Wise Guys: Is Sex on a First Date a Relationship Killer?

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Advice from three of EM & LO‘s guy friends. This week a straight woman asks, “Does sleeping with a guy on a first date really ruin my chances for a future relationship with him? What if it’s obvious we really like each other, the chemistry’s great, we have a lot in common, and we’re both horny?”

Gay Single Guy (Daniel): Thinking that putting out on the first date will kill off any romantic possibilities is pandering to an old skool way of thinking about sex and love: that the guy must court, wait a gazillion years while the woman’s heart oh so steadily burns and yearns and he tries to satisfy himself on a nightly basis, Onan-style, until they are finally wedded before sex can even be in the equation. In the 21st century, sex on the first date could very well just mean that you “have a lot in common and were both horny.” Ask the Wise Guys Your Own Question!Sex doesn’t always complicate, nor is it always a barrier to further emotional intimacy. On the contrary, in fact. Consider all the gay couples around the world who meet each other on a sex date/Internet hook-up/anonymous sex excursion, find that there are other things they like about each other and end up happily part of a pair years later. What really ruins future relationships is being dishonest about your needs and desires. So fuck on the first date if you like! Any guy who would dismiss you for it despite having such a great connection otherwise is too much of a fool to keep on seeing anyway.

Straight Married Guy (Figleaf): I don’t think first-date sex together ruins your chances but it does change them.  You know the critical little “voice in your ear” that says “Hold off: good girls shouldn’t ruin their ‘reputations,'” even when you’d rather not wait?  Men get that too.  Only ours says “Go for it now: losers never get another chance.” Neither “voice” is telling the truth but they can have an effect anyway.  Sometimes when we have sex right away the social pressure those “voices” represent get in the way of everything else we might feel about each other. So for both men and women I think it’s worth it to wait at least for the rest of your feelings catch up. And since when did horny have a shelf-life anyway?  Even waiting a few days (three days, not three dates) gives you both time to talk, a chance to take showers and sleep on it in your own beds, a time to decide what you really want instead of what you think you should do, and… time to get your respective bedrooms tidy and kitchens stocked for intimate guests.

Straight Engaged Guy (Mark): I don’t think there are too many absolutes in this crazy game of love, so a first-date romp doesn’t necessarily preclude any future relationship potential.  What is a universal absolute regarding potential relationships is that communication is key (trite as it sounds, it’s so true). Let’s say you and your date are lucky enough to totally “connect” in all the ways mentioned above, and are also comfortable enough to acknowledge to each other how much you are on the same page, even about getting physical right away (and of course, as Em & Lo have taught us, keeping in mind, and also communicating about, all the relevant important safety issues involved!). Well, in a way, you already have some fantastic “They were inseparable (figuratively in this case, heh) from the moment they met!” romantic potential built right in!  So why, then, does the fun have to stop at the bedroom doorway? Now, as we know, it’s not always such an ideal world, with perfect communication right off the bat, so exercising a modicum of restraint (and building up anticipation for the fun after a subsequent date soon to follow) isn’t the worst thing in the world, either. So go with the flow.

Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; our Straight Married Guy is Figleaf, the guy behind RealAdultSex.com; and our Straight Single Guy is Mark Luczak, a tech god at Carnegie Mellon University. To ask the guys your own question, click here.



  1. Ok so assuming sex on the first date happens and it occurs because of stellar chemistry, who does the communication after the first date fall on? It’s it ok for the girl to reach out after a day or two? Or two we follow the three day gender protocol, the guy calls first?

  2. Figleaf’s comments are the best answer I’ve seen to this oft-asked question. Nice one!

  3. In retrospect I realize I forgot one of my big caveats about first-date sex and confirmation bias: most first dates don’t turn into long-term relationships. In fact most don’t even turn into a second date! For that reason if no other, one could get the impression that first-date sex was the reason a particular relationship never went further. That would be a mistake.

    One could even make the case, certainly the “old school” case, that if a man really was only interested in sex, and if he knew it would take a while to “wear down” a prospective date’s resistance/reluctance, then it wouldn’t really matter much at all how long they dated: he’d still disappear when sex finally happened.

    So while I definitely still recommend the three day (not three date) waiting period I don’t think it’s going to make or break the prospects of a relationship working out. It’s more like it’ll help both parties avoid that occasional “what were we thinking” moment. And even if one does slip, having that slightly longer-term goal in mind, I think, also helps keep one focused on immediate-term goals such as “we won’t need a condom just this once.

    But anyway, bottom line, no, while there can be less than desirable consequences of first-date sex, a killed relationship probably isn’t one of them.


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