Ask Dr. NerdLove: Taking It Slow

You just did an blog post about asking geeky guys out, but I have a specific question about that.  I’m a geeky girl in college, a gamer, very socially active, and generally a direct person.  I’ve been asked out a few times at parties and I’d like to switch things up by asking (other geeky) guys out myself, but… there’s always a but.

What’s holding me back is, well, sex.  Or more like expectations about sex.  The impression I’ve generally gotten is that the older my peers are, the less time they wait before having sex.  I’d like to date and get to know some guys, but I’m not interested in hooking up or doing anything sexual with a relative acquaintance or someone I’m not in at least a semi-serious relationship with.  The other thing is that if a woman is forward and initiates contact, the expectation seems to be that she’s experienced and well aware of how to flirt, and I don’t really have any experience with guys romantically or sexually.  

So basically, how do I flirt with guys and ask them out while making it clear we’re not about to tumble into bed at the end of the first date… or the second… and so on without scaring them off?  And while minimizing potential awkward and misunderstandings.  I’m not looking to ~wait til marriage~ or set a strict time for when I’m down to do what, but I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable being intimate with someone I’m not already close to.

Takes Her Time

It’s pretty simple, THT; you just tell ’em.

Now, it’s true that there are a lot of guys who expect some sort of accelerated time-table when it comes to sex; some will expect it as soon as humanly possible, others have their own version of the three date rule, where if the girl doesn’t put out within three dates, he moves on to the next one in line.

Thing is: this isn’t all men by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, yeah, just about every guy out there will want sex as quickly as he can get it… after all, sex is pretty damn awesome when you do it right. But just because we’re willing to bang out as soon as it’s offered doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of guys who will quite happily take the time that is required for the two of you to reach the level comfort and intimacy you feel you need before you’re ready to sleep with him.

Don’t let random bullshit ideas about gender roles hold you back from being willing to make the first move. Just because you were willing to approach a guy doesn’t automatically mean that you’re obligated to move faster than you feel comfortable with.

Now, as for how you tell them? Well, you said it pretty well in your letter. “I’m not looking to ~wait til marriage~ or set a strict time for when I’m down to do what, but I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable being intimate with someone I’m not already close to,” is concise, to the point and sets up exactly what to expect.

When you tell them can be tricky; you don’t really want to blurt it out between the endive salad and the coq au vin, when it would be a bit of a non-sequitur but you also don’t want to wait until his pants are around his ankles and he’s giving you then “Eh? Eh?” head-gestures.  I would recommend relatively soon into the first significant make-out session; some time after the first good-night kiss and before he’s going for some under-the-shirt action. Pull back a second and let him know where you stand.

And don’t stress out about chasing guys off or standing firm. A guy who isn’t willing to accept your limits is not a guy you want to date. If knowing he’s not getting a beej by the second date is going to make him look for other pastures, you really aren’t suffering any great loss. He’s just putting you one more step closer to finding a guy who is right for you.

Good luck.

Hi Doc, I have a question that goes back to what you were saying a while back about how no-one wants to be someone’s second choice.

A couple of weeks back I asked out a woman, J, that works in my department (way over on the other side). She said she had a boyfriend but wouldn’t mind hanging out as friends at some point. Not a big deal, it happens. When I see her at work we’re still friendly and there’s no awkwardness so that’s fine. 

About a week after I asked J out, there were after-work drinks in the department next door. I ended up having a drink with J and she introduced me to her friend from that department, K, who I am also attracted to, and thinking about asking out.

The question is, if I ask K out, and J mentions that I had previously asked her out, will this make K think I see her as a second choice (which is certainly not the case from my point of view)? Should I ask J not to mention it, or just ask K out and roll the dice? 

Yours sincerely,


There’s a pretty significant difference between Six-Of-One’s situation and yours. SOO was crushing on the first girl for quite some time and confiding into Girl #2 about it. Later, he decided he was interested in Girl #2, but she had a boyfriend… and when she didn’t break up with her boyfriend for SOO, SOO went back to Girl #1.

You, on the other hand, asked J out. J said no,  ya’ll are still cool, no harm, no foul – assuming that this isn’t a Oneitis situation, anyway and you’re just hoping to hang out long enough to win her heart.

J introduced you to K, you’re attracted to K. This is a case of geeks over-thinking a good thing.

The difference between you and SOO, Unsure, is that you haven’t been conducting these long burning dramafests with J and K. SOO was ping-ponging back and forth between them. You asked a girl out, she said no, you moved on and met someone else.

Go ahead and ask K out. She’s not going to think she’s your back-up plan or that you’re somehow on the rebound.

By the by everybody: this is why it’s cool to have platonic female friends – or to stay friends with your exes, for that matter: they will introduce you to other cool, single women. Maybe in this case J was pointing you towards someone she thought you’d like. Maybe she just wanted to introduce you to a friend she thought you’d get along with. Doesn’t matter. Point is: she introduced you to someone new, and you have a chance to meet someone awesome.

Let this be a lesson to you all.

Hey Dr. NerdLove.

I love everything you do here as well as the stuff you do on the LEOG. Anyways my question has to do with “Friends with Benefits” relationships. An old friend and I have slipped into one of these after drunkenly hooking up one night. I have no interest in dating her at all and she says that she is ok with that, and she just wants to hook up. However I’m really nervous now because this relationship is secret and we basically have the same circle of friends. And I’ve heard from people that these types of relationships always end in disaster. While I’m enjoying the “benefits” of this relationship, is it really destined to end terribly? And when I meet a girl that i want to start a real relationship with, do you think we will be able to end it with her without hurt feelings? Thanks Dr. Nerd Love!!!!!!

I’ve covered my thoughts on friends-with-benefits relationships before, but the long and short of it is: every relationship ends until one doesn’t1 . Friends with benefits end one of two ways: either you quit having sex, or you quit being friends. This doesn’t mean you’re doomed either way. You may decide to stop having sex because one of you has fallen for someone else, or because you decide you’re better off as friends rather than lovers. You may stop being friends because you fell in love and now you’re “officially” dating or you may drift apart naturally.

The way you keep a FWB relationship from ending badly is the same way you keep any other relationship from ending badly: open communication and honesty. Be straight forward with how you feel, be open and receptive to how she feels. Want to know how to poison a FWB relationship from the get-go? Treat it as something shameful or something that’s doomed. I can appreciate wanting to be discrete, but you need to keep in mind: this isn’t about how your friends may feel, this is about the two of you. It’s up to you two to decide what the rules are for your relationship; nobody else gets a say.

It’s impossible to say whether you would be able to end the sexual aspect of your relationship without pain or tears – there’re so many variables that you’d get better results rolling a d20 and hoping to make your Save Vs. Drama. But then again: there are no guarantees that you can end any type of relationship, sexual or platonic, without hurt feelings. All I can say is that being a stand-up, honest and compassionate guy will make things easier regardless of how it ends.


  1. hat tip to Dan Savage – official Dr. NerdLove Celebrity Spirit Animal – for that phrase []