Let’s talk about sex. Some couples wait longer than a year to do it, while others may get it in right after meeting at The Rat. From commitment-based relationships to come-and-go situations, sex is rarely black and white.

“In some cases, sexual activity in a relationship can introduce unexpected feelings and unintended emotional reactions,” said Dr. Justin R. Garcia, a professor of health and wellness. “However, not all end up bad. In other cases it can draw partners closer together, resulting in a deeper level of intimacy.”

Taking the big step to the bedroom can lead to some unexpected problems, like emotional attachments that may not be mutual. That guy at the bar may not be your prince charming, especially when you see him taking another girl home the next night. And sleeping with your best friend could potentially destroy the relationship, despite how Hollywood depicts these circumstances in movies like “No Strings Attached” and “Friends with Benefits.”

Not all situations end in disaster, but the two involved should realize what they’re getting themselves into before things go too far.

Those who do choose to engage in sex may quickly learn the link between sex and love in this new relationship. Cindy Liba, a senior double-majoring in psychology and philosophy, politics and law, thinks that sex and love are often more linked together than we would like to think, especially for the men in the equation.

“Women are stereotypically associated with love and expressing love,” Liba said. “But it is often men who say ‘I love you’ first and think about saying ‘I love you’ first because men have a stronger desire to motivate early sexual activity in relationships.”

While guys often say the “L” word first, many of them may just be using it as a way to get some. For many women, it’s hard to tell whether their man is being honest or not because the word can push females to the sack earlier than expected. If a guy is lying just to get what he wants, it can ruin the relationship because there will be a lack of trust. Plus, the girl can be hurt if she feels a certain way and he clearly doesn’t.

Girls also take virginity vows more often than their male counterparts. And hearing “I love you” from their boyfriends can be quite persuasive.

“My advice to women is to not feed into the common belief that being told ‘I love you’ designates a desire for commitment, as this is not always the case,” Liba said. “Women should be cautious and therefore wary when a man tells them he loves them before sex has occurred, as empirical data displays this love confession may not be shared with the intent to enter into a long-term monogamous relationship, but simply as means to promote sexual activity.”

Don’t be discouraged though; not all relationships end in disaster. Many romantics at Binghamton University actually do find love.

“In one of our studies, nearly one-third of people had a hookup turn into a romantic relationship,” Dr. Garcia said. “Some research has suggested that on average, relationships that begin with sex do not fair as well; however, that seems to be almost entirely influenced by whether or not the participants were looking for a relationship in the first place. If both parties wanted a relationship, it can work out fine.”

Whether you’re fully committed to someone or having a one-night stand, sex is a big step. Think about what you’re doing before you do it, stay protected and don’t be afraid to lead a man on for a little longer. Often, that can only make you more desirable.