Talk to me, Dr. Phil. I'm a single mom and I'm dating. How soon can I have sex without looking like a slut? Please tell me that I don't have to wait till my infant son hits puberty!Lisa

Dr. Phil: Here's the deal: If you're someone that is wanting to nurture a long-term relationship, then you're going to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the right guy. And you want to call some of them out before you give it up. You know, why buy the cow if you get the milk free? And I've always said, you should never marry anybody till you've seen 'em with the flu.

Before you go to bed with somebody, you've got to really know who they are, you've got to really know what their values are, right? I mean, because you've got to understand that if they want to go to bed with you the first time, it's not because you are the queen goddess of the world. It's because you are the current date.

Or do you want to see if somebody will invest some time and effort and energy in a relationship with you? I think you see how long they're willing to invest in you. And if they're not willing to invest more than a couple of weeks, then that's not somebody you want to have slept with anyway, is it? Easy come, easy go.

A step-by-step guide to pacing relationships so they last

It is hard to put a number on it because it's not the time that you spend; it's what you learn during the time that you spend. What do you know about this person? What's their history? What are their values? What do they want? Who else are they sleeping with? And for God's sakes, don't be wagging these guys home and introducing them to your child.

You want to make sure that they're a stayer before you let them bond with your child. You certainly want to have safe sex. And when you do make that decision, you want to do it not because you're desperate. You want to do it because this is somebody that you're willing to make an investment in. It depends on how much you value yourself and how much you want to know about how much they value you.

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