06/13/2012 08:41 am ET | Updated Aug 13, 2012

Are You Fearless Enough To Say No To Sex?

I won't lie. I have a hangover. It's the hangover that so many women of the Sex and the City generation are experiencing. The truth about single women and mothers in a high-supply sexual economy doesn't look anything like those glamorous Sex and the City follow-up movies. None of my girlfriends ended up marrying "Big." None of us have the genes or moxie to vamp like Samantha. None are in a storybook family like Charlotte. And no one can afford that wardrobe!

Instead, two of my friends likely got HPV and cancer that led to a hysterectomy before they had a consistent guy and children. Another girlfriend had a teenage pregnancy and lost her youth in parenthood. One friend did score by getting a "stringer" (a commitment-phobe who strings a woman along for years) to marry her one weekend in Vegas. He then dangled a possible baby in front of her for another decade until her fertility window slammed shut. She's divorced now, raising a dog.

And me? Well, I was a real-life Carrie Bradshaw, writing books called The Boyfriend Test and The Girlfriend Test and championing women's sexual freedom. I had enough good sense to check my watch at midnight on my 35th New Year's Eve and make a resolution to find some sturdy sperm -- fast. I found it, encased in the body of a Greek god. I got in under the wire, giving birth at age 36 and again at 41. Soon after, my god-man slipped out under the wire and I was forced to sell on eBay every remnant from my Sex and the City days -- designer bags, shoes, jewelry -- so I could maintain a breastfeeding lifestyle without a male provider. I still feel lucky. Of all the women I ran with in my 20s and early 30s, I am the only one who was fortunate enough to become a mother. And I am blessed to have a close circle of accidental "aunties" for my kids.

This is the payback for sexual freedom: Men who won't commit. When sex rises in supply in a culture, men are less likely to commit to one woman, or they delay marriage until its too late. Thus women are being cheated out of motherhood or treading water as single mothers. We are a lost generation of women who were sold a false bill of goods about fertility, motherhood and female sexual freedom.

And for young women today, things are even worse. With men not using courtship to obtain sex, women have lost important rituals that gave them valuable information about a man's intentions. In this information vacuum, too many women are deluded in thinking that a sexual hook-up is a ticket in a husband lottery.

The answer of course is slow love. Research supports this. Nearly 90 percent of the fast movers in one study had broken up before one year.[1] However, if couples waited just 30 days before engaging in sex, 24 percent were still together a year later. That's a one in four chance.

Brave women in a high-supply sexual economy say no to low-criteria relationships. But it's hard. Because men have so much sexual power. Some of the researchers whom I interviewed even found that alarming numbers of young women are participating in unwanted sex. They are either doing particular acts that they don't feel comfortable with or having full-on intercourse with people they don't feel comfortable with.

And when you're having sex, you aren't developing the skills you'll need for a long-term relationship. Bottom line: Waiting to have sex prevents a whole lot of heartbreak and increases your chances for a long-term commitment.

"Delaying sex makes for a more satisfying and stable relationship later on," says Brigham Young University researcher Dean Busby, Ph.D. "In our research of more than 2,000 couples, those who had sex the earliest -- such as after the first date or within the first month of dating -- had the worst relationship outcomes."

Look for Dr. Wendy Walsh's The 30-Day Love Detox (Rodale Books) Valentine's Day, 2013.


[1] Regnerus, M., & Uecker, J. (2011). Premarital sex in America: How you Americans meet, mate, and think about marrying. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

For more by Dr. Wendy Walsh, click here.

For more on becoming fearless, click here.