Why Doesn't a Relationship Based on Sex Work?

Dear Singlescoach: I just ended a five month relationship based primarily on sex which I thought would lead to more, and it didn't. I also can't seem to find a strong enough man who is not intimidated by an independent woman. - Lara

Dear Lara:

Let's separate these two issues and tackle them separately. Let's start with the question of sexuality. Relationships built primarily on sex tend to work just fine for many men, but don't work out for most women. That's because women are wired to seek love through the back door of sex, while men are wired to seek sex through the back door of love. It's one of those built in drivers that seems confounding when it comes to the differences between men and women, almost like we're the butt of some cosmic joke.

All kidding aside, your first step to a healthy relationship is to get clear about what you want. If you want love and commitment, then put that desire out front. One of the Temptations of the Single Girl is getting sexual too soon. When you do, you compromise your ability to be selective. That's because sex, for people who are heart-centered, is a bonding act. You can't sleep with a guy more than three times without either breaking up (because you didn't enjoy it) or falling in love.

Once you fall in love, which happens very quickly for most women when they sleep with a guy, the selecting part is done. You don't want to be the one-night-stand or the transitional woman, or be seen as promiscuous. You want to be the girlfriend, with all the trappings: romantic weekends together, going out, cuddling in front of the fireplace while sipping wine, meeting his friends and family, etc. You're moving down the road to happily-ever-after. Meanwhile, he's still checking you out!

Most men do not fall in love through sex, especially when sex is offered in the first three dates. That doesn't mean a guy won't bond through sex - he may, but it doesn't usually lead to commitment. Here's why.

Men tend to commit to women that they have to pursue, court, wine and dine, and chase after. They are wired to build strong feelings for a woman through the act of pursuing a goal - winning her heart. Seems terribly cave-mannish, and the feminist in you (and me) might rail against it, but that's how it works. Guys like to pursue, and they don't tend to appreciate a woman who forks over her body and heart at the get-go. Let me phrase that differently: strong men like to pursue, and since one of your stated goals is to be with a strong guy, you'll need a behavior change in order to attract one. That means no more relationships based on sex.

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