Monday, August 8, 2011

First Date Sex

There's a good article over at The Good Men Project considering the question of sex on the first date. The author surveyed people amongst her Facebook cohort, and got a lot of interesting feedback on why people do and don't have sex on first dates. Some of the reasons are worth looking at a little more closely.

1. Slut-shaming. This is one of those gender based double-standards. Simply put, men still get away with having more sex with more partners without it having a negative effect on their overall reputation. Women, wrongly I think, are in the position of never knowing if having sex early on with a date will destroy their chances with him. Or if others will judge her for doing so, including other women.

2. Testing "chemistry." One of the reasons people cite for actually doing it on a first date (or really early on in a relationship) is out of a desire to see if they are sexually compatible. I'll admit that I have done this before. It may have not been the only reason, but it certainly was one of them. As I have gotten older, though, I'm less inclined to rush into sexual intimacy - especially with someone I don't know. The last few relationships I have had were with women I'd been friends with beforehand, so you might say that the timeline played out a lot slower in those cases. Earlier this summer, I dated a woman for about six weeks and we were quite open with each other about our views about sexual intimacy, but also chose to wait. And when I decided that I felt the connection we had was more friendship than intimate partners, she agreed, and was glad that we hadn't had sex. As was I.

3. Conversations about boundaries and preferences. Emily Moss, the author of the post, points out that early on, it's really difficult for people to have honest, open conservations about their sexual boundaries and/or preferences. Of course, some people don't really have a good idea about any of this stuff, and simply plod along sexually. However, for many of us, it's more about having enough trust established to expose ourselves in such a way. That trust simply isn't there when you start out. You might feel something like trust right from the beginning, but deep-level trust takes time to develop.

4. Don't want to deal with potential "messes." The one time I truly slept with a stranger, a woman I met online about three years ago, the few days after were filled with "now what?" and "why did I do that?" kinds of questions. The reality was that I had been single several months, and she was enjoying "being casual." But I really didn't want a relationship with her, nor was I even sure I wanted to hang out with her again. And I worried she wanted more, even if that more was just someone casual or short term.

After a few days, I wrote her and said I had a good time, but didn't think we were a good match. Maybe she was just fine with it, but I felt like a slug. And that situation was a great reminder to me that I'm not built for casual sex, nor casual relationships.

What are your thoughts about first date sex? Have they changed as you have gotten older?


Allegory of Lust
Agnolo Bronzino
Oil on panel, 146.5 x 116.8 cm
London, National Gallery


  1. Obviously, I'm fine with it. Sometimes I just want to have sex with this person. I don't need to, but I the only reasons I have for *not* doing it if we both want to (key point, of course) are those that aren't mine (being judged by others, etc). So... if tempted and opportunity arises, I go with it.

    Sometimes it's worked out, sometimes it's freaked the dude out. Weird, but only because we're told over and over again that all guys want is sex.

    The thing is, as you point out, it should be up to each person when they're comfortable to have sex in *each* situation. No one else should judge that - as long as you are safe and have enthusiastic consent. Period.

    Of course, not always possible, for guys or gals, in our society. Girls are slutty and "gave it up to easy" and dudes are douchebags who just want sex (hence, you felt like a slug). And all else is forgotten. And that, if you ask me, is lame.

  2. "No one else should judge that - as long as you are safe and have enthusiastic consent. Period."

    I think it's judgment in both directions that causes so much trouble. The peer pressure to be sexually active that some get, as well as the negative, sometimes puritanical feedback others receive.

  3. There was another reason not listed above- we do it because we want to.

    I think once I got past my early 20's while in college, I stopped caring about the stigmas associated with first date sex and rolled with it.

    Sure, that crappy double standard where the woman is the whore is she does it too soon and the man is THE man if he can get it so soon.

    I am a very sexual person and for any of the first time sexscapades I've had (don't judge, there have probably only been 3 or 4), our conversations before the date usually led up to the actual act or at least set the tone.

    This type of behavior/action is tricky and not recommended for the faint of heart or those who are unable to separate sexually-charged moments from real feelings.

    Many women aren't able to take it for what it is and while I'm certainly not saying everyone should be okay to being intimate so soon, it works and meets the needs of those like me!

  4. "This type of behavior/action is tricky and not recommended for the faint of heart or those who are unable to separate sexually-charged moments from real feelings." I agree.

    And I don't rule out early intimacy completely while dating. It's more that I'm more careful with it than in the past, knowing what can happen.

  5. I'm not a prude and do not judge anyone who has sex on a first date. Personally, I have no problem with it. However, my fear of not hearing from a man that I genuinely want to explore the possibilities of a relationship with holds me back. It's been my experience that sex on the first date usually results in never hearing from that man again (no matter how great it was).

    I could probably go on and on about my other opinions: I do think it sucks that men can own the fact that they like sex, but it seems to be a no-no for women. Why?

    Finding out if there is chemistry that quickly? I don't know. This happened to me a couple of weeks ago and I can't help but wonder if we had waited, if it would've been better after spending more time together and that I might still be hearing from the guy.

    Preferences - I agree with everything here. I want to be able to express what I want without fear. I want the man to feel the same. I hold back out of fear if there is "first date sex" - going back to the fear of not hearing from him again.

  6. "It's been my experience that sex on the first date usually results in never hearing from that man again (no matter how great it was)." I have heard this one a lot. Although others - men and women - say things to suggest otherwise. So, it's probably in the middle somewhere.

    For myself, I can't recall a first date where after a few hours with someone, I felt so open that I was ready to jump into bed with her. In the example above, I actually was afraid the whole time. Because I didn't know her, and didn't even know if I wanted to see her again.

    But I let lust run over those fears. And that's often what I think happens. They let their fears get over-ridden, and then wake up the next morning going "Oh, shit. Now what?"

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