You've made the decision to re-enter the dating world with the goal of finding a meaningful relationship. You've taken the steps to create a profile on a dating app like Hinge, Bumble, or POF, carefully curated your profile, and selected your most flattering photos. You've been swiping and have matched with a few people, one of whom has caught your attention. The conversation is flowing effortlessly, they seem to meet your criteria, and things are clicking. He takes the initiative to ask you out to dinner for Friday, and the date turns out to be everything you had hoped for. At the end of the evening, he invites you back to his place for a drink. You're excited but can't help but wonder, does having sex on the first date have the potential to jeopardize the chance of building a lasting relationship?
Let's have a reality check, shall we?
If you're concerned that having sex on the first date might lead someone to view you less favorably and hinder the possibility of a meaningful relationship, it's time to adjust your perspective. A UK poll revealed that "58% of men and 56% of women had sex on the first night they met their long-term partner" . This statistic is encouraging for those worried that early sexual intimacy could ruin the chances of a potential relationship. It reflects the evolving attitudes toward sex, dating, and relationships.
However, before we celebrate, there's more to consider.
If you're reentering the dating scene, it's crucial to assess the situation. Dating in the modern era is generally more casual, and while the aforementioned statistic is positive, it's essential to analyze the context and delve deeper into the potential connection with your date.
The real question to ask is:
"Does this person genuinely desire a relationship?"
Many individuals express their interest in having a relationship these days, but let's face it - casual sex is convenient, easily accessible (particularly for women), and often free from the complexities of emotions and the responsibilities tied to another person. This is why many people opt for strictly sexual relationships like friends with benefits. A significant portion of the dating pool may not be seeking something long-term. The recent pandemic has left many people feeling drained, and maintaining a relationship requires effort (surprising, isn't it?).
So, what does this mean for those in search of a genuine, enduring relationship?
State your intentions
Take a moment to reflect on your interactions with this potential match. Have you clearly communicated your intentions and what you're seeking? In other words, have you explicitly expressed your desire for a relationship?
Let's break this down for a moment.
During your conversations with a match, the inevitable question arises: "What are you looking for?" (And if they haven't asked, you should.) It's crucial to be forthright about your intentions because this honesty helps filter out individuals who don't share your goals. When you straightforwardly state, "I want a relationship," you're informing your potential match about your desires. You're being direct and open, and there's nothing deceptive about this statement. By being direct, your match will either align with your objective and say, "That's great, I want the same," or they might respond, "That's not what I'm currently seeking." While the latter response can be disappointing, you're saving yourself the trouble of investing time in someone who doesn't have the same relationship goals.
Now, if you want to maintain a playful and casual tone, you might say something like, "I'm open to various possibilities." In this case, you're inadvertently signaling a preference for fun without a commitment. This indicates to the other person that you're not necessarily looking for a committed relationship but are open to more casual interactions. It's important to note that there's absolutely nothing wrong with this approach if it aligns with your desires.
what are they looking for?
When it comes to expressing your intentions, it's equally important to understand their perspective. Take a close look at the words they've used – what are they looking for?
Do they express a desire for a relationship? Or do they use phrases like "open to various possibilities," "keeping it casual," "not sure," or "I'll know it when I see it"? These responses leave room for interpretation.
If your potential partner isn't forthcoming about their intentions, it's a good idea to be clear and set expectations. Some people may have had experiences where they were rejected or blocked for seeking a purely sexual relationship, which might make them hesitant to be open. In such cases, it's essential to take the lead, ask direct questions, and ensure that their words align with their actions. For instance, if someone claims to be open to a relationship but only invites you to "hang out," they might be primarily interested in something more casual and physical rather than a serious relationship.
Now, you might be wondering, "So what's the big deal? Can't a great connection and a good time potentially lead to a relationship, regardless of intentions?"
Don't be so fast.
Having sex on the first date can potentially impact a budding relationship for precisely two fundamental reasons:
The quality of the sexual experience
Let's face it, sex can be amazing, but when it falls short, it can be a real downer. The first date may not provide the comfort and openness needed for effective communication about your desires. If you're hesitant to express your needs, such as requesting a specific pace or technique, it can lead to dissatisfaction. Additionally, differing turn-ons or sexual preferences may emerge before you've had the chance to discuss them. For instance, your partner might have a particular fetish that took you by surprise. There's also the possibility of a sexual style mismatch – they might prefer a slower and gentler approach while you were looking for something more intense. If any of these factors lead to a disappointing sexual encounter, it can influence your willingness to repeat the experience. Since sex is a crucial aspect of a relationship, a negative first experience can be a potential roadblock.
Differing relationship intentions
If one party wasn't initially interested in pursuing a relationship, engaging in sexual activity won't miraculously change their mindset. Even if the sexual chemistry is off the charts, they may still be inclined to maintain a purely physical relationship without transitioning into something more emotionally involved. It's essential to acknowledge that people's intentions and desires vary, and you can't force someone to change their perspective.
The important question is whether having sex on the first date will inevitably undermine the potential for a lasting relationship.
It's crucial to emphasize that there's no inherent wrongdoing in engaging in sexual activity on a first date or any other time. Consenting adults are free to make choices that suit them. If you're in search of a meaningful relationship, it's entirely acceptable to have some fun and enjoy yourself along the way. While abstinence is a valid choice for those who wish to reserve intimacy for a long-term partner, it's also healthy to explore a casual sexual outlet while dating.
Perhaps you meet someone with whom you share a strong connection but don't envision a future together for various reasons. In such cases, there's no harm in enjoying the present moment. There are no strict rules that prevent you from pursuing a relationship with the future in mind while also experiencing sexual fulfillment with another partner.
However, it's crucial to prioritize safety. Take responsible steps to protect yourself and your partner. Regular testing, condom use, and open communication with other partners about your relationships and intentions are essential practices.
when all is said and done
Ultimately, the decision of who you engage in sexual activity with and the timing of those encounters is entirely up to you. The dating world has evolved past the point of harsh judgment for engaging in sexual activity on the first date.
Keep in mind:
If your goal is to establish a meaningful relationship, it's crucial to understand the other person's intentions and clearly communicate your own to ensure everyone is in agreement.
If both you and your potential partner are interested in building a relationship, having sex on the first date is unlikely to sabotage it. However, the quality of the sexual experience is a significant factor to consider.
Wishing you all the best in your dating journey!