I will also advise you to really stick to your guns on this one. If you’re going to tell a man, “X is my requirement,” then you need to hold to your word so that you’re taken seriously. For clarity, that means standing firm even when he’s really cute and super nice with a broad back and wide thighs. It’s easy to be celibate when you’re not attracted to someone; it’s much harder when you are. Try investing in a good vibrator to keep your totally healthy and completely natural urges at bay. It still counts as celibacy when you take care of yourself.
Now, when you inform your date of your requirements, expect him to do one of two things: balk, because unfortunately the idea of being committed before having sex isn’t so conventional anymore; or step his game all the way up.
The guy who balks isn’t the guy you want, anyway. He wants sex, and possibly a relationship if he really likes you and the sex is good, too. He’s entitled to that, and there are plenty of women who will happily have sex with him. You want someone who is in line with your values, and he isn’t it. The goal is not to have just any man but one who gets you. So let him go on his way.
The second type of guy I described isn’t any better for you; he just seems like it. He’s pushing up, not because he’s really all that interested — it’s probably all ego. You’ve presented a challenge — something on which some men thrive — and now he’s determined to conquer your, ahem, land and plant his, uh, flag. Though sex is readily available to most men who want it, he will keep up this charade for as long as necessary. Don’t be fooled.
What you want is the guy — the rare one — whose reaction is something akin to “Oh.” Either he’s practicing celibacy, too — yes, men do it — so your standards aren’t a problem, or he’s not appalled by your answer but just was not prepared for that one. He likes you, he needs to think about it and get back to you on that. If he shows up again, same as always and willing to see where it goes, he’s the one you should invest energy in getting to know better.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.