What Does It Mean When a Man Holds Out?


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Last week, I wrote about why holding out can be beneficial for the ladies. Not every female agreed with me that it's a good idea, however, and I get where the dissenters are coming from.

But one male reader wrote in to say he thought the whole notion of waiting was sweet and romantic — and went on to say: "It's not just women who stick to such rules; some men do as well. We're not all just horny, hormone-driven predators!"

For serious?

Male Holdout #1

Then he told me about a recent instance in which he held out with one girl. They'd returned to her place and, at the last minute, he "opted out." She was pissed — while he thought he'd been a gentleman. He spent the night sleeping on the floor next to her bed.

Male Holdout #2

During a summer that I spent in a certain little college town, I myself experienced that rara avis: the male holdout! I was living in a friend's apartment while she was in Europe on a research fellowship, and because I didn't know anyone in the area, she "set me up" with a bunch of her friends, male and female, so they could show me around. I ended up becoming very tight with one of the guys ... and eventually, he and I progressed to the Frenching stage. Then we slowly went nowhere. We'd have sleepovers, and we'd smooch — but nothing much else would happen.

The first time we'd kissed, I had that wonderful electrical feeling of bliss, like 800 small servants were running 800 small vibrating massagers over every inch of my skin. But after a while, I had zero interest in even touching him; without stimulation, my libido came to a complete halt — and I felt about as sexy as a pair of Tevas. When I finally asked him what the problem was, he said he was looking for a serious relationship — and he was wary of getting into a long-distance relationship with a chick who would be leaving town at the end of August. He didn't want to "rush into anything" that might end painfully or disappointingly.

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My response?

"Dude, you're kind of being a pussy, aren't you?"

I'm so sensitive.

Anyway, that little relationship ended soon after — quite amicably, believe it or not, despite my callousness. And maybe three months after I skipped town, my "ex" started dating someone who lived a five-minute walk away from him.... Now they're married, with a baby. Which is to say, I think he was telling me the truth.

Male (Wanna-Be) Holdout #3

I was getting coffee earlier today with a certain male friend who is visiting from out of town, and I put the question to him: Had he ever waited?

"No," he said. "But with a certain woman I was interested in recently, I decided that if we progressed to the point where the question of sex was on the table" — or on the mattress, as it were — "I might suggest postponing for a bit in the hopes of sustaining my interest, rather than killing it by getting too intimate too quickly. Because that can happen; you have sex too soon and suddenly you want out, for no real reason."

I happen to know he really liked this woman, and I also happen to know — in part because she was moving out of his town to take a new job — that the courtship ended before the sexual question came to any kind of climax.

Male Holdout #4

I also posted about the question of men holding out on my Facebook page, and I heard from one friend who said she'd been with a man who'd held out for a while — but that he had religious issues, and a lot of guilt about sex, and that he was basically pretty screwed up.

BUT the evidence seems to suggest, for the most part, that if a guy holds out, it doesn't mean you're unattractive or that you lack sex appeal. If he's holding out, it's his issue — and it seems that men often want to wait because they like a person A LOT.

Kids — ladies and gents — what are your thoughts on all this? Have you had experiences with a man holding out? Are you a man who has held out? Give us the skinny, please.

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