Let’s face it. Whether you're having it or not, sex does play an integral role in the world of dating today. Once you become sexually active, you begin to operate on certain assumptions about what you feel others are doing sexually, what men do and don’t want and what you believe sustains a committed relationship.
No one knows this better than Human Behavior Expert Wendy Walsh, Ph.D., who believes wholeheartedly that what men and women today need most is to just slow things down. Walsh insists her beliefs are based purely on scientific research and economics – all of which she tackles in her upcoming new book, The 30-Day Love Detox: Cleanse Yourself of Bad Boys, Cheaters, and Commitment Phobes, which hits stands this spring. “It’s a much-needed prescription for slow love at a time when everything is fast,” says Walsh. “This book is empowering women and telling them about the amazing creatures and goddesses they are and the power they have. It’s not about pointing out all of the mistakes that they make.”
In the book, Walsh tackles the top 5 myths women operate on that, she believes, are still keeping them single. Intrigued, right? We were too. Grab your notebooks, as we ask Walsh to break it down for us.
Myth 1: The Hookup Culture Is Everywhere
These days, pretty much everyone’s having sex while dating, right? Wrong! “The hookup culture is more urban legend than reality,” says Walsh. A recent National Survey of Family Growth study showed one quarter of college students are virgins, she offers. “If you take that 25 percent off the market, and then you look at what’s left over, you have this belief that most people are having more sex than they are,” explains Walsh. “Men included! Since the perceptions exist, many women feel pressured to have sex well before they’re ready.”
Makes sense, right? But what about all of the women you know who speak openly and vividly about their sexual escapades? “It’s the talk that’s damaging, because it normalizes the practice,” insists Walsh. “These women engage in risky behavior because they think everyone is doing it.” Walsh offers an interesting analogy for what she feels is the “high supply sexual economy” we live in today: “I believe, when it comes to sex, there are two distinct dating markets: One ‘sells’ bulk sex at a low price, and that price could be the cost of a drink or a well worded sex, and the other sells sex to a very narrow market. And these are women who charge a high ‘price’ for sex, and that price can be love, attention, care or commitment. And, I like those ones.”
Myth 2: Sexual Chemistry Helps Relationships
When women are debating casual sex, many will say sexual chemistry is an important deal breaker for them. But, does it really determine whether your relationship will thrive or fail? Walsh says no-way. “Many women believe that jumping into bed very early in a relationship is the best way to test sexual compatibility,” she says. “I’m sure that men created this myth! If this theory were true, the people who did not test their sexual chemistry before committing to each other would therefore have shorter less happy relationships.”
Walsh says a recent study she examined looked at 2,000 couples and when they committed to each other. The results showed that the better the sex early on, the worst the relationship outcomes later, and the more volatile those relationships were. “It’s because sex confuses the brain,” Walsh explains. “As soon as you get that rush of dopamine, you are not making good choices. You are not deciding if this is going to be a good partner for you, you are now diluted with feelings that he must be a good partner. Science says hot sex too early in a relationship is a prescription for disaster.”
Myth 3: Women Have Sexual ‘Needs’
Women have their sexual “needs,” just like men do, right? Wrong again! Walsh says wanting sex is less physical and more psychological where women are concerned because they have very different sexual needs than men. “We respond to sexual opportunity,” she explains. “When we see a cute guy that we like, everything sort of turns on for us. But when women breakup from a sexual relationship, they are less likely to replace it with pornography and masturbation like a guy would.”
For women, Walsh insists that feeling turned on by a man has an important psychological component. “It’s often an extension of their emotional need for companionship,” she explains. “Some research has found that women often desire to be desired, and that’s a whole lot different than a biological desire for any sex with anyone.” Still need more proof? Walsh compels you to ask yourself this, "Why haven't drug companies been able to come up with a drug that enhances a woman's sexual libido, only men's?" Touché.
Myth 4: Sex Leads to Love and Longevity
There are many important and valid reasons to wait to have sex with a man you deeply care for, but here’s one that’s often overshadowed: Good sex doesn’t make him care for you any more than he did before you do it! “Slightly more than half of women in their 20s believe that a sexual hookup can be a stepping stone to a serious relationship, but the research shows something entirely different,” says Walsh. “Having sex early on in a relationship, good or bad, is bad for the relationship. I found a study that showed that if you have sex within 30 days of meeting somebody, you have an 88 percent chance of breaking up within one year. Eighty-eight percent! But if you wait 31-90 days, you’ve got a one in four chance you’re going to be together a year later. Just like that, it rises 25 percent.”
We know what you’re thinking: What about the men who insist that intimacy will bring them closer to a woman? Are they full of it? Yes! “The more sexual partners a man has had, the more he perceives diminished attractiveness in each new mate,” says Walsh. “Therefore, sex does not lead to love for a man. If a guy is a player, sex leads to disdain for you, because he’s looking for something that doesn’t exist, and he thinks he’s going to find it by more sexual conquests. Men fall in love because of trust, not sex!”
Myth 5: Promiscuity Can Be Turned Off
Did you know that sleeping around now can and will create trouble for you when you decide to commit or marry? Real talk! Faithfulness is a learned behavior. “Many of the women I’ve spoke with told me that they’re just hooking up because they’re auditioning mates but they’re confident that when they commit they can be faithful,” reveals Walsh. “Again, the research doesn’t support this! These women are training their bodies to be future cheaters. We can train our body for almost anything. The only way to train for monogamy is either to abstain from sex, or be monogamous.”