Sex on the first date has always been taboo, but the reasons are shifting. And it doesn’t have to be a big no-no, a source of shame, or a big decision. Ultimately, it comes down to knowing yourself and where you’re at emotionally and mentally, but of course it’s a nuanced call. That’s why we came to sexologist, licensed clinical social worker, therapist, and relationship expert Shamyra Howard to give us her professional input about sex on the first date.
“First, let’s discuss the definition of dating,” Howard starts—which is nuanced in and of itself. Are you really dating, or are you just looking for a little non-committal fun?
“Dating is a process of data collection that helps one determine if a potential partner can move out of the ‘potential’ stage and into the next stage of the process. These stages differ based on each person’s goal for dating. Some people date casually or for companionship, while others date to connect with an exclusive and/or committed partner. As long as your potential partner understands your goal for dating, you’re on the right track.”
It might feel less-than-sexy, but having that talk right out of the gate could be a major determining factor. Knowing what the other person is expecting (or not expecting) or wanting (or not wanting) can set the tone and set you up to not be let down. If you’re just looking for a fun fling, let your date know! It could be amazing and empowering.
“There used to be a lot of stigmas placed on women who had sex on the first date. Some still exist, but so many women are reclaiming their sexuality by doing what they want to and not what they’re told to do.
If you’re on the fence about whether sex on the first date is for you, the first step is to figure out your why? Why do you want to have sex? Is it your choice or do you feel pressured? If it’s your choice, then go for it!”
Howard points out that many people worry that a potential partner might judge them or lose interest in them if they have sex on the first date. If this is the case, then this might not be the person for you to engage with on an intimate level. She reminds us that sex is about consent, safety, and mutual pleasure. If those factors are present and you’re having sex for your pleasure, then it can be as simple as you want it to be.
“The second step to knowing if sex on the first date is for you is to think about your sexual boundaries. Is not having sex on the first date a boundary for you? If so, think about how important it is to honor your boundaries and make a choice that, after orgasm, you will be happy about!
The third and final step to knowing if sex on the first date is for you is to consider your dating partner. What discussions have you had with them about sex? Based on those discussions, do you think it would be worth it? Do you think the sex would be pleasurable? Yes, it’s okay to talk about sex before the first date! Especially if sex is important to you.”
It’s also important to remember that powerful hormones are released during intimacy of any kind, but especially during sexual intimacy. If you’re not sure if you like this person yet or if they are into you, it may be a good plan to hold off on releasing a huge surge of oxytocin because you may end up feeling chemically connected to someone who isn’t right for you, or vice versa. It’s a complicated misfire that can confuse the path to knowing one another on non-physical plains.
Finally, Howard tells us that “when it comes to being DTF on the first date, you get to make the decision. Because we live in the real world, we understand that things we don’t always plan for—such as sex on the first date—happen! Just make sure that you’re having sex on the first date because you want to, it’s within your sexual boundaries, and your dating partner would make it worth it. Even if you don’t have plans to have sex with a dating partner, it’s always great to be prepared. Never leave home without your barrier methods, condoms, lube, and some wipes, just in case.”