First-date sexcapades: what’s socially acceptable?
Having sex on the first date is a polarizing experience. Hit Google with a single search, and you’ll find the answer isn’t a simple one—some relationship experts are all for it, while other sex-on-the-first-date-have-beens couldn’t be more condemning of the idea.
As a haver-of-both raised in a liberal environment, sex on the first date wasn’t so much taboo for me as it was like tasting a new soda flavor. Was it for me? Would it become a staple in my dating environment? My body told me one thing. Society told me another.
So, we asked first-daters the all-around loaded question—is sex on the first date a must or bust?
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Signs point to yay!
In today’s sex-positive social environment, diving straight under the covers after dinner and a few cocktails isn’t what most people would describe as “scandalous” anymore. Instead, it’s a taste test of sorts.
According to an OkCupid survey in 2017, 46% of users would consider sex on the first date, thanks to relaxed attitudes toward the subject and the natural shift to “sexual wokeness.” Without religious stigmas and conservative parents breathing down my neck, my desire to consider sex on the first date was about establishing sexual chemistry.
A generous 80% of my relationships involved sex on the first date (with varying outcomes), much like 31-year-old medical student Dana’s dating history. “I wouldn’t say I needed to have sex on the first date every time, but it certainly was a preference,” Dana told us. “I want to know what I can expect in a potential relationship. I don’t feel the need to wait. Sex is ‘special’ when it’s compatible.”
“Plus, it says a lot about how someone responds to you. If they know you’re into it, do they keep going? If they know you’re not into it, do they stop? Do they ask you what you prefer? Do they know how to keep you comfortable?”
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Sure, one date isn’t going to tell you how stable and reliable a person is, but it can tell you more about one’s communication ethic. Whether they want to see you again after the fact also speaks a thousand words.
“Asking for a second date after a perfect night is a spectacular feeling. But in what context they want to see you again can tell you where that relationship is going. If they want to skip dinner and drinks to head straight to the sack, they probably value you more as a physical connection, which isn’t a bad thing, if that’s what you want.”
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Sometimes, signs point to nay
Despite dismantling personal biases against sex on the first date, many believe the act “dooms” potential relationships and condemns women, particularly, to “non-marriage material” status.
While 27-year-old copywriter Jer’s sex-on-the-first date experience was “a great one,” he admits that “it was with someone who told me he wasn’t looking for a relationship.” When asked about his personal dating rules, Jer said, “If I really like someone, no sex until the third date!”
The third-date rule isn’t an uncommon one. “Comfort isn’t always instant,” 24-year-old business graduate Bella told us. “I’m a fresh grad. I should probably be having tons of first-date sex, but that just isn’t me. I don’t want to give myself the opportunity to lead people on potentially. I don’t want to put myself in an uncomfortable position, no pun intended.”
Like Bella, Jer has his reasons for avoiding sex on the first date. “I’ve been with a guy who asked me out, and after sleeping with me on the first date he just stopped replying. I really liked him and was kinda crushed, so sex on the first date—it’s just something I’ve stopped doing.”
To add to the no-sex pot, Jer iterates on the possible repercussions of sex on the first date. “Getting ghosted. Pregnancy.”
“You’d be surprised at the number of people who get pregnant having sex on the first date,” Dana said. “STIs, too. I don’t care that condoms aren’t fun for you. I don’t want any of that! Still, it doesn’t really deter me—you just have to be smart about it. Stay protected!”
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The Aftermath—Awkward or Amazing?
Some first-date sexcapades are terrible. Others lead to long-lasting relationships. Ultimately, the decision to have first-date sex is up to you, not outdated societal norms and peer pressure.
“Even though I’m not a sex-on-the-first date person, I do feel that people are too judgmental about it,” Bella said. “It’s your body. It’s up to you.”
“Society is too hard on women. If you have sex on the first date, you’re putting out. If you wait too long, you’re a prude. It’s a disgusting double standard that enables misogyny. No one should have to dictate what is right for you. Honor your standards, not anyone else’s.” Yes, Dana. Preach.
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The Bottom Line
Whether the first date, third date or 15th, having sex is a decision no one else can make but you (and your partner, consensually). Be honest with yourself. The only expectations you’re meeting are your own!
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Words Zoe Isabela Alcazaren