"Life's too short to make a mistakeA Sister Trope to Celibate Hero, where a character declares that they've no intention of having sex just for the sake of sex. Either they're waiting for "The One", or they think they've found them, but the timing isn't right (and if it's Their First Time, they want it to be special). A common thing in many religions, which declare that sex is sacred and must be saved for the wedding night. In fact, pre-marital sex used to be a taboo topic, but nowadays it seems to be an unquestionable standard. If the character who wants to wait is male, it's usually to show him as a romantic or old-fashioned (often both). If female, there's about the same chance it'll be because All Women Are Prudes. A frequent variant is an engaged couple deciding not to have sex again until after the wedding to make their wedding night more "special". Compare Good People Have Good Sex, But I Would Really Enjoy It. Contrast Nature Abhors a Virgin, Everybody Has Lots of Sex. Occasionally paired with Insatiable Newlyweds to show that the couple weren't waiting out of prudishness.
Let's think of each other and hesitate
Young and impatient we may be
There's no need to act foolishly
If we part our hearts won't forget it
Years from now we'll surely regret it"
Let's think of each other and hesitate
Young and impatient we may be
There's no need to act foolishly
If we part our hearts won't forget it
Years from now we'll surely regret it"
— Chairmen of the Board, "Give Me Just a Little More Time"
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Anime & Manga
- In Girl Friends, due to both sides mistakenly assuming that their still virgin partner already had sex with somebody else, Mari and Akko have a very awkward first attempt that ends with this.
- In the manga version of Koi Kaze (but not the anime adaptation), Koshiro and Nanoka make a point of not immediately having sex after finally entering a relationship, and several months pass before they get intimate that way.
- Timothy Drake, the third Robin. He's one of the few persons in the Bat-Family (and The DCU superhero community) who hasn't done it. The dude's had at least 5 girlfriends, and has been propositioned for sex thrice. Gotta love that guy.
- It looks he and Steph are finally ready to have sex at the end of Steph's mini series in Convergence, but they took such a beating that neither feels up to it. So they settle for simply falling asleep laying with one another.
- Virgil Hawkins of Static has actually refused to have sex with his then-girlfriend, after having a serious talk with his father about how it is a big step in responsibility for someone his age. Virgil ultimately decides he isn't ready for more than he already has with his life as a superhero and decides to wait.
- In New Warriors: Firestar, Nova and Namorita break Justice out of the convoy taking him to prisonnote . After Vance convinces them to let him face the music, Nova, Namorita and the guards look the other way while he and Firestar "have a private goodbye." Angelica wants to, but Vance convinces her that their first time should be more special than a quick rut in the woods.
- Scott Pilgrim: Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers do this in volume 1. After their first "date", Scott ends up at Ramona's apartment with the (literal) girl of his dreams half-naked, on top of him, in bed. Ramona abruptly changes her mind about sex, and they still sleep in the same bed. Scott professes to be fine with this. It's unclear whether he's telling the truth or is just willing to let her set the pace and take what he can get in the meantime; when he's with a woman he really likes, he has a tendency (especially this early in his Character Development) to be pretty whipped. Then again, Ramona doesn't change her mind until Scott shows some hesitance.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3, Peter Parker and Mary Jane discuss whether they're ready to take their relationship to the next level. In the end MJ decides she's not, and Peter tells her that while he wants to sleep with her, he's more than willing to wait until she's ready.
- In 9 Chickweed Lane, Edda and Amos attempt the "abstinence until marriage" route. We find out about this after they apparently immediately broke that vow and Edda comically tries to convince Amos that he dreamed it. (Amos knew and played along, because he thought it was sweet she was thinking of his honour.)
- A Crown of Stars: Discussed. Asuka and her best friend Hikari talk about Asuka's love life, who has just recently hooked up with Shinji after several years of Belligerent Sexual Tension, Unresolved Sexual Tension, misunderstandings and a long forced separation. Shinji and Asuka started to have sex shortly after getting together, and Hikari -who has just hooked up with her high-school crush but has not had sex yet- is seeking advice about giving the next step or waiting a while, so she asks Asuka what she would have done when they were thirteen. Asuka replies what knowing what she knows now, she would not have waited.
- Advice and Trust: Shinji and Asuka have a conversation shortly after hooking up, and he tells her that, even if the HAD enjoyed kissing and groping, they did not need to have sex right away because he also enjoyed talking with her, and he wants all of her, so he is okay with waiting.
- The Child of Love: Variant. Shinji and Asuka got a one-night stand. As a result of it Asuka got pregnant and their relationship almost got destroyed. After reconciling Asuka said they were not having sex until Teriís birth at the very least and they had to be very careful from now on. Shinji agreed.
- Children of an Elder God: In chapter 23 Asuka is feeling very strong urges to make love to Shinji. However she suspects the Outer Gods want them to give in their base instincts so they can wipe humankind out, and she restrains herself, telling herself they are still too young and with no idea of how to do it properly.
One day...one day she would she would make love to him. But not now. She was too young, and so was he, and she had a feeling that was what Nylarathotep wanted.
Also, she wasn't sure how to do it properly.
- Ghosts of Evangelion: Shinji and Asuka argue about their sex life several times: both are attracted each other, but their many psychological issues -which include Asuka being mentally and physically raped several times in the past- keep in the way of a healthy sex life. Sometimes Asuka just wants have sex so the matter is settled, but Shinji argues he's afraid of hurting her and they shouldn't force themselves.
- Last Child of Krypton: In chapter 9 of the redux Asuka tries to seduce Shinji, but Shinji convinces her to wait a while because she was severely hurt and distraught.
- The One I Love Is: Subverted. In an early chapter Rei wants to have sex with Shinji but he backs out because he can not stop to think about Asuka. Not wanting to hurt Rei he lies, saying he has stopped because he wants to make sure things don't go too fast.
- The Last War: Harry and Hermione decide to put off consummating their love until their personal situations settle down a bitnote Given the fic's orphaned status, consummation may never come.
- A Penny and Aggie Fan Art strip parodies the Marshall/Karen trope by portraying them in the future as newlyweds. As Marshall carries her over the threshold, the blushing Karen raises the question again, but he says, "Don't be silly. We're still just kids."
Films — Live-Action
- The 40-Year-Old Virgin: The protagonist and his love interest decide to wait until they've had a certain number of dates before they... do it.
- Brought up in the film adaptation of Like Water for Chocolate by Pedro to his new bride Rosaura. However, the marriage is not of love but simply to delay an uncomfortable marriage obligation (Pedro married Rosaura to be close to her sister Tita, his true love). Pedro throws in one successful excuse to why they should wait but eventually the deed is done (to produce a son).
- In Jumping the Broom, after having a one night stand with a man who already had a girlfriend, Sabrina decides that the next time she has sex, she will be married. She eventually meets and gets engaged to Jason, and they decide they will abide by that rule.
- Hershel and Mary from Super Powereds. They are by far the least noticable of the various couples in general, but they also seem to be the most stable. The situation is slightly complicated by the fact that thanks to Roy, Hershel has a huge number of memories of sex despite being a virgin.
- Anita Blake didn't put out until the sixth book in the series, due to a bastard ex-fiancé.
- The "engaged" version also happens in Odd Thomas. Tragically, before they can actually consummate their love, the girl dies.
- In Macho Man by Moritz Netenjakob, the protagonist's girlfriend Aylin tells him she wasn't a very "traditional" Turkish woman but she does find it romantic to wait for the wedding night to have sex for the first time. In the end he seduces her when they get back together by showing how much he isn't a macho man after all by singing the smurf song to her.
- Don and Denise in We Can't Rewind present a somewhat unusual case in that they're both somewhat sexually experienced already, he being a widower and she being a single mother. Since he's also a rather traditional religious conservative kind of guy and she's recovered from being a sexual abuse victim and Absurdly Youthful Mother, however, he has little trouble convincing her to save their first time with each other for the wedding night. Once they get to the wedding night, however...
- There never seems to be any question that Cory and Topanga in Boy Meets World are going to wait until they are married, although Cory has a harder time waiting than Topanga does. At one point during the engagement, she shows him her butt as a compromise to placate him.
- The "engaged couple agreeing to wait until their wedding day before they do it again" happens on Scrubs with Turk and Carla. It lasts less than an entire episode; by the time Turk comes around to the idea as being romantic, Carla has had such a rough day that she needs some loving affection and changes her mind. Turk is happy to oblige. In season 1, Carla mentions to Elliot that she usually waits a month to sleep with new boyfriends. As she puts it, she likes to make them wait until they think they are never going to get in her pants, and then jump them like an animal (which usually takes about a month).
- Friends had the same situation with Monica and Chandler. Seeing as these are the two who declared they were the best the other had ever had, the decision didn't last long. Within a week, they staged a pretend fight to "break off" the engagement so they could sleep together again.
- Appears no less than three times in Gossip Girl's first season. An ongoing plot in the first seven episodes is Blair wanting to lose her virginity to Nate, who keeps putting it off. Dan also takes this stance with Serena for a few episodes. And Chuck Bass, of all people, tells Blair in the season finale that they should wait a while and "do it right this time".
- Arrested Development:
Ann: And then that first time, after waiting and waiting, itís gonna be so awesome! Because itís not just going to be my love and George Michaelís, but Godís love, as well. God, itís gonna be incredible!
- On Friday Night Lights, the first time Julie and Matt attempt sex, they realize they're doing it just because they each think the other is "The One." They're correct about that, but decide there's no rush to have sex and that they'll wait until it feels right.
- How I Met Your Mother:
- Subverted in a flashback, Marshall and Lily decide to wait to have sex... and then do it ten minutes later.
- Victoria and Ted planned to wait a month, but gets too impatient after the first two weeks.
- In Grey's Anatomy Erica and Callie agree to wait before having sex because they both think they aren't ready to have sex with another woman. A few dates later, they consummate their relationship.
- Provides lots of humor in Girlfriends when Good Bad Girl Lynn starts dating a celibate man. He initially refuses to date her due to her...reputation, but she convinces him that she can wait. She's...not very good at it.
- The Golden Girls:
- Blanche dated one man like this — she was so confused by the idea she misinterpreted it as him not finding her attractive.
- Inverted in one episode with Sophia. Despite both of them being in their eighties, she decides to jump into bed with a man quite quickly.
- Brian and Alex decide to do this on Wings, after Brian is reminded by Joe and Helen that he has a habit of jumping into bed with women he's just met and then immediately losing respect for them. Brian being who he is, it's a definite moment of Character Development for him.
- The Trope Namer is Janet Jackson's song "Let's Wait A While".
I didn't really know not to let all my feelings show
To save some for later so our love can be greater
You said you would always love me
Remember I said the same thing to you
You don't have to be frightened with my love
Because, I'll never give up on you
Let's wait awhile
Ah well before it's too late
You know you can't rush love
- Jermaine Stewart's "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off". The lyrics can be summed up as thus: "Don't move so fast and try to get to the sex right away, it's insulting and unclassy — let's just have fun and enjoy ourselves before we go any further." Interestingly, the POV character who wants to wait is male.
- Avril Lavigne's "Don't Tell Me."
- Lady Antebellum's Just a Kiss goes, "So baby I'm alright, oh, let's do this right, with just a kiss goodnight."
- The Supremes' "Love Child" is about a woman who doesn't want to have sex, because she felt the sting of being born out of wedlock, and doesn't want to risk getting pregnant and having her child go through the same thing.
Don't think that I don't need ya
Don't think I don't want to please ya
But no child of mine will be bearin'
The name of shame I've been wearin'
- Nick and Ki from General Protection Fault: Nick wanted to wait until he and Ki were married because he's an old-fashioned romantic. Ki thought his explanation was the sweetest thing ever.
- Dominic and Luna. Dominic learns that Luna's first time was an (intentionally engineered) utter disaster, so she has some serious hang-ups about intimacy on top her own self-esteem issues. It works out in the end, though (Three words: "Worth. The. Wait.)
- Tipper and Charles from Namir Deiter, much to the annoyance of their roommate Gabby, who wished they'd stop crawling the walls and start crawling each other.
- Walkyverse: Joyce and Walky, due to Joyce's near-psychotic aversion to "pre-marital hanky-panky." Eventually, facing the imminent End Of The World battle and having already gotten engaged, they go for it and (being mildly super-powered individuals) cause some serious structural damage to their hotel room in the process.
- In Penny and Aggie, Marshall repeatedly says this to Karen, because "we're kids." (The real reason, as the comic later reveals, is that he thinks having sex too soon will make him like his hedonistic mother, whom he resents.) However, Karen's self-esteem is so tied up in Marshall "wanting" her that she deliberately walks in on him in the shower and, when he still refuses to make love, gives him a hand-job without asking. After several months, Marshall decides he's ready and they consummate their relationship... but break up soon after for unrelated reasons.
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! obliquely addresses this here.
- In Mťnage ŗ 3, Gary said this a couple of times when his then-girlfriend Yuki attempted intimacy. How much of his motives were being a gentleman and how much was due to concern over the violent psychotic breaks male genitals caused her is up in the air.
- Taken Up to Eleven in this Something*Positive strip during a marital preparedness course.
Debra: Oh, we got married seven years ago, but Gary really want to wait until it's special.
- Baldur's Gate II: Shadow Of Amn
- This is the "correct" choice when romancing Aerie, near the end of that storyline. If you accept her invitation and do the deed, in the morning after she will break up with you because she wasn't really as ready as she thought, and you took advantage of her emotions. If you tell her to wait, she'll later be happy you did the right thing. Besides, you have other opportunities in the expansion. In fact, by then you don't have the option to wait.
- Viconia's romance takes a different approach. You can bed her fairly early on (and she will break off the relationship if you don't accept), but later on she considers it just a tedious duty ("Let's just get it over with"). You can respond by just having sex as usual... or offer to just cuddle, since she's clearly not in the mood for anything else. Viconia is very surprised at this un-drow-like option, but says afterwards that it wasn't bad.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, the romance option with Alistair plays out like this. You can convince him to go to bed instead of waiting for him to feel ready and approach you, but the love scene doesn't play and he seems unhappy about it.
- The romance with Leliana has similar leanings, as she wants to wait until she's in love before agreeing to go to bed.
- The Player Character can invoke this in any romance, if the companion approaches you for sex first. Surprisingly, Zevran takes it best. If you shyly state that you're not ready and ask to wait a while he's actually charmed, and welcomes you to let him know whenever you're ready. (True to his word, the only way to sleep with Zevran after that is for the Warden to approach him about it, as he doesn't pursue it again). By contrast, the other love interests honor your feelings but are clearly disappointed (and somewhat embarrassed) and lose some affection if you ask to wait when they approach you.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition: When a romanced Dorian approaches a male Inquisitor for sex, said Inquisitor can either agree to jump into bed, or ask to wait a while. If the latter, Dorian is shocked into silence, but happy to wait since he secretly yearned for a loving monogamous relationship with a man he loved, but was conditioned to think such things were impossible in his home country, where homosexuality is regarded as such a shameful secret that casual trysts were all he ever knew.
- Kate, the true love interest of Grand Theft Auto IV, no matter how many times Niko dates her, she will not sleep with him.
- Mass Effect: If you romance Liara, she asks to wait because she wants it to be special. She then approaches you just before the final battle.
- In Mass Effect 2, a romanced Garrus asks to wait until just before you start the Suicide Mission.
- Another Bioware example is in Star Wars: The Old Republic: during the Jedi Consular's romance path with Nadia, he turns her down the first time she propositions him for sex, telling her that she's acting out of fear, grief, and desperation, not love. Her pleading with him to acquiesce and eventual admittance that she does fear losing him at any moment just cements this as the right decision in his mind. And it is—Nadia later thanks him for it, apologizes for her behavior, and agrees to take things slowly, so they can truly appreciate what they have instead of rushing it.
- Parodied in Clone High. Everyone expects to "go up a base, sex-wise" on Prom Night, which for Gandhi would mean going from A Date with Rosie Palms to dry-humping a girl through their clothes, a prospect that excites him to the point that he becomes fixated on it. After some false starts, he finally gets together with a willing partner in Marie Curie, only to stop abruptly and say that they're so young, maybe they should wait. She replies that "I guess the driest love of all is abstinence."