A year ago, almost to the day I was sharing a glass of wine with one of my trusted girlfriends and freaking out about my love life. Two nights before, I’d hooked up with this guy I really, really liked (we’d been crushing on each other for months) on what was technically our first real date. It had been 48 hours and he had yet to call.
“Do you think I sent the wrong message by hooking up with him?” I asked my friend.
“If by ‘message’ you mean that you’re a smart, independent woman that’s super attracted to him and in charge of her sex life, then yes,” she replied, adding, “I wouldn’t worry about it.”
She managed to temporarily quell my anxieties, but by the time I got home that night, I was right back to wondering whether I’d messed up a potential relationship before it had even begun.
As young women, we’re taught that sleeping with someone on the first date is a huge no-no if you’re looking to be taken seriously and establish a relationship with someone of the opposite sex (insert: “why pay for the cow when the milk is free” quote.) Looking back on this situation, I’m angry – both at myself and at society in general. Why was I blaming myself for this man’s inability to text within an appropriate amount of time? That was on him, not me, and he may have done the same thing even if we hadn’t gotten naked so soon.
Unfortunately though, even in 2017, the idea that you can ruin your chances at a relationship by hooking up too soon persists, despite statistics suggesting otherwise.
According to the 2017 Singles in America study done by Match, men are three times more likely to use a one-night stand to start a relationship.
In 2016, this same study showed that 25 percent of them have turned a one-night stand into something more serious and long-lasting. So, why are we still worried about this?
If you’ve hooked up with someone on a first date or are considering it, here are a few things to consider.
Lots of couples start out this way.
While I know lots of happy couples that got their start through a traditional path (boy meets girl, boy and girl date, boy and girl have sex and stay together), I also know plenty of couples who started off as hook-ups that turned into something much more when they realized they were compatible in other ways outside of the sack. This is all to say that it entirely depends on the two people involved and where they’re at.
That level of intimacy isn’t for everyone.
Real talk: hooking up with someone you like and then having them ghost on you feels really crappy. So, while sleeping with someone on the first date doesn’t necessarily disqualify a relationship, if you’re the kind of person that tends to get really emotionally attached to the people you get naked with, it might be wise to wait to sleep with someone until you’ve had a chance to get to know them and see if a serious relationship is even something they want.
Guys are mostly OK with it.
To add to the stats above, in a 2013 study conducted by Cosmopolitan, in which they polled 1,000 18- to 35-year-olds, a stunning 83 percent of women believed that having sex on the first date would make men lose respect for them. However, when they surveyed men, they found that 67 percent of dudes said they “absolutely don’t think less of a woman who has sex on a first date.”
So, once again the odds are in your favor. Plus, any guy who is automatically going to dismiss you as a worthy long term partner just because you got jiggy with it on date one is sexist and isn’t worth your time anyway.
There’s no guarantee that any date is going to turn into a relationship.
In the case of the man I mentioned above, he did eventually text and we ended up dating for five months. Eventually things ended between us – not because I slept with him on the first date, but because he seemed to have issues with commitment and communication in general (his long delays in between texts never improved, even after we started seeing each other). At the end of the day, even if I had waited longer to sleep with him, the relationship still would have ended the same way.
On the other hand, hooking up with someone right away has helped me realize that, sometimes, I don’t want to have a second date. If the chemistry isn’t there from the get-go, I know to cut my loses, saving me time and mental anguish in the long run.
There’s really no right answer here. You have to listen to yourself and decide what’s right for you and your dating life.
“It can be difficult to create trust with someone you don’t know very well, but that’s why as women we need to trust ourselves,” says Dr. Nikki Goldstein, author of Single But Dating: a field guide to dating in the digital age. Regardless of the number of dates, she urges singles to “only do sexually what you consent to do without force or intimidation….Practicing consent is all about trusting your instincts, as you should never do something you’re not comfortable with.”
Whether that involves hooking up on the first or fourteenth date, you’re in the driver seat and whatever decision you make is OK.