It would be easy to rely on stereotypes about straight dating, or how sex crazed men who date women can be, but I’ll approach this question the same way I would anyone in your situation.
The best thing to do, especially if you’re concerned about consent, permission, and not just assuming that just because he has a penis he wants to put it in you, is ask about it. Ask about escalation, ask if he wants to take things slow, and ask if he would be interested in taking things to the next level. It’s easy to assume that every guy is rushing to have sex, but some aren’t. It doesn’t mean that he purposefully wants to take things slow, but it might. Maybe he only has sex with someone he calls his girlfriend. Maybe he’s a virgin. Maybe he didn’t want you to get the wrong idea about his intentions and is totally ready to have sex with you. I’ve got a lot of maybe’s I can give you, but the best way to get an answer is to have a conversation.
What you shouldn’t do is assume that he’s waiting for you to escalate things physically. A lot of people would suggest being more sexually aggressive, whether that takes the form of physical action or not, and I’d recommend against it. The same respect of your boundaries and consent you’d want if you were in his shoes is the same respect you should give him. It’s entirely possible he wants nothing more than what you have now, and while that might hurt to hear, it’s better to hear it after you start a conversation, and not after engaging in non-consensual touch.
Truth be told, I chose this question because it turns a common scenario on its head. More often than not, a man who dates women is in your shoes asking me this question. The thing is, the advice applies there as well. If you’ve dated someone for a while, it’s okay to talk about escalating things physically. The emphasis is on dialogue, not assumptions. Don’t just make assumptions about what access you have to someone’s body, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Treat people with respect and kindness, and don’t try to escalate by grabbing someone by the crotch unless you’ve been given permission otherwise. If you talk about escalating and they say “grab me by the crotch”, that’s your green light. But until then, ask first.
It’s generally a good idea to talk about escalation, whether it’s sexual escalation, or related to your relationship progression. You should also talk about what you think any escalation means. Does sex mean that you think this will lead to a relationship, or are the two mutually exclusive? Maybe that’s part of the reason things haven’t escalated in this situation? Maybe I’m wholly off-base here. My point is, when in doubt, ask questions, and encourage a dialogue.
And trust me, bringing up sex for the first time might feel weird, but there really isn’t any other way to escalate things without physically escalating and assuming you have consent. It’ll be weird for like, a minute if he’s into you. And just to be clear, it’s better to feel “weird” than it is to encroach on someone’s boundaries without permission. Feeling awkward because you were being respectful of someone’s boundaries is temporary. Feeling like someone doesn’t respect your boundaries is not something people tend to forget.
The same advice goes for you, or anyone. Wondering why you haven’t moved beyond kissing after a couple dates? Wondering if they want to take things slow? Wondering what you need to do to make them feel comfortable opening up to you? Ask questions and encourage a dialogue.
Good Luck Out There.
Also published on Medium.