Meet the Dating Expert – Katy Horwood

Last week we kicked off a new feature called ‘Meet the Dating Expert’ with professional dating profile photographer Saskia Nelson.  The post proved extremely popular, so this week I asked Sex Expert Katy Horwood, of All Sweetness & Life, and Dating Agency ‘The Four Letter Word‘ to share some expert advice from her specialist area of dating.

I agree whole-heartedly, and have been giggling into my wine reading this over dinner!

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx



Making Him Wait – When is The Right Time to Get Physical?

I think one-night stands are highly under-rated. There is something wonderfully reckless and fun about sharing a night of passion with a man you barely know. Not least because it means avoiding the awkward ‘What was your name again … Do you have the number of a local cab office?’ conversation in the morning. (It could be debated that one shouldn’t necessarily be sharing bodily fluids with a man who’s name she doesn’t know, or whose cab office she is unfamiliar with, but stay with me on this one. I have a point to make.)

Today’s society would have us to believe that men don’t stick around with a girl who give it up too easily, and, if a girl has sex with a man on the first night it will lead them to wonder whom else she has done it with.

Nonsense. A man who  judges is simply brainwashed by the ridiculous theory that nice girls don’t give out too quickly. And, actually, this kind of automatic assumption says more about the man than it does the women (of alleged ill-repute), he’s single-minded and inflexible and almost certainly not worth seeing again anyway.

Having rather an impulsive nature myself, I have been known to, ahem, liaise quite early on in relationships. (It is amazing what a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc can do to a girl’s sense of urgency.) However there have been times when, in contrast, I have decided to wait.

To wait, to date, to get to know a person.

As women, we are regularly being reminded of the correct way to act, the right way to dress, the perfect weight to be and how to behave. Rules, advice, guidelines, however you want to dress them up, are dished out daily, you may not think you are living under instruction, but pick up a newspaper or a weekly magazine and you’ll realize you are – Big Sister is watching you.

So, with this in mind, I decided that perhaps it was about time I started doing the ‘right thing’. Shocking results, I don’t mind telling you.

Take a relationship I had a recently. I made him wait and wait… and wait. We got to know each other, we strolled along the Thames, we went to the cinema, we ate sushi, we walked the dog, we even ran together. Then after 3 months we had sex and, drum roll … it was bloody awful.

We just didn’t ‘fit’ together and despite getting on outside of the bedroom, we weren’t compatible in the sack. Perhaps it was because we had become too ‘friendly’ over this extended period of matey-ness (3 months, hell yeah!)  or that we simply wasn’t the sexual chemistry, either way the results were disappointing, and Lord knows, after 3 months, I’m not that fussy.

My theory is this – had we fallen into bed on the proverbial first night we would have realised we didn’t quite click and moved on, or better still, without the pressure and the build up, we might have been a great deal more relaxed and it may have taken him longer than 3 thrusts to climax. (Admittedly his choice of Carly Simon as our lovemaking music didn’t help, but he was in his mid-50’s so that’s excusable.)

We did try, but the moment had passed. Sex just wasn’t that great. We split up and I spent the following weekend in bed with an absolute stranger who I never saw again. Oh the joy.

Make no mistake, I am not suggesting we all start giving head to the local mini cab driver after a curry on a Tuesday night, but I do think men could gain a great deal from sometimes judging less and relaxing more.

And that we might all benefit from laying off boxing people into categories. Sometimes bonking feels right after 3 hours, sometimes 3 months. People and relationships are all different.

A woman who drags you down an alley for a passionate embrace after too many Martinis before she’s met your mother shouldn’t be written off as a partner.  She should be celebrated as a sexy, confident woman who doesn’t always play by the rules and likewise;  a woman who makes you wait for a bit isn’t a prick-tease or a prude, it’s her choice and that’s just fine too.

And that’s coming from a gal that’s tried both … purely in the name of research of course.


Katy Horwood writes an award winning blog, All Sweetness and Life, focusing predominantly on dating, sex & relationships. Besides her blog, she writes for The Huffington Post, along with a number of other well respected sites and runs a successful London based dating agency

In her spare time, Katy flirts outrageously in the name of research, over-shares on Twitter, has been know to run the odd Marathon and is a complete liability after a few Dirty Martinis. 



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4 Comments on Meet the Dating Expert – Katy Horwood

  1. From a guys perspective if there isn’t a physical element to the dating I start to think it will never be there at all. Without it after-all you may as well just be friends. If you are dating and its 3-4 dates down the line, you clearly like each other, so holding back will only cause us to move on thinking there is no fire….

    What feels right, is always right for you as a couple.

  2. And this, in a nutshell, is why I’m active in the more ‘adult’ dating sites – and why so many people on those sites, aren’t there for the casual hook-ups that most presume. Because on a vanilla site, it’s often more difficult to establish sexual compatibility early in the relationship. I’ve also learned the hard way, that sexual compatibility is just as important to a relationship as emotional and intellectual compatibility – and that it can seriously suck, to find out the compatibility isn’t there, weeks or months into it.

    I personally despise one-night stands. To me, they are awkward, uncomfortable and not remotely uninhibiting – I am far more free and open with a man I know to some degree, than a stranger. But I recognize that, for a number of reasons, I’m weird on this subject. And believe me, I envy women like Ms. Horwood, who can enjoy such encounters. It’s a bit like my being immune to the effects of alcohol – sure it means I’ll never wake up next to a stranger, thinking, “Whoa what did I do?” But at the same time, when I do need the release of going out and getting plastered, I don’t have the luxury. Perhaps if I could booze it up, I could enjoy casual sexual relationships more.

    Though I’ve been looked at askance, by both men and women, because I refuse to establish first-sex time tables – i.e. don’t sleep together before X amount of dates. I find such time tables degrading and demeaning, both to me and the men I’ve dated. If I want to sleep with someone on the first date (and the feeling is mutual), then we will. If I don’t, I’ll wait. There is no set amount of pre-sex dating, that is going to define a lasting relationship. But if I get the slightest hint that a man judges others based on when they do first sleep together – or even when they first start talking about sex – he’s gone. Because I have more than enough judgement to deal with in my life, without dealing with men who are have such a myopic view of others’ sexuality.

    • So true Katherine, and that’s great coming from a lady. Ive dated women (see diary) that have these time tables. One recently kept even saying on the first and second date that “you are not staying over you know….” I mean seriously, one I didn’t even ask to, and two, why the hell not? Whats the issue with that even if sex isn’t expected?

      I try to at least discuss sex on an adult level to see if people are compatible and at least enjoy it. A relationship without it is truly terrible. (ive done it)

      Some women though, and possibly guys, as soon as you mention anything remotely sexual just shoot you down in flames for being a player….. Really!!! Is that the assumption that if you complement someone legs for being amazing that means you are only looking for a one night stand?

      • I don’t know if I’d call myself a lady, but I’m used to being the odd woman out on such topics. Though that woman – wow – it would’ve taken all my resolve not to respond to her comment with, “There will not be a third date, you know…”

        That is also a big part of working off of non-vanilla dating sites – meeting on those sites encourages active and early discussion about sex. And it weeds out skittish types. I’m not even a person who puts a high emphasis on sex in my relationships, but with all the writing I do about sex – whether it’s the fictional short stories or articles about sexual dysfunction and sexuality in modern society – I can’t handle a guy who blushes and giggles like a 12 year old if someone says vagina.

        No, complimenting (your spell checker hosed you there) a woman on her legs would not automatically mean you’re looking for a one night stand. Though I have to be honest and say it’s a comment that wouldn’t go over well with someone like me. For one thing, it sounds like a generic female-flattering comment – like complimenting a woman on her shoes or her hair, neither of which do I devote any serious time or attention to. But mostly, it’s because I’m not wired that way. I won’t even wear high heels, because I refuse to damage my body even minimally, in order to make my legs or my ass look good. I’m a person whose attractiveness is based almost entirely in her brain, and who values my intellect and creativity over anything to do with how I look. So if a guy is leading with compliments about my appearance, it’s off-putting to me, because it means he doesn’t get me at all.

        But that is me, and it’s NOT a response I’d expect from most women. I’m sure many intelligent women would take such a compliment in stride – in particular the ones who do like wearing high heels to make their legs look good – and would not assume you were just trying to talk your way into their pants. 🙂

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