able to answer any sort of question related to the approach, meeting people, dating, sex, relationships, break-ups, non-legal marriage and divorce questions, and anything in between. I've helped over 30,000 people with their individual issues. IMPORTANT: Please, PLEASE don't ask me, "what was he thinking..." or "why did he say..." types of questions! I DO NOT READ MINDS! There are 1,001 reasons why someone does what they do, says what they say or thinks what they think. If you *REALLY* want to know what they were thinking, saying or why they were acting that way - go ask them! Be sure to check out my FAQ's on my website at: You can email me directly at:


I am the author of the books "Being a Man in a Woman`s World I & II" and "1001 Places and Techniques to Meet Great Women" and 11 others. I`ve spent the last 20 years studying the art and science of every aspect of relationships, and have answered over 30,000 letters from readers all over the world. My main focus is men`s relationships with women, but I also have many female readers and answer questions for them regularly as well.

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