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Plus, not having adequately prepared for these practical aspects of sex may signal an overall non-readiness to engage in it.
At some point during their courtship, many dating couples decide its time to break down initial boundaries -- be they emotional, physical, or both -- and engage in a sexual relationship.
If both people are playing by the same dating rules, sex can serve as the gateway to a consensual, committed relationship.
"If you just want a one-night stand, you owe it to your partner to tell them 'it's just sex I'm after,'" Mc Clary tells Web MD.
"It depends on how rapidly or slowly things progress." Joan Allen, a relationship expert, finds that baby boomers are far more likely to wait to have sex than younger daters.
"Especially among older people who went through the sexual revolution, with maturity they realize there are emotional consequences for getting involved in a sexual relationship," says Allen, author of Celebrating Single and Getting Love Right: From Stalemate to Soulmate.
"Every woman and man should know their boundaries before they start dating, and most of us don't," says Cheryl Mc Clary, Ph D, JD, professor of women's health at University of North Carolina-Asheville.
When Mc Clary refers to boundaries, she's not talking just about the physical boundaries that come with sexual territory. "Emotional wholeness is crucial to the decision process of whether or not to have sex," Mc Clary tells Web MD.