If both people are playing by the same dating rules, sex can serve as the gateway to a consensual, committed relationship.
"I thought there were differences between men and women and how they felt about relationships.
"The risks of STDS have got to be discussed and prevented from spreading," Allen tells Web MD.
"Every woman and man should know their boundaries before they start dating, and most of us don't," says Cheryl Mc Clary, Ph D, JD, professor of women's health at University of North Carolina-Asheville.
When Mc Clary refers to boundaries, she's not talking just about the physical boundaries that come with sexual territory. "Emotional wholeness is crucial to the decision process of whether or not to have sex," Mc Clary tells Web MD.
While you can't apply a one-size-fits-all response to sexual dating rules regardless of age or experience, professionals who have studied the topic say it is a good idea to develop a set of prudent dating rules - before the big date.
By and large, Allen and other relationship experts endorse a cautious approach to the dating rules of sex.
While a dating partner may not welcome this news, it at least can minimize later disappointments.