Permission To Break The Millionaire Matchmaker’s Cardinal Rule

Patti Stanger, known to most as “The Millionaire Matchmaker” from Bravo’s hit TV series, has a lot of rules. She’s cited as having 11 basic commandments*, most of which are very reasonable: keep your commitments, don’t talk about your ex, don’t drink too much, etc.

However, her one cardinal rule is no sex before monogamy. And when we’re talking sex, we’re talking all forms of it – I won’t get graphic, you know what I mean. I have my own rules about sex but for me, Patti’s approach (as with most of her advice) starts off in a good place, but takes things to the extreme. Monogamy is a heavy word and while sex can be a heavy thing, putting too much emphasis on it, and whether or not you’re having it, can cause undue stress in a relationship.

The rule I give my clients is no sex before the fifth date. I’m not as stringent on all the categories of sex, but you definitely should not do anything more than a PG-rated kiss on the first date. When I say fifth date, I usually get an audible gasp in response, but strangely, some are reacting because they think it’s too soon, and others because it’s too long to wait – which makes me think that it is about the right number for most relationships.

You can always choose to wait longer if both partners are on the same page about it, but when sex is withheld as some sort of token for a promise of a relationship that is “going somewhere”, often resentment can start to build up and sex can become less enjoyable when it eventually occurs. It’s like the girlfriend that hounds the guy for an engagement ring and when he finally succumbs to her demands just to keep the peace, the proposal lacks any thought and the engagement becomes more of a transaction than a special time to appreciate one another and prepare for marriage.

I specify the fifth date because it’s long enough to see if you have more in common than just physical attraction. If you are ultimately looking for someone to share your life with, you need to find them interesting in conversation and not just in bed. And as soon as you introduce sex into the equation, that becomes the prevailing force that bonds you together.

Just to be clear, this is based on the assumption that, in this phase of the relationship, you are going out about once a week and speaking to one another in between dates so that the relationship is developing on multiple levels. I recommend that all daters spread their dates out to build intimacy and connection. If you are going out with someone who you just met night after night, you risk fatiguing the relationship. Similar to working out, you don’t want to overwork the muscles. Give your head a chance to get clear and determine weather this person has real long-term potential and that you’re not just coasting on hormones.

Sex should not be taken lightly in any situation though. As someone who grew up in the dawn of the AIDS epidemic, I have never considered sex without condoms with anyone but my husband. However, many of my friends and clients have a more laissez faire attitude about condoms as if they get a certain number of free passes. A surprising 50% of people surveyed by the intimacy product maker Wet ** admitted to not wearing condoms all the time and a mind-bending 18% said that they never wear them.

Sorry to get so serious all of a sudden, but one mistake could haunt you the rest of your life so you should be using protection until you are definitely committed to one another and not sleeping with other partners, you have both been tested for STDs and shared the results with one another, and you have a plan in mind should pregnancy happen. The reality of online dating is that the people you are meeting are probably seeing others too, so it’s better to be smart than in denial.

This all leads up to the fact that if you and your date cannot yet talk about serious issues that can result from sex, as well as your sexual health, you probably aren’t ready to take things to that level.

So, like most of Patti Stanger’s comments, her heart is in the right place, but you don’t necessarily need to have such a rigid approach as long as you are using brain as much as your “picker”, as she calls it.


Dear Mrs D is an online dating strategist and author who conducts one-on-one coaching sessions and workshops for singles on how to find success dating online just as she did. Her ebook, “D is for Dating” is available on her website and complimentary strategy sessions are now being offered to JMag readers. Read more and drop her a line at
  1. Thanks for this blog. Thats all I can say. You most positively have made this weblog into something thats eye opening and important. You clearly know so much about the subject, youve coated so many bases. Great stuff from this part of the internet. Once more, thanks for this blog.

  2. Any type of extreme in this day and age is ridiculous. If that type of rigid unyielding strategy appeals to a person, they can always become Hassidic Jews. I don’t sleep around and never had a once night stand, but after I’ve dated a guy for a reasonable amount of time, (I usually have a “Probation Period” of three months, where we see each other once a week). I take my time, and choose wisely. You can’t expect a guy to commit to monogamy before he’s seen you naked and you had a physical experience. By monogamy I mean a commitment – since I won’t date a guy who is seeing others as well, and/or only “Separated” from his wife – we are embarking on this journey together, but when you decide to open your heart and your legs to someone, open your brain and use that first.

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