Concern about STDs and unwanted pregnancies can help create sexual boundaries, believes Mc Clary.
"It becomes much more difficult to objectively see each other's character traits" says Susanne Alexander, a relationship coach and author of Can We Dance? "Some couples then slide into engagement and marriage only to discover they have missed seeing major aspects of each other." While not every dating scenario that involves sex leads to marriage or even a serious relationship, couples do owe it to themselves to talk about where they see their relationship going and how sex might change the relationship -- before they get in bed together. The woman may assume sex implies a commitment; the man may not see it that way," Allen tells Web MD.
Having an honest conversation with yourself about sex is just as important as discussing it with your partner, experts say.
If both people are playing by the same dating rules, sex can serve as the gateway to a consensual, committed relationship.
"I thought there were differences between men and women and how they felt about relationships.
But overall, I have found that very often they want the same thing," Allen says.