Welcome to #AskCam, a column where sex and intersectionality are not divided but welcomed together. Dear Cam, I've been dating for a few months, and there's one person in particular that I've been really into. Our dates have been fantastic, but I'm ready for something more. When is the right time to move to getting physical with someone new? -Taking The Plunge
Dear Taking The Plunge, For many of us who date and have sexual experiences, this is a frequently asked and pondered question. In monogamous culture, there's an assumption that there's a timeline that folks need to hit to ensure that the relationship is "on the right path"; at certain times, we're expected to date, kiss, become exclusive, and everything after.
There's an expectation that everyone who dates has the same goal of falling in love, getting married, having children, and living happily ever after – there's nothing at all wrong with these things – but isn't it kind of fucked up to assume that everyone will want these exact things, in that exact order? Whether you're monogamous or not, there's no escaping the cultural pressure to subscribe to this kind of dating and relationship model. The first part in my response to you, TTP, is something that you might already know but is worth reiterating: you don't have to hit a timeline or do things by a certain time for them to be valid.
Every relationship – romantic, platonic, monogamous, non-monogamous, and everything in between – evolves at its own pace, and placing a one-size-fits-all model to how relationships should look does a disservice to our individuality and places unnecessary pressure on the folks in that relationship.