Do people really follow the 90-Day rule?

90-day rule

I had the distinct pleasure of watching Iyanla Vanzant on Oprah the other day (at my mother’s house of course. Y’all know I don’t believe in cable).  They were talking about “Daddyless Daughters,” and the treacherous lives these women face (feel free to agree or disagree, but that ain’t what this post is about). This one particular chick tells the oh-so-classic story about how being a Daddyless Daughter has compelled her to date and have sex with a string of (emotionally) unavailable men, and she wants to end this cycle.  And then, with her arms open wide as if to usher us all to the Grand Alter of Respectability, Iyanla Vanzant says, “So, for example, everybody should be practicing the 90-Day Rule.”

::insert severe side-eye here::

Now, while I was giving Iyanla the side eye, I heard Andre 3000’s Where are my panties? interlude playing in my ear. When ol’ girl had no idea where her panties had mysteriously disappeared to and panicked because she thought he would think she was a ho’, I think almost every chick in the world was like, “AAAH YES!! I know exactly what she’s feeling/thinking!”  Only to have Andre 3000’s ol’ sexy-fine ass come back and say the magic words, “I don’t give a sh!t about giving it up on the first night/  That just let me know, she know what she want outta’ life.”

And that’s where I started feeling pissy again.  Why?  Because women/feminine people (seemingly) are the only one’s prescribed this huge horse pill of “holding out.”  I mean do masculine-identified folks have this conversation?  Do they say to themselves, “If I give it to _____ real nice and slow/fast and rough/pulling hair/smacking ass, will they think I’m a ho’?” Does that ever happen?!

More importantly, does the 90-Day Rule apply to EVERYONE you have sex with, or just the one’s you want to stick around a little while?  If you wait to give the good-good to someone does that guarantee they will stay?  Forever?  Does it even guarantee the sex will be good?  Does it guarantee that you won’t get your heart pummeled?  Guess what?  There are no guarantees in this life.  So, your best bet, in my humble opinion, is to begin doing the work of discovering your own sexual power.  Right now!

::stepping down off soap box::

But what happened next, surprised me: I began to agree with Iyanla after years of lambasting the 90-day rule and sending it to eternal hell.  Now, wait a minute before you start thinking of me as some sort of pious, band-wagon chaser, because that won’t happen in this life.  What actually happened was, I began to remove my own emotion around the topic and look at it for what it is: sex is powerful.  And there are many people who’ve yet to fully understand and walk in their own sexual power, which can be dangerous for all involved.  Waiting to have sex becomes more than just a topic some dude has written a crazy, sensationalized book about, it becomes  the first step in owning your sexual power*.  It really does become the space and time needed to figure out if you even like this mo-fo.  And trust me, liking someone you’re sleeping with is way better than loving them, because love is virtually an automatic over time; liking is not.

Court is now in session…

P.S. - If 90 days sounds like death by fire to you, try the 5-Day Rule and then the 10-Day Rule.  It’s really more about the quality than the quantity.

*Sexual power is not manipulative, coercive, raggedy, competitive, shameful, guilt-ridden, boastful, tacky….


3 thoughts on “Do people really follow the 90-Day rule?

  1. Noni Ayana says:

    Unfortunately, the 90 day rule is often not used as a time of reflection or analysis of yourself or potential sexual partner. It’s more like going through the drive thru. He waits in line while she prepares his meal he carefully chose while reviewing “the menu”.

  2. Lexx Brown-James says:


    So I’m with you on the Andre! And I struggle with this rule. Here is my issue:

    The way that the rule it typically presented it as a wait for me to honor you with my “cookie” *throws up in my mouth a little* The struggle I have is not with the rule, but with the idea that the person waiting has no ownership of their own sexual needs and desires. Hell, what if the person doesn’t want to wait 90 days because they want some now? If they like the person or not something it’s about getting the durn thang done. If it is for a relationship and you do want to wait, then by all means wait. If you are unsure, wait. If the person does not know what they need then wait. However, if the person is in complete ownership of their own sexuality then have at it for 90 days!

    Often times the rule is applied as if sex is a reward for the person who tolerated or stayed for those three months. I know for me, sexual compatibility is important and I want to find out if we are compatible before 90 days of time is spent into this relationship we are building. But again I believe I am aware and in charge of my sexual faculties. I do not believe sex should be a reward or a treat for a person because they did a good job. That creates sexualization and a shift of sex power that can be detrimental to people and their relationships. Sexual intercourse and sex play is a mutual experience to be shared, not a golden carrot or forbidden magic stick.

    Know yourself and know what you want. Once you do, indulge in the pleasure that you seek.

  3. Fabulous Nerd says:

    Here I am at 11.28pm thinking about the 90-day rule as I also contemplate getting involved with someone I met about 4 weeks ago. We’ve seen each other twice (all this week): one date and one drop by and then a call to find out if I am interested since I did not make a move. I am interested, but having sex does require a bit of revelation (of body, spirit and desire) while it might not take 90 days to get there–in fact, I could do with a little something tonight–I do want to know that there will be time before, during and after for some emotional connection. That being said, the last time I had sex on a “first date” I ended up in a 12 year relationship. Maybe I’m trying not to repeat that!

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