I am so glad to hear you say that there is no rule to whether you have sex or not on a first date. I have not gone that far on a first date yet but I tend to do other sexual things. I do let them lead and it is always a mutual decision. Afterward, the switch goes off in them and I get ghosted. I don’t know where the disconnect happens. I’m afraid I come on too strong because I ask where they think this might go and I am afraid that freaks them out. What are your suggestions to not get ghosted on the first date after they seem completely into you?
Nichoal E – Chicago, IL
I know a woman who, on her first date with a guy, had sex with him in a moving vehicle that neither one of them were driving. Those two crazy kids have been happily married for the past 20+ years, and they’re one of my favorite couples. I’ve talked to people who had sex on the first date with their future spouse in a bathroom bar, in a sex dungeon, and in a strip club (she was at a bachelorette party—she took him home and gave him a private lap dance for free). Now, I’m not saying that these are fool-proof, awesome strategies to adopt or the path to finding lasting, happy love. What I am saying is it happens.
We’re always focusing on the “right” way to land that perfect relationship, but there’s just no right way. We love to employ rules: The 3-date Rule, the 30-Day Rule, the 90-Day Rule, the Six-Month rule…enough with the rules already!
What’s not working here isn’t the time we wait (or not). It’s the strategy, the rules, and the games.
It doesn’t work when we link “Where is this going” directly to our sexuality and sex drive right away.
You are experiencing the natural fallout from linking the two. The problem isn’t the when of the sexy times. The problem you’re having is needing commitment or buy-in for a future together to accompany (or in exchange for) sex and/or fooling around.
This does not make you a bad person! This makes you a normal woman. It’s one of the biggest things that gets in the way of a promising connection, and it’s also one of the hardest parts of dating. You need a commitment, or at least to know where “this” is going to feel secure enough to be vulnerable with sex. Guys don’t need that same level of assurance for sex, and they often need sex in order to commit. It’s tricky AF.
Also, most people need sex, but not all people need or want a relationship. There are people who date for sex and sex alone, but it’s pretty unpopular to say, “I’d like to date you so I can tap that and be on my way” so they don’t put that out there in their online profile, in an email thread, or be forthright about it when you start flirting in the produce isle at your local Whole Foods. So, how can you tell?
Here’s my hot tip for you: Hang out with this new stranger. Do this for a series of dates. Get to know each other. See how he presents himself, how he shows up. Learn what his hopes, dreams, and goals are. See him put actions to the words he uses when he’s drawing a picture of his life for you. See if he’s including you in it. Pay attention to his stories; how does he handle conflict? How does he solve problems? Is he generous and kind to the people he cares about? Guys do this. They hang out with us to see if things between us add up (kinda like doing a 1,000-piece puzzle, are all the pieces here and does everything fit?) One thing that makes them bail early is—you guessed it—the pressure of “where is this going?”
It would be like if the two of you were working on that 1,000-piece puzzle together, with only seven blue sky edge pieces in place and you turn to him and ask, “Why isn’t this done yet?”
Have hanging out be the point. Don’t tie sex to the commitment question.
Now…did I just tell you not to have sex? Nope. Did I tell you when you can have sex? Nah. You can use your own best judgment to be physically affectionate as soon or as late as you’d like. But only give the affection you’re willing to give freely and without any expectation of a future. If you can’t do that? If you’re looking for a trade or an investment, you’ve missed the point, and will most likely be disappointed.
I’m not a fan of “where is this going?” Sure, we all want to know. But here’s the thing: total strangers can’t know where anything is going with each other. You be can hopeful. Your excitement may encourage you to exclaim, “Finally! Here you are! Forever!” but that’s just the blinding effects of dopamine and oxytocin doing their thing. Chemistry makes you both high. Don’t expect a reliable answer to the question “where is this going?” from someone who’s super high.
Give it time, read the situation as it evolves, have sex when you feel it’s right, and good luck out there!