Q: The end of a date is always so awkward. How do I successfully extend the invite back to my place?

A: Let’s be brutally honest here. Inviting a girl back to your place has become 100-percent synonymous with an invite to have sex. Similarly, most women—right or wrong—believe that going home with a guy is giving him a green light for getting laid. Because of this, it can be a bad idea to invite her over too soon—and it’s also smart to make it clear that you’re not expecting sex if she does take you up on your invite. Sounds tricky, right? That’s because it is.

So how soon is too soon? If you’re still in the lets-meet-in-public-places-because-you-might-be-a-psycho-killer phase of dating, then it’s definitely too early. But aside from that, throw out your three-date rule (sorry!) and start feeling out whether or not you've reached a point of genuine connection. Sometimes this can happen the first or second time you hang out—and other times it can take five or six dates. Make the judgment call based on how well you feel you know her, how comfortable you are around each other, and how physical things have gotten before. If you’ve never kissed, it’s too soon. If you’ve been engaging in some street-side makeouts, then the request won’t seem so out of place.

As far as how you word the invite, just be straightforward, and make it clear that you don’t have any expectations. Say something like: “I would love to have you over to my place if you’re up for it. And just to put it out there, I’m not making any assumptions about what you coming over means.”

Then, once she’s over at your place, remember that you don’t have to have sex. Try to continue interacting with her like you were still out in public— don’t just stare at her awkwardly with a facial expression of “so are we gonna do it or what?” (Trust me. It happens more than you’d think.) Then let things flow naturally. If you start hooking up, you start hooking up. Great! Just keep checking in with her to make sure she’s comfortable, and tell her that things don’t have to go any further than they are— that you’re fine just going to bed. This will put her at ease.

Oh, and one last thing: if she comes over, assume she’s staying the night (or at least offer to let her)—okay? And if you want to be a gentleman, make her breakfast—no matter how physical things did or didn’t get.

About the Hot Girl : Amber Madison is an author, lecturer, sex and relationship expert and dating coach. She has appeared on MTV, VH1, The Today Show, NPR, The Early Show, The Bill Cunningham Show; has been quoted in Newsweek, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan; and writes a dating column for The Metro.