About a year ago, I had a first date with a guy I’d met on OKCupid. We chatted, ordered some nachos and discovered we were both itching to scratch the same kink. Forty-five minutes later, we were back at my place acting out said kink in a very pleasurable manner in my living room.
Recently out of a serious relationship, I told him I didn’t want anything serious and so, for the next six months, we became friends with benefits. And, I acted like a crazy lady – breaking it off, then begging to get back together, then breaking it off again, then telling him I loved him, then finally breaking it off for good.
For me, our relationship was a roller coaster of emotions: It was too intense! It was awesome! It was keeping me from getting over my ex! It was everything I ever wanted! It was distracting! It was LOVE!!!
For him, it was semi-regular sex with a hot chick.
Men are pretty good at separating their feelings from their genitalia.
Women, not so much.
Looking back after it ended, I realized I’ve always had difficulties distinguishing lust from love.
Scientifically, this isn’t surprising. The initial stages of both are marked by spikes in the brain’s pleasure hormones, the effects of which have been likened to being on cocaine. In both sexes, these changes in neurochemistry impede our ability to think critically. And, face it, both love and lust feel sooooo good!
But the act of sex itself affects men and women differently.
Ladies, this is what happens when you cum: oxytocin, the same hormone that bonds mothers with babies, surges through your brain, its effects amplified by a similar surge of estrogen. When the wave crests, you look at the person who just gave you this incredible orgasm and think “I feel so close to him! I want to feel this way forever! Let’s snuggle!”
Men, this is what happens when you cum: oxytocin surges through your brain, its effect diminished by a massive spike and subsequent drop in testosterone, followed by the release of other hormones which combined produce a narcoleptic effect. When the wave crests, you look at the person who just gave you this incredible orgasm and think, “Please, don’t make me talk. I really just want to… zzzzzzzz.”
No matter how independent you say you are, if you’re female and think repeated great sex isn’t going to instinctively make you want to bond with the person you are doing it with, you’re wrong. For women sex with no-strings-attached goes against basic biology.
All of which would seem like an argument against sex on a first date.
I mean, if a few hot rolls in the hay made me think I was in love with someone I might not have seen a future with otherwise – and I consider myself fairly comfortable with casual sex – what would happen to someone who generally needs more time to get to know a person first?
Many dating experts caution against sex on the first date claiming:
- It it opens you up to rejection and prevents a guy from emotionally bonding with you.
- If you’re too easy, men won’t value you as much.
- Women need to have an emotional connection for the sex to be any good for them so it’s better for them to wait.
To these experts, I say bullshit.
I’ve had sex on first dates where the men wanted to see me again and again and, in several cases, ended up falling in love with me. I’ve also had sex with men that I didn’t care to ever see again (either because it wasn’t that good or because it was clearly a one-night thing on both parts). And I’ve had mind-blowing (safe) sex with virtual strangers with no regrets.
I have a fairly high libido. I think about sex a lot.
I love the company of men and when I have sex, I enjoy it. I’ve always been this way. I don’t have sex with everyone I date, but I also don’t deliberately put it off to play games to get a guy to like me.
It pisses me off when dating “experts” paint all women as demure, husband-chasing creatures that need six month-long courtships and hours upon hours of foreplay before they feel comfortable enough to let a guy get to second base. That certainly doesn’t describe me.
But, I am a woman. As much as I wish I could be like a man and have sex with zero emotional connection before and after, I’m simply not built that way. And this is why when it comes to deciding when to have sex with a new person, there are no hard and fast rules.
Instead, I recommend everyone, regardless of gender, ask the following questions:
- Does it feel right for me?
- If so, can I handle all potential consequences of having sex with this person at this point, including the possibility that:
- It may suck and I won’t want to see him/her again.
- It may be amazing and my “love hormones” may temporarily blind my judgement (or, for the men, her love hormones may make her feel attached to me).
- He or she may want to see me again.
- He or she may not want to see me again.
(The above, of course, assumes you are practicing safe sex and using a condom. If either of you is against it, run as far as you can because the possible consequences of that are so not worth it, no matter how delicious it feels in the moment.)
In my younger years, I sometimes stuck with guys who were clearly not that good for me because the sex was so amazing I became attached to them as a result of it. Last year’s emotional yo-yo with my FWB was the final straw. Now that I’ve recognized the chemical imbalance between the sexes, I am a wiser woman.
A few days ago, I had sex for the third time with a guy I’ve been on five dates with. We’d just spent a lovely day exploring a museum, savouring a good meal and enjoying an interesting discussion. I was feeling closer to him than I had ever before and, lying in his arms after capping a great day with a great lay, I looked admiringly at him and thought “I love you.”
And then I stopped myself.
It’s way too early to go there. Yes, I am fond of him but love? Love, I’ve learned, is something more than cozy post-coital feelings… and it’s more than wanting to do it again the next day and the day after that. If my friend and I are meant for love, it will show up elsewhere in our relationship. If not, c’est la vie.
And so, instead of saying “I love you,” I said “I love this feeling.” In response, he snored gently. And, for the moment, all was right in our worlds.