Once you've decided what you want out of a date, say experts, you should make it part of your regular dating rules to tell your partner.
"If you just want a one-night stand, you owe it to your partner to tell them 'it's just sex I'm after,'" Mc Clary tells Web MD.
If both people are playing by the same dating rules, sex can serve as the gateway to a consensual, committed relationship.
"You might find that you don't even like the person," Allen tells Web MD.
Other experts agree that sex too-soon can lead to undesirable consequences.
While a dating partner may not welcome this news, it at least can minimize later disappointments.
So, too, does an up-front conversation about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
"Make sure your brain, heart, and penis are in conjunction -- they should all be in a straight line before you have sex," she says.
Mc Clary believes all daters should invest the same amount of time conducting these 'self' conversations about personal dating rules as they do primping before a big date.
Whether you're new to the dating scene, a regular player, or jumping back into the game after a long hiatus, the same questions about dating rules apply: How soon do you lean over for that first kiss? And last -- but by no means least -- how do you know when the time is right for sex?
"There's really no formula that I've encountered," says 28-year-old Andrew Reymer, a single resident of Baltimore, Maryland.
"My advice is this: wait as long as you can," Allen says.
Her rationale for these dating rules may seem obvious, but many people tend to forget in the heat of the moment.
"Every woman and man should know their boundaries before they start dating, and most of us don't," says Cheryl Mc Clary, Ph D, JD, professor of women's health at University of North Carolina-Asheville.