Women! Steve Harvey has a sex tip, driven by the auto industry, for you.

Don't give benefits until he puts in his 90 days.

"If you have a package more valuable than what Chrysler, Ford, GM or the post office offers, why are you putting out benefits to a man who hasn't proven himself worthy?" asked Harvey, who worked the line for Ford Motor Co. in Cleveland from 1977 to 1981.

"You say you're putting out because you don't want to lose the man. You can't lose what you don't have."

That's just some of the advice Harvey gives women in his new book, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" (Amistad, $23.99). It has been No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list for the past 17 weeks.

Readers, overwhelmingly women, have been flooding bookstores nationally for the tour. People know Harvey as one of America's funniest comedians. But his book, while humorous, is no laughing matter. Harvey said he wrote the book to help women who want a serious relationship or for those who want to strengthen a relationship.

The book grew out of a popular advice segment on Harvey's nationally syndicated radio show. Women send in relationship questions that he answers on the air in ways that - like the book - are laugh-out-loud funny but packed with hard truths.

Men are fishermen, Harvey said, referring to one of his favorite pastimes. "Men are either fishing for keepers or sport-fishing - fishing to throw you back," he said. "Women, you determine whether you're a throw back or a keeper."

Women make that determination by the standards they set for themselves, Harvey said. Despite what men say, women need to ask pertinent questions early on about what that man wants from the relationship and from life. Also, Harvey said, women need to stop jumping in bed with men before they've established a quality relationship, just as companies don't offer health benefits before a probationary period.

As the New York-based Harvey has toured the country since January, the most common question he has gotten from women is: "Why didn't you write a book for men?"

"You're the ones most curious about making relationships work," Harvey explained. "When a man's relationship doesn't work, he just goes and gets another one. Men are not walking around with broken hearts. So I wrote this book so you can empower yourselves. Since you can't change him, fix the thing you can fix. Empower yourself first."

One of the most frequent mistakes women make is believing they can change a man. "They think, 'I can love him around to where he needs to be.' That's not true," Harvey said. "You can help bring out the best in a man, but you cannot change a man."

Harvey also offered words of inspiration for laid-off workers and others affected by the poor economy.

"If you're facing layoffs or plant closings or been laid off, know that you can win anyway. You can start again from wherever you are as long as you keep the hope and faith alive," Harvey said. "Get your relationship with God intact first, and then hold your head up. If you got your head down, you won't be able to see the opportunity coming your way. Maybe this is the opportunity to finally go and get the job you really want." *