The long-awaited movie, Sex And The City, arrived at theatres around the world last month, smashing box-office records as throngs of women (and yes, lots of men too!) queued up for hours to witness the latest adventures of their modern-day heroines Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. Audiences were not disappointed, and neither were the critics. But will the message of the movie inspire or confuse women as they leave the theater and walk back into their daily city lives?
Back in New York City where I was born, and where Sex And The City takes place, those of us who know the city well know that there isn't a whole lot of sex going on in that city right now. It has always been a popular joke that everyone in New York City looks like they're going somewhere to have sex (the clothes, the makeup, the urgency…), but that few actually arrive at that destination. Every evening, thousands of women and men dress for sex, but don't actually have sex. I'm sure you can relate.
When asked about the wild popularity of Sex And The City, I've been known to point out that if everyone in New York City were having as much sex as the women in the series, New York would certainly be having an over-population crisis. Based on some simple calculations extrapolated from the tv series and new film, the population of New York City should be at least 200 million by now. So something is askew.
I realize, however, that many women around the world will be inspired by the giant-screen exploits of their New York heroines. In other words, for at least the next few months, women are going to strive to emulate the actions of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. For some women, that means a lot more shopping. But for others, it means a lot more attempts to have sex in your city. If you are one of those women, I have some words of advice:

If you're going to have sex in your city:

1) HAVE SEX WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW. He tells you he loves you. He tells you he wants you. He tells you that you're the most beautiful woman he's ever met. But you've only known him for three hours!!! Of course you're flattered, but don't be a fool. He's still a stranger, and smart women don't have sex with strangers. If he wants you in his bed, he needs to wait. Women who like themselves don't have sex on the first date.

2) TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOUR BODY! Sexual intimacy has its rewards, but it also has great risks. Emotional risks. Pregnancy risks. And a whole slew of terribly serious health risks. With the risk of sexually transmitted diseases at an all-time high you simply can not afford to have unprotected sex; mandatory condom use is a non-negotiable line item on your sexual agenda. Never trust him to protect you. Smart women manage their own bodies.

3) ASK THE BIG QUESTIONS, AND ASK THEM BEFORE YOU HAVE SEX. Questions like: Are you married? Are you nervous? When was the last time you were tested for STD's (and what were the results)? Are you monogamous? Have you been monogamous this month? This week? This weekend? Then take some time to digest his answers thoroughly. If he has red flags he doesn't get the green light. Women who like themselves aren't afraid to ask tough questions.

4) DON'T DO IT BECAUSE HE PAID FOR DINNER. The food was fabulous, the ambience was divine. But your body is worth more than a few mojitos and a lobster. Don't feel obligated to have sex just because he pulled out his American Express card; spending money doesn't make him the boss. You have sex when YOU want to have sex. Smart women know that when a man spends money on you he isn't purchasing the rights to your body.

5) KEEP AT LEAST ONE FOOT ON THE FLOOR. It's nice to dream, but a healthy dose of reality is equally vital. Too many women open their hearts and offer their bodies before they've studied some basic sexual mathematics. Consider these equations: Sex does not equal Love; Sex does not equal Relationship; Sex does not equal Forever; Sex does not equal A Guaranteed Phone Call Tomorrow Morning. If you don't like this 'new math', you're probably not ready to lose yourself to a fantasy weekend of sex in your city.

6) DON'T HAVE SEX WITH YOUR EX. Of course you still have feelings for him. Of course he knows your body well. Of course it's easier than finding someone new this week. Of course he's just a phone call away. It doesn't matter; it's still a mistake. Sometimes it's so easy to have sex with your ex – but that doesn't make it smart. If you can't let go of your emotional past you can't build a healthy emotional future. You must make a choice.

7) DON'T MIX SEX WITH ALCOHOL. There's nothing wrong with a glass of wine. There's probably nothing wrong with two. But if you start the evening swimming in alcohol, you'll end the evening drowning in bad choices. The decision to have sex is a decision best made when you're sober. I call it 'the bartender's secret' because bartenders play silent witness to this mess every night they go to work: Good judgement and alcohol don't mix.

8) DON'T TEXT BEFORE SEX. Of course you're excited. You're about to have sex. Your friends will be so happy for you! But they don't need to be happy tonight!!! So get a grip. This is not the perfect moment to contact the media and broadcast your evening's activities. If he catches you, locked inside the bathroom texting away, he'll think you’re insane. You need to stay in bed and stay in control; you can text all your friends tomorrow. As the flight attendants say before takeoff, "At this time all cellphones, pages, and other electronic devices must be turned off."

9) IF YOU'RE NOT A COP, LEAVE YOUR HANDCUFFS AT HOME. Having a new romantic partner always presents opportunities for trying new things. But some women try too hard, and they try way too soon. As your sexual relationship evolves, there will be plenty of opportunities for experimentation. So save the kinky stuff for later. Right now, your goal is intimacy, not experimentation. Women who like themselves know they don't have to push intimacy to its edges.

10) DO IT FOR LOVE, NOT MONEY. Maybe you have friends who married for money. And maybe they are telling you that you should sleep your way to the top. But relationships that are motivated by the rise and fall of the Euro usually end at an emotional rock bottom. Let passion be your motivation, not financial security. Do it for love, or do it for lust, but please don't do it because you're looking for a meal ticket. If you want financial freedom, ask your boss for a raise.

11) DON'T START ACTING LIKE A WIFE. Having sex doesn't automatically make you his partner, and it certainly doesn't make you his spouse. So don't act like his spouse. Don't start cooking him breakfast, cleaning his apartment, doing his laundry, and walking his dog. If he needs that much care, let him hire a housekeeper. Women who like themselves don’t start acting like wives till the ceremony has ended and the guests have all gone home.

12) DON'T START SOMETHING YOU CAN'T FINISH. The only 'right' time to have sex is when it's right for YOU. There is no rule book you should be following. There is no timetable you must obey. If you're not sure, you're not ready. If you're not ready, you're not wrong. Don't let your friends pressure you, don't let 'him' pressure you, and, most important, don't let you pressure you. Smart women don't let themselves get pressured into compromising positions. And they always reserve the right to change their minds.

Author's Bio: 

Steven Carter is the author of twenty books in the field of psychology, self-help and relationships, including the New York Times bestseller "Men Who Can't Love" and the National Bestsellers "What Smart Women Know", "Men Like Women Who Like Themselves", "He's Scared, She's Scared", and "Help! I'm In Love With A Narcissist." Carter is the Relationship Expert for www.power-surge.com.