So you’ve been seeing a woman that you think you could have a future with. You look forward to the dates, you like what she has to say, you love to hear her laugh and you’re constantly texting each other. Things are going so well and you’re ready to take it to the next level — whether you’re taking her upstairs or retreating to her place — soon.
But, before you make a pass that she might not reciprocate, are there some clear indicators that she’s down to have sex, too? While there’s no magic timeline, number of dates or foolproof sign that a woman is down to get sexual — everyone is different, after all — many experts say that having the “Let’s do this” talk is a lot like having the “What are we?” talk for most women.
“The best thing you can do is ask. So talk! Talk about gender roles, sexual messages that you both received, and ask questions,” relationship expert Dr. Lexx Brown-James, LMFT says. “Don’t pressure her, don’t coerce, complain, whine or act like she owes you something because you’ve spent time, money and effort in getting to know her. When she is ready for sexual play, she will engage in sexual play.”
1. She’ll Give You Consent
One of the biggest turn offs for most women, Brown-James says is a man who is too pushy, eager or rough from the beginning. It’s important to ease into being intimate together, and the key to making sure she’s just as excited as you are, is making sure she gives consent.
“She should give you permission every step of the way about what she wants, likes and is pleasurable to her and how she is open to inviting you into that sexual space with her,” says licensed marriage and family therapist Marissa Nelson, LMFT, CST. “It’s the guy’s job to have an ongoing conversation about intimacy, and to let her know that it is OK to move at her pace, and as long as there’s no pressure and she comes to that decision on her own, the sexual experience is a mutual one that you both can create and enjoy together.”
It’s never sexy to manipulate or persuade someone into sleeping with you. Not only is it wrong and deceitful, the experience for both of you won’t be as passionate and intense as it could be. When she’s ready to go all the way — she’ll give you consent. And you shouldn’t go one step past what she’s comfortable, ever.
2. She’ll Ask About Logistics
While your thought process about having sex for the first time with your new lady might only extend to what it feels like — she’s thinking a lot more strategically and organized. After being intimate, many women — and ahem, men! — want to spend time cuddling, talking and lying naked together, basking in that post-orgasm warmth. So if she’s starting to inquire about what you’re doing later or tomorrow morning, she may be trying to figure out if tonight is the night.
“When a woman is thinking about being intimate with a guy, she might start to ask questions about your schedule and your average routine to see what things would look like if you guys spent the night together,” Nelson says. “She will also want to know about privacy, and may wonder how many roommates you live with to see if she can get you alone and all to herself.
3. She’ll Make An Effort To Get Closer
As she gets to know you, you might notice that she lets her guard down more. Or she relaxes into your shoulder more easily. Maybe she’s leaning on you more or holding your hand. As women start to become more attracted to a potential partner, and thus, more comfortable, they’ll start to want more closeness and sensuality. She’ll also become more open about sex in general and be curious about how you feel about the subject.
“She may start dropping sexual cues when you’re together by increasing physical affection, or want to create opportunities for closeness by inviting you over to watch a movie and staying in, even asking for cuddles or a sensual massage. You know she feels comfortable with you because she increasingly allows you to touch her body and let you into her personal space,” Nelson says.
4. She’ll Start Sexting
Both men and women in long-term relationships report that talking about their plans for later — when the computers are shut down, the chores are finished and the bills are paid — is what gets them through the day. Sexting is a sexy part of your couplehood, right from the beginning and even before you get intimate. Nelson says that when a woman is toying with the idea of taking the sexual game to the next level, she might start sending some scantily-clad photos and descriptive blue bubbles your way.
“Perhaps she might start talking to you about what her sexual preferences are, and conversation can lead to erotic talk and sexting,” she says. Here, she’s attempting to get to know what you’re like in bed before your clothes come off together in person.
5. She’ll Ask About Your History
While you might be more into sending sexts during the day detailing what you can’t wait to do to her, she’s wondering about what you’ve already done — and if you wrapped it when you did it. It might not be the most invigorating or inviting of topics, but when a woman is thinking about sleeping with you, and possibly, even starting a relationship with you where you’d go condom-free, she may start wondering about your sexual history.
Nelson says she’s asking questions like ‘Are you seeing someone else right now?’ Or ‘How many dates have you been on in the last week?’ To gauge how sexually responsible and safe you are. “She could also let you know that before you have sex, you both have to get tested,” she says. “Your honesty paired with her understanding your overall safe sex practices gives her confidence and trust in you as a potential intimate partner.”
6. She’ll Invite You Upstairs
Though having you over to her place doesn’t mean she’s ready to run all three bases to home, it does mean that she’s ready to be alone with you. Brown-James says that if she initiates sexual play, it could be an indicator that she’s thinking about taking things to the next level, but again, this is where consent has to play a big role in your passion planning. Brown-James says a woman will say ‘I would like to have sex with you’ — or something sexier like ‘I want you now’ — when she is fully ready to commit to the next level. As long as you are going at her pace and listening and feeling her cues, you’ll both be golden.
This article originally appeared on Ask Men.