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Now that social media networks and online dating sites are the norm, we’re no longer limited to socializing with the people we’re likely to meet at work, at school, or through the sometimes painful world of blind dating.

Concern about STDs and unwanted pregnancies can help create sexual boundaries, believes Mc Clary.

If, for instance, you're on the fence about whether or not to take sexual activity to the next level, a healthy dose of fear may cause you to pause, particularly if you're not prepared to take the necessary precautions.

While a dating partner may not welcome this news, it at least can minimize later disappointments.

So, too, does an up-front conversation about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Whether you're new to the dating scene, a regular player, or jumping back into the game after a long hiatus, the same questions about dating rules apply: How soon do you lean over for that first kiss? And last -- but by no means least -- how do you know when the time is right for sex?

"There's really no formula that I've encountered," says 28-year-old Andrew Reymer, a single resident of Baltimore, Maryland.

"My advice is this: wait as long as you can," Allen says.

Her rationale for these dating rules may seem obvious, but many people tend to forget in the heat of the moment.

"The risks of STDS have got to be discussed and prevented from spreading," Allen tells Web MD.

"I say definitely use condoms, even if you're in a committed relationship," she adds.

"It becomes much more difficult to objectively see each other's character traits" says Susanne Alexander, a relationship coach and author of Can We Dance? "Some couples then slide into engagement and marriage only to discover they have missed seeing major aspects of each other." While not every dating scenario that involves sex leads to marriage or even a serious relationship, couples do owe it to themselves to talk about where they see their relationship going and how sex might change the relationship -- before they get in bed together. The woman may assume sex implies a commitment; the man may not see it that way," Allen tells Web MD.