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Online Dating: Online Sex Talk: Now or Never?

By Lisa Daily


I have a female friend who is frequently the target of men in search of the quick-e.

quick-e. (kwi-kE) Noun: A situation in online dating in which one party makes sexual comments or suggestions within the first few emails. Or minutes. In other words, way too soon.

A couple of "hi-how-are-yous" and suddenly she finds herself on the receiving end of a nudie-cam transmission, or for the slightly more subtle letch, an inquiry as to her breakfast order.

She's looking for true love. They're looking for action.

For most men, it seems the topic of women bringing up sex too soon appears to be a non-issue. After months of inquiries, I was unable to locate even a single guy who found it a problem. But for women, the issue is Big and Troublesome and Creepy.

E-ping Toms. Sex Scavengers. Internet Degenerates. From unseemly photos to body part inquiries to the wolf-in-Prince Charming's-clothing, female online daters are bombarded with inappropriate IMs, photos and emails. An online dater from Baltimore sums it up: "I normally would disregard those emails and write those prospects off. Imagine what a first date would be like if they were already lecherous just on e-mail!"

To most women, sex talk too early on is the online dating equivalent of Internet pharmacy spam clogging up your inbox. It's annoying, unwelcome, and we can't imagine that anyone would actually respond. Many women feel that a guy who brings up bedroom talk right away is just looking for sex, or maybe worse, "they have no manners."

Most experts agree that when someone brings up sex right away, it should raise some red flags. Psychotherapist Wendy Allen says, "A man wanting sex too early has nothing to do with you. It's just their own persistent horniness."

She adds, "This transparency has given you a window into this person's motives. Move on to the next one!"

Toni Coleman, a relationship coach and psychotherapist agrees. "It can also be a complete turn-off to many women (and some men). When someone does this, it can indicate that they are only interested in sex, have poor boundaries and/or impulse control, or are a potential stalker, to name a few."

Mary Jo Fay, author of Please Dear, Not Tonight: The Truth About Women and Sex says, "Men who wave the sexual flag early are letting women know what their priority is... and for the women who ignore that flag and then begin to wonder later just exactly what went wrong and why her new Mr. Right is really Mr. Wrong... well, they only have themselves to blame."

But how early is too early? If you've made it clear in your profile that you're looking for a relationship or casual dating, anytime before the first few in-person meetings is too soon. Protocol-challenged guys, if you don't learn anything else from this article, pay attention to this: Most women are uncomfortable with graphic sex talk with someone they don't know. And if they're not, they're hanging out in the "intimate" communities, not on the general dating sites.

Fay warns, "If a guy mentions something in a profile (in addition to his height, weight, job, loves, passions, etc,) that he enjoys lazy afternoons under the covers with someone he loves, that's one thing. But if he's sending a potential mate web links to porn sites or sex toys, or is asking her what position she prefers, or invites her to have phone sex with him before even asking her about her likes, family, job, expectations in a relationship, then he's really only looking for one thing. Period."

Coleman says, "The time to bring up sex is after several successful dates, when the individuals feel they are beginning to build a bond and have the potential for a 'real' relationship."

Not sure how to handle the dirty talk issue? Well, if you wouldn't say something to someone you met at a wedding for the first time, you shouldn't say it to an online prospect. And if you find yourself a recipient of unwanted smut, the best plan is to a) change the subject, b) let the person know they've crossed a line or c) end the dialog right away, and block their email.

Dating coach Liz Kelly, author of SMART Man Hunting, offers these suggestions for dealing with online sex talk:

  • With the growing popularity of IM and web-cams, singles are definitely bolder about sex online. Set sex talk boundaries based on what you are seeking online.
  • Fun flirting can be flattering, but sharing intimate details enters a different zone.
  • If you're in the mood, you may be OK with getting down and dirty online. Recognize that the sincerity of a stranger is questionable and think twice before meeting an online sex partner in person.
  • If someone brings up sex online and you are uncomfortable, politely change topics immediately.
  • If a stranger persists after you've shared that you are uncomfortable, hit delete right away.
  • Whether you're a man or a woman, don't use the implied anonymity of the Internet to disregard social filters that would normally be in place. The world (and online dating) works a lot better when we're all on our best behavior.

And if you're the target of an E-ping Tom or Internet Degenerate, trust your instincts and apply the same rules that you would in person. If a guy you just met at a restaurant asked you to show him your bra three minutes after you met, you'd throw a drink at him, and ask the maitre d' to escort him to his car. The same rules apply online. Don't do it, and don't take it.

Dating Expert Lisa Daily is the author of Stop Getting Dumped!

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