Q: When is a decent amount of time should one date someone before having sex with them?
A: There is no specific amount of time one should date before having sex with someone. People may date someone anywhere from a few days to a few years before deciding to have sex with that person. Also, many people have sex with other people that they're not dating at all. What is right for you should be determined by what you and your partner are comfortable with.
According to a 2006 survey study, most college-age men reported that they're comfortable having sex with someone after two weeks of dating, while most college-age women reported they're comfortable having sex with someone after several months of dating. However, many participants varied around those averages. So, as long as both parties are consenting and enthusiastic about having sex with one another (and they have sex safely), there really is no "right" or "wrong" time to have sex when dating. And, of course, the only way to know that is to talk honestly with your partner about it.
Q: Why is it typically difficult for partners to fully accept each other's sexual or romantic pasts?
A: For people who are mature and comfortable with themselves, it shouldn't be too difficult to accept their partner's past sexual experiences. If someone is uncomfortable with their partner's past, this most likely has more to do with the person who is uncomfortable than their partner.
In such cases, It could be that the person is insecure about their own sexual abilities, so they worry that their partner will negatively compare them to past partners. It could also be that this person is quick to jealousy, even of things that happened in the past. Such people are typically insecure and like to have a high degree of control over others in their life.
If someone is truly comfortable with your sexual history and they just cannot get over it, then it's probably best for you to move on to someone else. Someone who is judgmental and harshly critical of this area of your life likely won't be supportive of you in other areas of your life.
Q: What would be the best way to go about somebody “ghosting” you? Would no response work? Talking to them? In this new day in age how do we handle this appropriately ?
A: I'm assuming that what you mean by someone "ghosting" you is if someone simply doesn't talk to you (not replying to your texts or social media messages). If someone "ghosts" you, it's likely that they don't wish to continue having a relationship with you and that they're too self-conscious to say why (or simply don't care to explain themselves). In this case, the best thing is to forget about them and move on. If they don't want to participate in the relationship, then you shouldn't either.
You don't need to take it as an insult or a sign that you did anything wrong. Sometimes people end relationships because they just aren't "clicking" with that person (through no fault of either person). But, other times people "ghost" others because of extenuating circumstances going on in their life. Whatever the case, it's time for you to move on. If you see this person around, it's good to be polite, but you probably don't need to do much more than say "Hello" and move on.
Q: Hi, Mr. Avila I just wanted to ask a question regarding attraction, specifically on social media and how it ties in with relationships. Is it normal for a male in a long term relationship to be lurking and searching up the women he finds attractive on social media? Does it have to do with male biology to seek attractive women? Is it something normal? I know it is normal to find other women attractive, but it just seems a little odd to me that you can have a gf you love, but still want to peep other women on social media?
A: It is perfectly normal for someone with a girlfriend to still find others attractive. Just because a person is with someone they love doesn't mean that the parts of their brain that process attraction toward others suddenly turns off. This is true for women just as much as men. However, depending on the type of relationship you have with your girlfriend, this may mean that you need to express better control over these urges. If your girlfriend would be hurt if she found out that you were "lurking" other women on social media, then this is something you should probably stop doing. No healthy relationship can last when someone is keeping secrets or continually doing something that the other partner would find hurtful.
If you find that this behavior is difficult to stop, then you have to ask yourself why this is the case. Is this something you do that makes you feel good or excited in a way that you find difficult to give up? Does this activity give you a sense of power, along with sexual excitement? There can be many reasons why a behavior become addictive and difficult to quit, even if you know it's the wrong thing to be doing. If this is the case, then you may want to speak to a counselor to figure out exactly why you're doing this. Again, it's not wrong to still find yourself attracted to other people, but it's up to you to make sure that this doesn't hurt your girlfriend or make you do things that you know are harmful to your relationship.
Q: I haven’t had a girlfriend since I’ve been in college. I have talked to many girls while in college which seemed like it was going in the right direction towards a relationship. However, I always seem to lose interest in them or see them as unattractive when things are about to get “serious”. Which results in me ignoring them or cutting off the relationship all together. This happens when they start to get too clingy or when they start wanting to get sexually intimate. I don’t mean to lose interest in them or see them unattractive it just seems to happen of a sudden. Is this normal and can I do anything to change?
A: There definitely seems to be a problem here. Thankfully, you've clearly recognized that this is an ongoing pattern in your relationships, and that's the first step toward addressing it. There could be many reasons why you suddenly get "turned off" when women show romantic or sexual interest in you. It could be that you don't really want a relationship at this time, but are seeking relationships simply because you feel pressured to by friends or family, or because it's the "normal" thing to do. It could be that you're afraid of becoming intimate with another person, perhaps because you've had some negative experiences with this in the past. Or, it could be that you're not sexually interested in women, perhaps because you're more attracted to men or not sexually attracted to anyone (i.e., asexual). This pattern could be caused by a myriad of different reasons, so it's something you'll have to figure out for yourself.
It would probably be helpful to talk about this with a trained counselor. Thankfully, you can attain free counseling as a UC Merced student. Just visit the counseling website here. Since this is keeping you from attaining satisfying relationships, this is a good reason to seek professional help. I'm confident that you can figure out exactly why you're doing this and change this pattern in the future.
Q: What are some important things to consider or be aware of when approaching sex with a transgender person?
A: Having a sexual relationship with a trans person is really not that different from having one with a cisgender (non-transgender) person. The key is to communicate your own sexual needs and to be receptive to their needs as well. A trans person is someone who has clearly thought a lot about their body, their gender roles, and (hopefully) what satisfies them sexually. So, I suggest just asking them about it.
Some trans people like to play a predominantly masculine or feminine role in the bedroom, most often coinciding with their gender identity. This can be related or unrelated to the sexual organs of their body. But, you don't want to assume that a trans woman would want to play a wholly feminine role in the bedroom or vice versa. For example, there are many pre-op, trans men who enjoy having their vagina penetrated during sex. There are also many trans people who engage in both "masculine" and "feminine" behaviors when having sex. So, try not to enter the sexual relationship with any preconceived notions about how "trans people like to have sex." Get to know the individual trans person you're with and form a unique sexual relationship that satisfies both of you.
Cosmopolitan did a great two-part series on things to know when dating a trans woman or man. You may want to check it out...
12 things you should know before dating a transgender guy
14 things you should know before dating a trans girl
Q: My boyfriend doesn't not want to engage in sexual intercourse. We have been dating for 4 years and he said he wanted to wait when he was ready. A few years ago he said he wanted to, but as soon as the time became available he rejected the idea and has since. I feel sexually deprived, and I don't want to push him or force it on him, but it is difficult to feel satisfied when he gets blowjobs and I feel used. I truly believe we love each other, but it has gotten to the point were I feel like I am not good enough for him, and that maybe if I changed something about myself physically then he would consider it once more.
How can it be approached without having to threaten/ suggest going separate ways? Could there be something else, like a past experience that ruined it all for him
A: There could be many reasons why he doesn't want to have vaginal sex. It could be that he feels nervous or inadequate in his ability to be a good lover. It could be that he is perfectly satisfied with your sex life as it is and doesn't want to "rock the boat." It could be that he isn't attracted to women in general. It's really impossible to know what's going on, unless you talk to him about it. It sounds like the two of you need to have a long, honest conversation about what has been going on in your relationship.
One thing is for sure, though: Something needs to change. It's clear that this is having a really negative impact on you emotionally and psychologically. From what you wrote, it seems like this relationship is making you feel pretty badly about yourself. One thing to remember is that if he doesn't want to have sex, that has everything to do with him and nothing to do with you. It saddens me to think that this is making you feel like you're not good enough. A healthy and mutually supportive relationship should make you feel appreciated and sexually desirable. If this relationship is causing you to feel the opposite, then something really needs to change. So, again, I strongly urge you to talk with him about this and to fully express how this is affecting you. I hope that you can do this while also receiving emotional support from a close friend or counselor.
Q: I am a queer male who is only attracted to straight males; what is wrong with me?
A: It's likely that there's nothing "wrong" with you. Many gay men fantasize about "seducing" a straight man. If you look around on any gay porn site, you'll see thousands of videos on this exact topic. Why this is the case is hard to say, but there may be a "forbidden fruit" aspect to it, or some gay men may simply take it as a challenge. But, if you're "only" attracted to straight men, then perhaps you could work on widening your sexual interests. Perhaps it's simply that you're attracted to men who act stereotypically masculine and you haven't yet found other queer men who exhibit those traits. Of course, gay and bisexual men come in all shapes, sizes and levels of masculinity. So, you may have just not found the right queer guy for you, at least not yet.
It may also be that there is a part of you that doesn't want to have a romantic or sexual relationship at this point in your life. Being attracted to straight men is, in some sense, a very "safe" attraction to have, because there's nothing that will actually come from it. You're not going to have a romantic relationship with a straight man and it's unlikely you'll have sex with one either. So, perhaps you could talk to someone (a close friend or a counselor) about what may be keeping you from being attracted to the type of men that you could actually have a fulfilling sexual and romantic relationship with.
Q: My boyfriend and I haven't had intercourse but we have had oral. I don't mind it because I enjoy it. But lately I have begun to worry why he doesn't try to have actual intercourse with me. We have been close to a couple of times but he always makes excuses when it comes to it. Is this normal?
A: There could be several reasons why your boyfriend hasn't tried penetrative sex with you. It could be that he's nervous. If this is his first time having penile-vaginal sex or he hasn't had penetrative sex in a long time, he may feel that he won't be "good" at it or that he might ejaculate too quickly. Of course, the only real way to know why is to ask him. If you want to have penetrative sex, there's nothing wrong with simply asking him if he would be comfortable doing that and, if not, why.
If he says that he's worried about his performance or possibly ejaculating too quickly, then perhaps you could try having penetrative sex with him for just a little while (10 - 30 seconds) and then going back to oral sex. You can switch back and forth until he feels comfortable enough to have penetrative sex for longer periods of time. If he does ejaculate quickly, then check out my blog post on how guys can last longer when having sex. You can find that post here.
The best thing to do in these types of situations is to talk about it. You can do so in a non-judgmental way and remind him that he can talk to you about anything and you'll be understanding and caring. After all, if you truly care about each other, you should be able to talk openly and honestly about sex.
Q: I don't enjoy sex with my partner as much as I used to. I think that as our relationship has gone on, he has become more sexually selfish and I find myself getting really sexually frustrated. I have talked to him about it twice before, but I'm not sure that he's taking it seriously. When I ask him to give, he makes it clear that he doesn't really want to yet he still wants me to give him a blowjob. Do you have any suggestions on how to communicate and bring actual changes to our relationship?
A: If you’re clearly communicating your needs and he just doesn’t seem to care, then it doesn’t seem like you’re in a mutually caring and supportive relationship. It’s ultimately up to you as to what to do next, but you basically have 3 options. These 3 options are common for most relationship conflicts. Basically, you can try to 1) change the situation, 2) accept the situation, or 3) leave the situation. To be more specific…
Answers provided by Dr. Ross Avilla
Dr. Ross Avilla has been teaching Human Sexuality since 2013 and has a PhD in psychology from UC Davis. Dr. Avilla is not a clinician and all information and advice offered on this website is for educational purposes only.