The Unspoken Rules

Browsing around my usual relationship site haunts, I’ve noticed something.  Women, and not even always young women, seem to be completely oblivious to the unspoken rules of dating.  Most of the rules and advice seem to be focussed on strategy for “getting your man”.  I too am guilty on some levels of being a bit results focussed, and not giving enough attention to the natural flow, even though natural is how I roll.

What seems to be the problem is the difference between the standard male and female way of thinking.  Women who want to date men should understand that no matter how sensitive and understanding a man is, he’s still a man.  His logic is a bit more cold, and even if he is very emotional and gives way to that more often than the average macho dude, his left brain is still screaming facts, history, and statistics at him whether or not he acts on it.

Much like people who eat pseudofoods who still manage to stay slim, women who don’t understand the logic of heterosexual relationships often fail to realize that any good that comes of attempting to trump nature is an exception.  One cannot, in fact, conquer nature, and this includes the basics of bonding and sexuality.  Women today have been sold a bill of goods that will ultimately leave them alone or settled for as lesser evils.

Men have fallen for the same scam, but they are still unable to live well against the truth.  So no matter what a guy says or does to tow the party line or because he hasn’t been exposed to nature comfortable ideas and doesn’t know how to articulate them, he is still a man.  Men, just as women, have needs that if they are not met, they will be unable to function well.

So on the one hand, freedom is a wonderful thing.  It’s good that today at least in the west, people have more than the traditional relationship styles to choose from.  People are more free to be freaky without as much inappropriate judgement.  However, with more rights comes more responsibility.  We are all still responsible for our own behavior, whether or not we accept this.  We will all pay for the consequences of our actions, and those we love may suffer or benefit from them as well.

So for practical purposes, some level of promiscuity may be customary and just “part of the game” these days, one still has to consider the consequences.  The unspoken rule that gets broken the most by women has to do with sex before a commitment has been explicitly established.

Sex without a commitment is casual sex.  Period.  If you do it, whether or not the guy is legitimately tolerant, you will be known to him and whoever else you share this information with as someone who is okay with casual sex.  Whether or not he is tolerant and just sees it as mutual fun, or judgemental and brands you a slut unfit for a long term relationship, the facts are the same.  You’ve risked your health, and allowed access to your reproductively related bonding organs (or bonding related reproductive organs, depending on your level of cynicism) to someone who has not expressed willingness to stick around and deal with whatever physical or emotional results may occur.

One of the things women often fail to grasp in this is that he has done the same.  He’s shared his body with someone who isn’t obviously willing to stick with him either.  He may not want a particular woman to bond with him beyond the encounter, but unless he is absolutely only interested in casual sex for the rest of his life, this is a compromise for him.

You have both basically risked your health for a bit of stimulation and an ego boost.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It is however, less than the preferred situation, which is sex within a relationship that has some kind of future.

Whether you or he are monogamous or polyamorous, if what you want is sex as an expression of love, then sex as an expression of desperate neediness for any kind of attention that comes along is a cheap imitation.  A person with the option to have what they really want, does not settle for scraps.

So casual sex, whether or not it has any effect on your value to the other person, makes them believe that you believe that you are not worth committing to.  It is a roll of the dice whether or not they will agree, but don’t bank on anyone seeing you as better than you see yourself.

In some places and situations (such as your average university campus) casual sex is normal, and folks don’t consciously down each other for experimenting and enjoying their youth.  Commitments often develop from what were hookups.  This is the exception though, not the norm.  In my experience, and that of other nurturing type people whose shoulders were cried on alot, most casual sex encounters resulted in indifference, awkwardness, or heartbreak for both men and women who participated.

The best case scenario was usually indifference.  Each had fun and went their separate ways, or hooked up occasionally when they were bored.  I noticed though, that many people who would have suited each other quite well, had they not approached each other genitals first, never got past that.  It was as if the women had steeled themselves against having any kind of deeper relationship with a guy because they were overcompensating in reducing the connection to only sexual.  Men do it too, but not usually as rigidly as most of the women I’ve observed.

For women who are more practically independent, and not whore-like, it’s like there’s a friend zone, a sexual zone, and a romantic zone.  Since we’re talking smart, educated, self supporting women who don’t really need a man to support them financially, or are on their way towards that, they’re not looking for someone to be dependent on…at least not beyond the kids’ early years.  So they’re coping with the freedom and choice in the way that they perceive men to be coping, but they’re not men, so they don’t understand what is really going on, and how they’re messing up/messing around with nature.

A straight man is attracted to you or he’s not.  If he is, then just about the only thing you can do to mess that up is be grossly incompatible or terribly socially inconvenient.  Social inconvenience won’t necessarily make you less sexually attractive to him, just sort of off limits.  There are however, many romantic stories of guys crossing social and geographic boundaries for the woman they love…far too many instances of this for it to be solely the domain of the most independent thinkers.  Love makes fools and sheep of us all anyway.

Now, just because a guy wants to shag you doesn’t really mean he’s attracted to you.  Most guys get erections from waking up.  All it really takes to do the job in that department is for him to have a surplus of sperm, and the presence of vaginas.  This is another good reason to avoid casual sex, but not the point of this article.

If you’re actually seeing a guy, as in dating out in public for awhile, then he’s attracted to you and you’re socially convenient enough to be seen with.  This is the phase during which most non whorelike women break down and start having sex.  It’s difficult not to get carried away when you’re a person who enjoys bonding.

The problem with having sex at any point before a commitment has been discussed is that it brings issues into the relationship that he is not ready for, and dramatically changes the context.  He wants to have sex with you, and you want to have sex with him, and it’s 2009 already, but he’s still a man, and you’re still a woman.  The man needs to be the one directing the relationship…that is directing, not getting carried away with his passions.

Back in the day, the folks who were living too close to the edge of survival to be able to affort too much formality, understood that this passionate mutual wanting is a phase.  It’s a phase where even though the thing both of you may want the most at the moment is hot sweaty monkey sex, this is totally the worst time to start having it.  For people who want to be committed/married someday, this is a test of how well the two of you can control your passions in order to direct your family to a positive place.

Yes, I said the F word: family.  The couple is the basic unit of the family.

Until you are actually a couple, you’re just two people having sex.  As the natural director of a heterosexual relationship, the man is the one who decides if you’re going to become that.  Most men do alot of heavy thinking and some praying before they make the decision that this is what they want from a particular woman.  By throwing sex in there before he has had the chance to do that, you’ve basically taken the decision away from him.

Things may not end badly, but they usually do.  Most women don’t understand why, and think that the guy had bad intentions all along, or that “he’s not that into you”.  This is not how men think though.  If you think about it, throwing away women who actually love them would be stupid, and as stupid as many are, most guys are not that stupid.

The reason you get distance after you’ve jumped the gun and had sex before a commitment is that you have suddenly changed his perspective of you.  Up until then, you were either someone he was considering a long term relationship with, or someone whose pants he was trying to get into.  Either way, if he doesn’t get sex until he explicitly forms a commitment, nothing is lost.  He will either receive it as a yellow light to slow down, or as a rejection and move on, but he will understand that you are not interested in casual (read emotionally detached) sex.  It’s all good either way.  You come away from the making out with your dignity, and his respect.

If you go on and do it then you are telling him that the emotional aspect of sex is not that important to you.  You’re horny and want to get laid, and who cares about emotions?

This is a bad sign.  This is a bad sign even to a polyamorous Dom with a harem of four already.

Heck, this is a bad sign to a Lesbian.

It’s even a bad sign to a submissive gunning to be your fourth.

How bad it is depends mainly on their level of tolerance or desperation.  If they understand how messed up things are today, maybe they’ll cut you some slack and take it as a kind of an unspoken beginning to commitment.  They’ll let it slide because it takes two…and shortly thereafter, start doing some explicit negotiation.  Hey, people get wrapped up in the moment.

Still, though a guy’s fuzzy mushy side may be guiding his decisions, his left brain is telling him, “Dude, if she’s screwing you without a commitment, how many other dudes is she doing the same thing with?”  He needs facts, not guesses.  Until he gets them, he’s playing it safe.  He has a heart too.

The reason why many of the rules are unspoken is that the fact that men have hearts is unspoken.  In order to seem manly and in control, the overt expression of emotion and passion is something men keep under wraps.  They wear an invisible veil under which all manner of good and evil are writhing in a constant wrestling match.  Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there…and just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense.

More to come on the unspoken rules…

About Mamasan

I'm a multifaith spiritual counselor with lots of experience assisting people with improving their relationships. Feel free to comment on the site or contact me if you have an issue you'd rather discuss privately.


  1. Men will sleep with a women who gives it away easily, but will not enter in a long term relationship with her. A man will think if she will go straight to bed with him, she will do the same with other guys.

    (Book ad edited. We allow a reasonable amount of linkage/self promotion, but it should be tastefully concise.)

  2. What a relief to read this after the RAPO (games people play) post.

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