Is chastity the hot new dating strategy?
The "wait until you know someone before you get naked" approach might not be the rage on college campuses, but an increasing number of relationship gurus are advising women to heed Grandma's wisdom, and make the guy buy the cow before you start giving away the milk.
In her new book, "Not Tonight, Mr. Right" (Marlowe and Company, $13.95), sex expert Kate Taylor suggests "women who quickly jump in the sack have their hearts broken faster" and "relationships are more fun, easier and longer lasting" when you stay vertical instead of going horizontal.
Men - well, those who aren't the fathers of teenage girls - might argue against waiting, yet Taylor claims, "smart girls don't."
Prior to preaching the "no nookie, keep-your-knickers-on-until-you're-sure" mantra, Taylor, a Brit with a wicked sense of humor, authored several sex books. After suffering her own heartaches, Taylor awakened to the idea that, "if you sleep with a man right away, you are throwing away your best chance of making him become absolutely wild about you."
Her research reveals that men find their partner less attractive and sexy after their first roll between the sheets, but women find their partner more sexy after their first romp.
The culprit is a little hormone call oxytocin, commonly referred to as "the cuddle hormone" or, as Taylor puts it, "the 'Fatal Attraction' hormone." When you have sex, your pituitary gland releases oxytocin, which increases your feelings of attachment to your partner.
Both men and women release oxytocin. But, in one of Mother Nature's crueler tricks, the "I love you forever, I think you're perfect" effects of oxytocin are completely neutralized by testosterone. Therefore, the more testosterone a man has coursing through his veins, the less likely he is to remember your name in the morning, much less your phone number.
However, for females, an oxytocin rush can last for as long as two years - yes, you read that right - two years! Which is why women often become addicted to the man who set it off, however disinterested or unsuitable he may be.
The oxytocin/testosterone paradox confirms my own anecdotal observation that, as we age, the tables turn. Older men, whose testosterone is declining, are more eager to head for the chapel, whereas middle-aged women, who experience a rise in testosterone, are just as happy to stay in bed.
With such differing biologies, it's a wonder men and women ever tie the knot at all.
Taylor, whose book is subtitled "The Best (Don't Get) Laid Plans for Finding and Marrying the Man of Your Dreams," comes from a practical perspective rather than a moral one.
She tells marriage-minded young women, "If you feel that withholding sex from a man to encourage him to fall in love with you is manipulation, you're absolutely right. But if you think that makes it a bad thing to do, you're absolutely wrong. Not satisfying a man's sexual desire for you is the very best way to encourage his initial feeling of lust to turn into something far stronger - love."
Taylor says, "there's nothing more miserable than getting bonded to a man who sees you as a good time girl." While there's no magic moment to become intimate, she says you should wait until the man is fully committed to you - at least six months.
Preachers have advocated abstinence for a month of Sundays, but when the author of "Life Is Too Short for Tantric Sex" starts touting "the thrill of the chaste," perhaps we'll listen up.
It's probably no coincidence that I'm enthusiastically endorsing this advice now that I'm the mother of a 14-year-old daughter. But it's not only my desire to keep her safe that motivates me, it's what I know to be true about human nature.
Grandma was right, every woman deserves to be cherished, and men only cherish someone they have to chase.
Snellville resident Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect" and "Finding Grace When You Can't Even Find Clean Underwear." Contact her or join her interactive blog at www.forgetperfect.com.