Sex on a First Date? We’re Glad You Asked.

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

As I surveyed real friends, Facebook friends, Twitter friends, and total strangers about having sex on the first date, the unfortunate cow comparison came up no fewer than five times in my first twelve interviews. Everybody complained about it, bemoaning the lack of nuance, the icky imagery, and the overt transactional implications. And yet, it kept rearing it’s ugly little antiquated head. Are there kernels of truth buried there? Is first-date sex a relationship nonstarter? Are we, as we often claim to be, past the era of plastering A’s on each other’s chests?


“There’s a lot of pressure on women to control the pace of the relationship,” said 24-year-old Jess, “and not ‘give away the milk for free.’” Ugh, there it is again. “But let’s face it,” she added, “we have hormones and sex drives us, just like males out there.  Our generation is in conflict with this idea of restraining from sex to keep a guy interested. It seems to encourage us to find ‘randos’ at a bar to satisfy our urges, so we can be prim and proper in front of the men we actually want to be having sex with.”

It sounds preposterous, but it does make a certain sort of convoluted sense. In front of people whose opinions matter, like potential “relationship material,” we don’t want to seem promiscuous. Imagine you went on 10 first dates, and nine ended with chaste goodbyes. But on the 10th, things click into place, the mood is good, the vibe is there, and you really, really want to get it on. You hesitate, because this person across the table doesn’t know that the last nine got pecks on the cheek or ass-out hugs. He or she thinks that the freaky-deaky version of yourself you just unleashed is your usual M.O.  Now you’re that girl, or that guy, the one who puts out “too soon.”

And that’s where the expectation game becomes a big soupy mess of missed signals, false assumptions, and dashed hopes. Rachel is 36, “I’ve definitely gotten into a couple of accidental relationships when someone followed up on what I thought of as a hookup.” Laura, in her forties, added, “The only thing first-date sex triggers is anxiety. If I’m not interested in next steps, I wonder how to extricate myself if he wants to see me again. If I’m hoping for a relationship, I worry that I’ve given the wrong impression, and he’ll think I’m a slut.” How many first-date, post-coital conversations begin with, “I swear, I never do that.”

“The only thing first-date sex triggers is anxiety. If I’m not interested in next steps, I wonder how to extricate myself if he wants to see me again. If I’m hoping for a relationship, I worry that I’ve given the wrong impression, and he’ll think I’m a slut.”

But of course, for a whole host of reasons, sometimes we do. Harry, a married forty-something, calls sex “part and parcel of the decision making process about whether this person is a keeper or not. Do we have chemistry together? How do our bodies connect?” In fact, he slept with his wife on the very first date, “I think it’s a myth that getting naked too soon means trouble.” For some people, testing sexual compatibility early makes perfect sense. They want to know if there’s that initial physical spark before investing time into the growth and evolution of the relationship.

The reasons not to have sex right away are many and eminently practical. The less time you’ve spent with someone, the less likely you are to know his or her sexual history. Maybe you haven’t yet had (very necessary) discussions about STIs and protection. Medical risks aside, new partners should mean new conversations about boundaries and preferences, conversations most people aren’t comfortable having right off the bat. Leanne is a twenty-something New Yorker in a relationship. “Before I sleep with someone, I want to make sure I trust them to treat me respectfully, and that I trust myself to be assertive enough to make clear what I do and do not want.” Articulating desire is hard enough with people you know well, throw in the pressure-heavy mind games of first dates, and it seems damn near impossible.

Even if the stars align in your favor, and you and your date are both down for a good time, you might hold off. You might not want to risk whatever nugget of potential you two have by jumping into the sack. You might decide, like 22-year-old Cara, that waiting would serve you both well. “I might delay it to develop the initial bond further…. When we have sex, it can be an activity to truly add strength and another dimension to our already complex connection.” Or, no matter how badly you want to go for it, the mere possibility of a “slut” label, spoken or unsaid, just isn’t worth it.

And even those of us who do, from time to time, put out on a first date know that locker room one-upmanship and girl talk over brunch aren’t figments of our imagination. People do gossip, and they do judge. The question is, do we care?

Tom, 40, was shocked when he heard how horribly men speak of women they just hooked up with. Though perhaps times are changing; according to Colin, 24, “Out of the majority of my friends, frat brothers included, there’s very little slut-shaming. If she’s down, then odds are I’m down too.”


This survey was full of surprises. I posted the link on Facebook with the headline “First Date Sex?” and the first comment I got was from my 30-year-old married cousin, with whom I agree on just about every political and social front. Her comment? “Ew…just…ew.” I was shocked; her blanket statement was so far from my own heavily-caveated, wishy washy, “if”-dominated multi-paragraph treatise on personal decision-making. How did we two, of such similar minds, arrive at such different answers?

My point is this: playing the assumption game regarding first-date sex will get you nowhere. To some, it is a clear indication that the only place this thing is going is to bed, so you might as well take it there. It means, “there’s no future here, but I’m into it, you’re into it, so let’s have some fun.” To others, it’s a sign that you want something more, a nonverbal way of saying “I really, really like you.” Harry called it a “diagnostic tool” in weighing potential.  Amelia, 23, left my favorite comment of all, “It’s always a risk letting someone be that intimate with you for the first time, so I feel like it almost doesn’t even matter if it happens on our first date or the tenth.” She’s right, it is a risk, but it’s one we each have to weigh for ourselves. At the bare minimum, you can’t think ill of your date if he or she slept with you right away; after all, you did the very same thing.

—Photo publicenergy/Flickr

About Emily Heist Moss

Emily Heist Moss is a New Englander in love with Chicago, where she works at a tech start-up. She's a serious reader and a semi-pro TV buff. She writes about gender, media, and politics at her blog, Rosie Says. (Follow her: @rosiesaysblog, find Rosie Says on Facebook). 


  1. Jennifer Griffithe says:

    One sentence leaped out at me, because it’s so something:
    “The only thing first-date sex triggers is anxiety.” Okay. My love and I met, in a bar, he took me to his home, and we got it going. First date, more like first look sex. It was also love at first sight, and I kind of think that the ring on my finger from my husband shows that we were right for each other, why wait.

  2. Ok, so we all have to decide for ourselves. How do we go about making an informed decision? Are there any research studies on emotional and physiological benefits/consequences? Are there any “sages” err can go to for wisdom (rather than just let the blind lead the blind)? And how about long term effects? How does current behavior assist/hinder my ability to fully engage on all levels (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual) when I finally meet “the one”?

  3. Ross Simons says:

    This was a fantastic read, so thank you for posting it!

    I understand that some people would be concerned with having sex on the first date, and how that might affect the other person’s impression of them. I’ve definitely encountered the “I promise I never do this type of thing” statement.

    And you know, there probably IS some partial grounding in reality. There probably have been experiences where two people were very attracted to each other, had sex on the first date, and things didn’t really progress beyond that. And from that experience, it’s easy to conclude “sex on the first date = ruined relationship potential”.

    But, I think if you dig deeper, you’ll see that people are conflating the cause and effect.

    The grander question, when assessing relationship potential, is not if you had sex on the first date, but what preceded that. Did you have a truly phenomenal date, everything you could have asked for, with a person that you have a fantastic connection with? Well if you have sex, in this instance, then it likely won’t ruin relationship potential. But if the word “date” is really being used as a glorification of “hookup” (i.e. you may go out to dinner first to tick all the boxes, but you’re really getting together to have sex), then the relationship probably will fizzle. You mostly skipped right to the sex without taking the time to build the connection in other ways.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am going to say something that might make me sound seriously creepy. I don’t entirely trust me. I have complex and mixed motives. I do stupid stuff. I make mistakes. I say one thing and do something else. I try and treat people one way and I end up treating them a different way. In other words I’m pretty messed up, but I also think I’m pretty normal.

    Now I know me fairly well, and I know that stuff about me. If I meet someone for the first time and they decide I’m safe enough to have sex with, can I really trust their good judgement? Heck, I wouldn’t sleep with me until I’d got to know me pretty well and knew I could trust me. But hey, I’ve confessed I’m weird so feel free to make your own choice about who you want to sleep with. Statistically it’s not going to be me so why should it bother me? I’ll still think no one has the right to judge you as a person based on your behaviour, whatever you do, and I think all human beings are a amazing, so that won’t change.

  5. Oddly I am not even sure I would date someone tell we had sex first.

  6. This was an interesting read. I’ve never given it much thought. I’ve had sex on the first date twice and they both turned into long-term relationships. If it works for you, by all means. I’m not one to judge whether you do or don’t.

  7. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
    Why buy the whole pig when all you want is some sausage?

    If someone wanted to have sex on the first date, great. If no sex for a while that was fine too. I never passed judgement either way

  8. Well, I wish I had done it. Sexual compatibility does matter and it should be verified before going too far, emotionally speaking. Trust me. So, if the guy thinks you’re a hookup, it’s his problem not yours, so move on to the next guy, the one who’s a sexual match for you. You don’t want to be stuck with someone who does not match you in that area…

    I would rather be considered a slut, being called that does not make me one (he would be one too, right?), that having to go through what I did again. So, I met this guy and *I* decided to wait, because I saw him as a potential boyfriend. So, we began a relationship. Later, *I* decided to wait some more time so he could have STD’s tests done. The problem is that in those three months I fell in love… I truly became emotionally involved.

    The bad news? The guy has erectile dysfunction, has premature ejaculation and he’s plain bad in the sack. Next thing I learned was that his last relationship had ended in part because of his performance and that he was afraid of losing me so he simply hoped his problems wouldn’t return. Why does it matter so much? Because I consider sex an integral part of a romantic relationship, otherwise it would be called a friendship.

    Being bad in the sack can be improved. People can get better and they do over time. You can teach someone and they can teach you. It is possible. Even premature ejaculation can improve significantly and be eradicated. Well, yes, but with ED things are different. Psychological issues, that are not your fault, prevent some guys from learning at all. Some issues are so rooted that they taint every area of the relationship.

    I felt cheated, guilty, sad, so sad… I went ahead and tried to be supportive (I told you I was in love) and it did not help. My self esteem was bordering next to a cliff. And I understood in my head that it was his problem, not my own, and yet the emotions involved can play tricks on you.

    Long story short, I got out of that relationship way too late, I was brokenhearted, injured in my self esteem, feeling guilty and in deep sorrow. Not to mention all our mutual friends and his family think *I* broke his heart.

    So, yes, maybe sex on the first date is not your thing, but if I can share my hard-earned wisdom with anyone, please don’t fall in love either (if you can help it) before testing sexual compatibility. BEWARE. You may get lucky and be compatible, or you can get to live my sad story.

    • each to his own says:

      I completely agree. Sex is not the only important in a relationship, but it is one of many important facets of being with someone. I have had first-date sex, and I have waited quite some time, and have dated men in both categories. In both situations, time & shared experience dictated whether or not we were made for each other and for how long (one night vs. months/years vs a lifetime). I’m not married yet, but I know I need someone who enjoys sex as much as I do, and is compatible with me in their love making style. For that reason, it’s an important thing to test out for me before jumping in with my heart. First date if the chemistry’s there, later on if the chemistry takes a while to build. But I can usually tell if I’m interested in someone straight away, and if so, it’s worth a test drive to me!

  9. “At the bare minimum, you can’t think ill of your date if he or she slept with you right away; after all, you did the very same thing.”

    Thank YOU! The number of time I’ve heard “she/you slept with him too quickly” as a reason for a relationship failure is ridiculous. It’s that double standard – I might have slept with you too quickly but what, I did it all by myself and you had no say in the matter?

  10. I think this is one of those things that is basically a bad idea. You don’t know the person well enough to trust them the way you need to before having sex. That should apply to guys, too – you don’t want to end up getting an STD or making a baby, etc.

    As for finding out if you’re sexually compatible, it’s not like dating a few times is going to use up all the time you have left in life. Anyhow, you can probably tell if there’s chemistry just by how you feel, but a kiss would work without sleeping together. In fact, you might rush things and have terrible sex because you don’t know/trust each other and do better if you’d waited.

  11. What a refreshing article! I say do whatever works for you, as long as you can look yourself in the mirror the next day and own it.

  12. Thnks, for everyone and i am use this information as single men for find a sex partner and this different type of topic is very helping me ….

  13. The chase can be so fun. I’ve generally held longer relationships with guys when we waited because the anticipation becomes so intense. It’s easier to get bored earlier or caught up in just the hook-ups when sex happens immediately. That being said, it’s not a dealbreaker either. My current long term, live in partner and I had drunken sex very early, before we even dated, and things are still hot after years. (No, being drunk does not take away consent, there’s a difference between being passed out and raped and having a healthy, or even sloppy, buzz and sexing it up). It’s too situation dependent to really analyze properly. This cow thing is tired. Just stop. I’m sick of metaphors that compare women to animals or inanimate objects. People do this constantly when talking about SlutWalks. Why is that?

  14. Fastest way to find out if HE is looking to play or looking for an actual relationship: HOLD OFF ON SEX. Period. If the man is willing to be PATIENT in that department, then has run the race and is now looking for something a bit deeper than a hot night of sexual healing. Women truly control the whole process. Men are built to breed every 10 min, women 2 to 3 times a month. Biologically speaking, women have more patience in that department, since they are built differently. However, if that pleasant garden is given up too quickly for whatever reason, the man might feel the hunt is over or change his perception of the lady from potential MRS to HOOK-UP. It might not, and you all could get married. There are never absolutes in this world. But still, making him hold off on sex until a commitment is had is a sure fire way to find a relationship ready man. And lets be real, you can definitely tell if the two of you are going to have amazing sex without intercourse.

    • Thanks for chiming in, Christian. I’d hesitate to lump men OR women into homogeneous groups regarding how often they are “built to breed.” I think the range in sexual desire among women is huge, as is the range among men. In fact, the differences between individuals are probably great enough to make any sort of “men want this,” “women want this” dichotomy useless.

      • Agreed. But we can’t deny the chemical differences in oxytocin, testosterone, and estrogen, and how they intrinsically alter how each gender perceives and interprets sex. It is why I tell the women I work with to be very careful with whom they invite into their beds. They might think they can handle the casual sex with a guy they fancy, but once that oxytocin starts flowing in their system, it will tell their bodies to latch on to that mate, regardless if he is a complete moron or player. Some women can regulate the biochemical reaction, certainly in the 21st Century where we have seen a complete blur of traditional roles and sexual energies, but for others, it can be quite daunting. Men, too, can go through the whole process as well, but more if the man is a heart centered as compared to head center, which gets into boring pop psychology. However, it is not a bad idea to be aware of how these chemicals work in our systems and how they get our minds to interpret sexual encounters. Patti Stenger’s book opens with a chapter just on oxytocin and how women should prepare themselves for finding a decent guy. The best I think, though, is Dr Pat Allen’s take on the issue. Her book, “Getting to I Do” addresses the issues a 21st Century lady takes on while looking to settle down in a role reversed society.

        • I used to have one-night-stands – I won’t call them first dates because they weren’t really dates. It was a VERY long time ago and that section of my life lasted for about a year until I got very bored with the same-old same-old of new bedmates. I was a student and at the time it was fairly normal behavior back in those days. Only very narrow-minded types thought badly of me as far as I was aware. When I met my husband a number of years later – we slept together on the first day of our relationship – I don’t do ‘dates’. We married five days after that and are still successfully married 21 years on.

          No idea how that works on the “What men want and what women want?” question. I don’t think of other people as men or women – just as whether or not they are people I like and respect.

        • Two words: garbage science.

          The idea that women are more biologically inclined to form monogamous attachments through sex has no evidentiary basis. Period. No serious evolutionary psychologists argue that women in prehistory were not promiscuous, up to and including sexual encounters with strangers (a behavior found in most foraging societies and in our nearest primate ancestors).

          Citing biology to support social norms is fairly typical among people who are looking for reasons to believe the narratives they’ve been fed. It’s a huge impediment to progress in understanding gender. Please don’t be part of the problem.

          • The Blurpo says:

            cant agree more. Speaking of women, but it applyes also to men. Women who are monogamous is mostly because their culture and education have implanted them the idea that multiple partners is bad. Women who are free sexually, have a good time.
            So basically its not a harware issue, but a software. A obsolete software who needs a update 😉

  15. interesting topic, cant even follow the conversation because half the comments are hidden….

    are people really this weak minded nowadays that they allow the opinions of others to determine what is or is not offensive to them????????? pathetic

  16. From what I can see, these comments took some crazy tangents. All I know is, I’m getting ready to head out the door with the guy I slept with prior to even a first date.. 2 years after the fact, we’re going to the bridal shower our friends are giving us. Whether it can or can’t work is totally subjective. A person who accuses their sexual partner of sluttiness after contributing to it isn’t someone to be in a relationship with.

    • Men go to bridal showers now? Yikes! 🙂

    • Anonymous Female says:

      “A person who accuses their sexual partner of sluttiness after contributing to it isn’t someone to be in a relationship with.”

      Great point. It’s like sitting in your car alone in a traffic jam complaining about the traffic. You’re part of the problem!

  17. I understand a woman’s wants to move slow. BUT!!!

    When I was 19 I really liked this one girl who I knew was finishing up college and coming back in a year or so. Every time she came back from college, which was pretty far, we would meet up and talk and make out. We made out a dozen of times, and because she said she didn’t want to be serious because she lived too far, I waited for her. I waited a year. When she finally moved back, she said that she didn’t see me as boyfriend material and that she was just looking to have fun.

    I felt so used.

    Sometimes women who say they really really like you, but only use you to make out with just want to keep you in their orbit.

    • Long distance relationships are usually a mistake. However, it sounds like you are upset because she didn’t want casual sex (and it does sound like a casual relationship), not that she ultimately didn’t want a relationship. It doesn’t sound like she led you on, as she told you she didn’t want to be serious.

  18. “uneducated men in dead-end jobs”

    wow,there are a TON of educated guys in dead-end jobs,and its not for lack of motivation and
    poor work ethic.For some perhapsbut thats a ridiculous statement and further proves that alot
    of women are completely out of touch with the economy.lack of job opportunity and competitive
    nature of alot of jobs.Alot of people bust their asses in their field and never get ahead-smdh.

    oh and by all means do not settle for us unwashed chumps with dead-enders….screw us and the
    horse we rode on.

    • You are misreading what I wrote. My father, the one with the master’s degree in engineering and the successful career, is actually unemployed right now due to layoffs. Our family is currently solely supported by my mother. This is the second time this has happened in our family (the first was in the dot-com bust of the early 2000s). I know full well how the economy works. I wouldn’t indict my own father!

      Obviously, when I talk about men in dead-end jobs, I’m not talking about my father or other educated, hardworking, and ambitious men who got hit by the recession. I am talking about loser men who make excuses for their professional failure and think women owe them sex. I know the difference between those men and the men who are simply experiencing bad luck. You think I should feel pity for all men who can’t get their lives together, but I don’t. Sorry I’m not sorry.

      • S.

        I think that you are being unnecessarily unkind to Rod and young men in general. In todays world men are discriminated against and women on average are coming out on top. Because women practice hypergamy the group of men that are “losers” as you call them, is growing while the group of women that see them as unacceptable partners because of their relative lower social status is also growing. As relationships and sex are basic human needs its pretty understandable that members of this disenfranchised group are being vocal about their situation. Were you sexually marginalised, I’m pretty sure you would be vocal about it too, in fact feminism has been very outspoken about sexually marginalized women for some time now. Thank you for pointing out another sexual double standard.

  19. And by the way, here’s a message for your jerk commenters. Growing up, my parents NEVER taught me that my value was related to my sexuality. My value was ALWAYS correlated to my behavior, my education, and my success in life. I didn’t hear the “cow…milk” saying until my late teens, and I remember telling my mom about how sad it was that some people thought women’s only value was in their virginity. As a direct result of my upbringing, I have made it to age 21 with an Ivy League degree, a high-status job that pays close to six figures, and exactly 1 sex partner in my history (the man I’m dating).

    I am nothing special–throughout my education and work experiences, I have met tons of other women like me. We all got to this level NOT because people lectured us to avoid sex–we got to this level because people raised us to be TOO BUSY with our own success to even CONSIDER having sex with superficial losers. When we do choose to have sex, we can afford to be discriminating in our choices, because we know we deserve it. The men we choose don’t ever speak of women as “sluts”–they respect us, and therefore we respect (and have hot buttered sex with) them. And when my female friends do sleep with guys who turn out to be jerks, it’s not the end of the world. We believe in our own intellectual and economic power–we don’t need to depend on jerks to validate our self-esteem or support us financially. We can brush them off and move on. That probably threatens them, but we couldn’t care less.

    Maybe if more men were feminists like my boyfriend, I would consider having sex with them all the time like I do with him. Until then, the “cow…milk”-subscribing men can stew in their bitterness and chase after women who were never taught that they deserved better.

    • you don’t depend on men to support you from a monetary standpoint ? Does that mean you would date men who have less income then yourself? That flies in the face of feminism,their whole battle cry is ‘don’t settle,were special because were women”….so zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! WOMEN DO NOT MARRY/DATE DOWN PERIOD.@ ive heard this from women’s mouths myself.Women f–k up just as much as men do but you don’t own YOUR f-ups.

      • My boyfriend makes a little less than I do. My mother makes far more than my father and they have been happily married for 25 years. The reason it works is that both my boyfriend and my father have advanced degrees, intellectual personalities, and high career ambitions. Just because my mother and I wouldn’t settle for uneducated men in dead-end jobs doesn’t mean we chase neurosurgeons or millionaires. There are a lot of good, hardworking men in between there.

      • Rod

        22% of married couples have a female breadwinner but

        When it comes to controlling money, there are some disturbing statistics about who controls the money in a marriage. “A recent PEW study of 30-to-44-year-olds showed that when a husband is the primary or sole breadwinner, household spending decisions are divided roughly equally. He makes about a third of them, she makes a third, and they make a third jointly. But, in the 22% of households studied in which the wife earned more, she made more than twice as many decisions as her husband about where the money would go. The more money women earn, the exponentially more money they manage.” (Luscombe, Belinda; “The Rise of the Sheconomy,” Time Magazine, Nov. 22, 2010.

      • You don’t know what you are talking about. I’m an attorney and I make more money than my boyfriend. I personally know several women who have high pay professional jobs while their husbands are stay at home dads, are in school or working part time.

  20. The saying “no one buys the cow if you give the milk away for free” has always deeply disturbed me. It implies that the most valuable thing about a woman is sex, and that is what men are after. It implies that, once a woman “gives away” sex, there is nothing worthy left in her for a man to want to pursue. And it implies that women want men to buy them, and that women have to withhold sex from men in order to convince men to want them. That is just incredibly pathetic.

    That said, there are plenty of men out there who don’t subscribe to stupid beliefs about “sluttiness.” Most of the men I know understand that women are complex people, not property to be bought, or subhumans to be used for sex and then cast off. In the way you have written your article and your subsequent comments, you make it seem as though there are barely any good men out there and most men think women are either prudes or whores. That is just not the case, and Emily, I think you know better! Don’t needlessly depress your readers by presenting men and women this way. You give the vocal minority of jerks way too much power by doing so. How about highlighting stories from men who respect women and who delight in relationships that are both thoughtful and sexy? If you’d like, I can direct you to quite a few such individuals 🙂

  21. VALTREX CITY says:

    Sounds like alot of the female posters here
    are prime candidates for some good ol’ valtrex action !

    Keep on screwin’ on the first date and you’ll eventually get
    that souvenir for life you always wanted and spare us the protetion tripe.
    Learn some restraint and not to be so impulsive and brazzen with sex.

  22. Emily and Erin

    How would you view a man who hid behavior, sexual or otherwise – from you that would otherwise cause you to chose not to sleep with him, or pretended that he was something that hes not in order to coerce him you into sleeping with you?

    If you would have a problem with that happening to you I suggest that you don’t do it others.

    and I submit that modern feminists are not ready yet to competently discuss the double standard in question for a number of reasons including

    Effective gender dialogue cannot be gynocentric
    The tendency towards dismissal of male opinion and feelings eg. valid fear of cuckoldry.
    The double standard of minimizing or denying double standards that benefit women and holding men to one standard and women to another.
    The dismissal of evolutionary psychology and obvious biological double standards from the conversation
    Dismissal of inter-female slut shaming and how that might be contributing

    • What’s a “biological double standard” and how is that different from a non-biological double standard?

      • Mommys baby Daddys maybe is the biological double standard, women don’t have to worry about cuckoldry.

        h tt p://

        • Women don’t have to worry about …

          “HALF of all women would lie to their husbands or partners to keep their relationship going if they became pregnant by another man, a survey said today.

          Figures showed one woman in two would not tell her man that the baby she was carrying was not his – if she wanted to stay with him.

          * The survey questioned 5,000 women, average age 38, across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

          and Emily and Erin have said they have no qualms about lying to men in order to sleep with them.

          So it can be argued that men have valid reasons for vetting female partners and holding them to different standards. Personally I don’t, but I can see why some do.

          • Hi Trevor,

            I think the cuckolding question is one for its own post… clearly there’s a lot to discuss. I have not, at any point, said that I have no qualms about lying in order to sleep with men. Please refrain form inaccurate accusations and stick to commenting on the subject at hand.

            • Rosie

              Fear of cuckoldry is whats behind the double standard and you did say ““It seems to encourage us to find ‘randos’ at a bar to satisfy our urges, so we can be prim and proper in front of the men we actually want to be having sex with.”

              That’s what the men that women call players do,

          • Sorry forgot the source for the survey,

            htt p://

            and you only have to look at recent articles here and on Hugos blog that many women could give a toss about men and children that are victims of paternity fraud.

            • Again, please show me exactly where I said I had no qualms about lying. Hugo speaks for himself, as do I.

              • “It seems to encourage us to find ‘randos’ at a bar to satisfy our urges, so we can be prim and proper in front of the men we actually want to be having sex with.”

                • Actually, that’s a quote from someone else, one of the many surveys and interviews conducted for this piece. I believe i stated that very clearly. You wrote, “and Emily and Erin have said they have no qualms about lying to men in order to sleep with them” which implies that I, personally, have no qualms about this. I’d also like to add that taking home a random person from a bar, whatever you think of that, isn’t “lying.”

                  • Ok, I apologize for that.

                    Talking a random person home isn’t lying, I didnt say it was. If a woman is pretending that she is something she is not in order to sleep with men who are looking specifically for something else as per the quote, they are being dishonest.

  23. wellokaythen says:

    I would say there are different kinds of “first dates.” If you’ve known a person for five years, decide to go out, and have sex on the first date, that’s one thing. If you have a blind date with a total stranger and have sex with the person after an hour of conversation, that’s a totally different first date.

    The conventional wisdom (right or wrong) seems to be that a long-term relationship needs to be based on more than sexual chemistry, and that having sex “too early” makes the relationship much more based on sex and less based on anything else. The question is whether this is good conventional wisdom, like never fight a land war in Asia, or obsolete conventional wisdom, like believing the earth is flat.

    I think a much better analogy than cow-milking is the fire analogy – a big bonfire burns out quickly, but a smoldering, building, slow burn lasts longer and gives you time to get more firewood to keep it going.

  24. “It seems to encourage us to find ‘randos’ at a bar to satisfy our urges, so we can be prim and proper in front of the men we actually want to be having sex with.”

    Don’t some women also put men in that position and have a very poor opinion of men that do that?

    I think we just uncovered another double standard.

  25. WOW! Cory & Brett,yall are REAL men.God bless your
    parents for doing such a wonderul job! Can you say relationship material?

    i can 🙂

  26. “But let’s face it,” she added, “we have hormones and sex drives us, just like males out there. Our generation is in conflict with this idea of restraining from sex to keep a guy interested. It seems to encourage us to find ‘randos’ at a bar to satisfy our urges, so we can be prim and proper in front of the men we actually want to be having sex with.”

    Yeap. That’s true.

    Slut shaming never worked. Women still had sex. Women still will have sex. Because women are sexual creatures too. Now does that mean you shouldn’t use some self control sometimes? Of coures not. I’m all for that in men and women.

    I also think there is some self loathing going on in men that will sleep with a woman on the first date and then shun her for this very act. He’s pretty much shunning himself too isn’t he? He’s not shunning himself for the sex but he is shunning her for having sex with him! And that seems like a touch of self loathing if you ask me.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Your point about self-loathing reminds me of Groucho Marx’s line, how he would never join any club that would have him as a member. It’s like, wow, she’d have sex with ME on a first state, so she must have no standards at all….

  27. I can’t even feel any sexual urges if I don’t have an intense interest in the guy I’m seeing. If we don’t click in personality, we won’t click between the sheets. That’s just how it works for me.

  28. Loved the end of the article 🙂 very nice job Emily!
    I’d agree with this girl Amelia – it’s always a risk. And if there is “something” on the subject at the very first date… then why not?

  29. I don’t think the timing of sex really matters. I’ve known couples in LTR who had sex the first night they met (it wasn’t even an actual date). I’ve met people who waited until they were married.
    I haven’te ever been able to date like a “normal” person. I usually have sex very early on in the relationship because I like to have sex. I rarely date or enter into any sort of sexual/romantic relationship with the hope or expectation of it being long-term. Relationships last as long as they last. That said, my relationships where we have waited to have sex have lasted longer and had better, more authentic, and loving foundations. Of course, that usually happens because the men want to wait – not me. They want to build intimacy with me before we get sexual. I do appreciate that but it’s not something I usually seek out.
    I consider myself a “slut” and am pretty open about it with my friends and people I date. If a man considers that a negative thing, it is unlikely that we would be compatible on a multitude of levels. Similarly, my female friends appreciate my “sluttiness” and freedom even if they, themselves, do not practice it. Again, women who don’t like that aspect of me likely wouldn’t be compatible with me as friends.

  30. Im a guy and i wouldn’t have sex on the 1st,2nd,3rd etc date.Sex is the ultimate in intimacy so I have to be in love with someone.IMO,Sex isn’t something you can just play with to me.I realize this may make me a dinosaur so to speak these days,but it is what it is.Ive never felt the need to add several notches to the bedpost to try and validate my manhood or just to “get off” and “play the field”.I don’t think its irrational of me to want and desire the same qualities and mindset from any gal i would date.Especially since im reiprocating what im asking for from the get go and not being a hypocrite.

    • The Wet One says:

      In my view, sex is just sex and love is something totally different.

      But then, different strokes for different folks right? Or not? I suspect not given the laws, but one would hope that to each his own would one day be the dominant viewpoint…

      But I digress…

  31. Frankly, using a relationship to “gain status” is a pretty sick focus. And maybe if fewer of us took that approach, and stopped judging our friends, family, co-workers, etc. for choosing people who make less money, or aren’t physically attractive, or whatever – perhaps there would be a bit less misery in the world.

    While my history isn’t like Corey’s, I have chosen to wait longer as I have gotten older, having have enough of first or second date sex to know it’s often not helpful to developing a long term relationship. I’m now drawn to women who want to approach sexual intimacy in a more conscious way, as opposed to giving into to the horny, lust driven energy often present in the beginning of a relationship.

  32. There are assumptions in this article that really frustrate me. It’s so far out of the reality that I live in I can’t relate at all. I waited until marriage. So did most of the guys that I hang out with. I realize that places us in a minority category, but … there it is.

    • Hi Cory, thanks for your comment. Your point is well taken. As I conducted the survey, I did my best to reach out of my immediate social circle, posing my questions to as many types of folks as I could find. As you might imagine, I didn’t reach very many (if any) people who fit the category you’re describing. It wasn’t meant to be a slight, only a discussion of some of the very relevant dating questions that come up for many (if not most) sexually active, single adults. I would love your input (and your friends’) in future projects.

    • You are a very rare creature… or maybe not-so rare in experience/attitude, but rare in that you’re one of few who speaks up. Kudos to you!

  33. Well there is the double standard, some would argue that its biological – mommy’s baby daddy’s maybe I think the saying goes… my position here is that there are lots of sexual double standards and they all benefit women bar that one. If we are to be like feminists and elevate that one double standard and exclude the ones that benefit women, aren’t we being sexist here?

    • I think you’d find that I agree, Trevor. For example, I don’t believe men should pay for first dates just because they’re men. I even wrote about that here on the GMP. This article is about one particular double standard though, so let’s keep the comments to first date sex if possible.

      • Well ok Rosie, but I do think the sexual double standards that effect women are minimal by comparison to those they benefit from.

        I have to wonder if its really a double standard at all and if men have right to screen for potential cuckolding…. perhaps another wrong in the story is refusing to acknowledge a mans right to fear cuckolding?

        Plus something else that wrong with the narrow view of this double standard that’s so often put forward is women policing each other for being “sluts” which seems to much more common than men doing it, and likely encourages men to do it too.

      • Trevor and guys like him are the reason why I would never, never have sex with guy on the first date, no matter how horny I might be (and women do get horny, BTW) — at least not if I am interested in this guy for more than a hookup.. However, then women are accused of being status seeking gold diggers who withhold sex in return for long term relationships or expensive goods.

        Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I guess.

        I do always wonder about the hypocrisy of guys who push aggressively for early sex, then write the woman off as a slut. Is pushing us for sex a test or something?

        • Jill

          Personally I prefer women that will have sex on the first date and I’m generally not involved in vanilla dating so the issues that are being brought up here don’t affect me so much.

          I’m simply offering the other side of the story as the one-sided, gynocentric view of the double standard is old hat and men are now involved in the gender debate.

          • Well in that you and I agree, men have a right to exclude women from LTR consideration for any reason they choose, just like women do. I don’t think that’s a surprise to any women. In fact a lot of women refuse to have sex on the first date for exactly the reasons you express — they know men may judge them negatively.

            So I’m not sure you are saying anything revolutionary or anything that women don’t know. Maybe some young, naive women don’t know it, but they will figure it out.

            • do you agree that women can police each other for “giving it away”?

              • Yes I think that does happen to some extent, although I don’t think all women engage in that kind of “policing” behavior or “slut-shaming.” Some do. But I wouldn’t characterize it as an objection to a woman “lowering her value.” Rather I think it comes from a fear that one “slutty” woman in a circle of friends will give men the idea that all the women in that circle are equally slutty. And if women are looking for LTR’s, they know (as we are discussing) that being perceived as “slutty” can be a deal-breaker for many guys. So the “slutty” woman may get excluded from the circle. Is that just a materialistic concern with “lowering one’s value”? I think that’s unduly pejorative. I think women have a right to pursue meaningful LTR’s if that’s what they want in life. On the other hand, can there be ugliness in the way women relate to each other in groups? Absolutely yes. In college 20 years ago, I heard about a sorority that kicked out a member who basically got gang raped at a party because she was a “slut.” They blamed her for getting drunk and embarrassing the house. I hope sororities are more enlightened now but who knows.

                Also, I think that kind of thing mostly happens with young women in cliques. I can’t imagine any of my friends being judgmental about my sex life and this point in our lives.

        • The term “early sex” is interesting…I wasnt aware there was a time schedule that one could be early or late for sex.

          Generally, if I want to have sex with a man, and the feeling is mutual….we have sex. Because we are both adults and over 30 and have (hopefully) dispensed with these silly ‘rules’ we’ve constructed about sex. If my girlfriends call me a whore for screwing on the first date, then that’s their problem….my sex life is under no one’s control but my own.

          • But the consequences of your actions are not completely under your control. Other people get to decide how they react to your choices.

            • I think you’re confusing consequences with effects.

              And yes, other people do get to decide how they react to my choices….but the bottom line is — Im a grown woman and if I choose to have sex on a first, fourth, 28th date or not at all ever again, its no one’s business but mine or my partners….and if there are ‘consequences’, then they belong to myself and my partner. And really, I feel like other people aren’t entitled to a front row seat to my sexual choices…they’re MINE. I dont care how people react. If getting an abortion is the right choice for me, and if you dont like it, well I guess its tough tittie for you because your opinion doesnt matter to me, and has no “consequence” on my life or the decisions I make for myself, you’re just a busybody jerk who wants to impose their opinion on someone else….whoop-dee do.

              • Linguist says:

                And tough titties for your baby.

                • pssssssst…..

                  This thread isnt about shaming women about abortion

                  But your juvenile retort only serves to emphasize MY point…you have your opinion about my (fictional) choice, and ……huzzah!…it doesn’t change my choice, or impact me in any way

                  See how cool that is?

          • Thank you. It’s nice to see someone else with a “what’s it to you? I live my life. Deal with it.” attitude.

        • As for gold digging. I believe there is a strong case for hypergamy, but that its not necessarily based around obvious material goods but rather cultural success, and that can entail material wealth but that can be left aside for other markers or cultural success, the struggling artist or men at the top of whatever localized hierarchy or sub culture, for example.

          As for double standards, many women do operate a sexual double standard when it comes to wealth and success. Its one of the many sexual double standards that we are apparently not supposed to talk about while we are supposed to stay focused on the one and only one that seems to affect women.

          • My impression is that men talk constantly about how women put too much emphasis on wealth and success in choosing partners.

            In any event, both men and women use relationships to gain status. Men choose attractive women in part because it increases their status with their friends. In a way, though, there is more at stake for women because a man with high status can bring a woman’s status up, whereas a man with poor status only brings the woman’s status down. A woman’s high status NEVER brings the man’s status up, it is always the reverse. Not saying it’s right, but that’s how it seems to work, unfortunately.

            • “My impression is that men talk constantly about how women put too much emphasis on wealth and success in choosing partners.”

              There is no way that such a large a diverse group are constantly talking about that.

              “In any event, both men and women use relationships to gain status. Men choose attractive women in part because it increases their status with their friends.”

              Women generally chose between men, only high status men chose between women, and the have to have gained the status first. The woman doesn’t bring the status, the status brings the women.

              “In a way, though, there is more at stake for women because a man with high status can bring a woman’s status up, whereas a man with poor status only brings the woman’s status down”.

              Women don’t chose poor status men, they aim equal or up. This is hypergamy in action.

              “A woman’s high status NEVER brings the man’s status up, it is always the reverse. Not saying it’s right, but that’s how it seems to work, unfortunately.”

              Men generally aren’t looking to obtain status from sex in the first place.

              • Trevor, you’re making the same kinds of broad sweeping generalizations about women that you object to Jill making about men above.

                • Yes I am, I’m sorry Jill.

                  This paper however, does back up some of what I’m saying.

                  Sexual Selection and the Evolution of Human Sex
                  David C. Geary
                  University of Missouri at Columbia
                  Department of Psychological Sciences

              • “The woman doesn’t bring the status, the status brings the women.”

                “Women don’t chose poor status men, they aim equal or up. This is hypergamy in action. ”

                To the extent there is a grain of truth to what you are saying, you are basically in agreement with my point that a woman’s status depends on the man’s and not visa versa (except to the extent that men who date attractive women get “points” with their social group). The bottom line is, men seek status just as much as women do. To criticize women for trying to enhance their status is just as hypocritical as criticizing men for being picky about only wanting women who are skinny and have big boobs. If you are into evolutionary psychology (and it sounds like you are) then it is natural for both males and females to seek to enhance their status in their social group. That goes straight back to the monkeys. Status, in this context, basically equates with having an easier life, more access to resources and hence more successful offspring. Doesn’t everyone want an easier life?

                And BTW, I agree with the other poster who said these are all gross generalizations that ignore all the nuances that influence why people do what they do, which are vast and complicated. Again, there are grains of truth to some of it, but it overlooks a lot.

                Finally, I think you are wrong when you say that only “high status” men get to choose between women. I think men do make choices all the time. Some men have more choices, just like some women have more choices. Most people are in the middle and have some choices, but not as many choices as they would like. Everyone seeks to maximize what they can get. I have had so many arguments with guys about this. Men who complain about women having all the power and all the choices in relationships are always focusing on a tiny minority of very attractive, generally very young women who 95% of the men are after. There are lots of women who get no attention and have no power in relationships. Men don’t even realize those women exist because they are invisible to men. Older women, heavier women, less attractive women, etc. Go talk to some of those women and you will get a different story about who is holding the cards.

                • I think you have the choice thing a little skewed, on average women generally don’t ask. Men do and women chose from the selection available at any given time, like high status men do.

                  Of course there are invisible women too, but I’m talking about on average..

                  • I believe you are falling into the fallacy of believing that men don’t make choices because they are the “choosers” and women “don’t ask” (I assume you mean “don’t ask men out”).

                    Even if women (as a very general rule) don’t ask men on dates, men make choices ALL THE TIME about who they pay attention to. How is that not an act of choice? Are you really saying that men are totally helpless?

                    Think about,say, the last time you took a class. I’m sure there were some women in the class you thought here “totally hot,” some were average and some were completely unattractive to you. How much time did you spend talking to the average or unattractive women compared to the time you spent trying to talk to the attractive women, or just fantasizing about and staring at the attractive women? Meanwhile, some of those other women may have been interested in you, but wouldn’t bother trying to get to know you because you expressed no interest and rebuffed their efforts at conversation. As a woman who has always been in the “average” category and has to work to get attention from men, I can tell you that it is extremely easy to tell if a man is attracted or not. If he’s clearly not attracted to me, I’m certainly not going to bother asking him on a date. So, he’s made a choice right there. Again, when you talk about this, you are only thinking about the few “hot” women who every man in the class is dreaming about, who are a minority of women. yes they get to pick and choose from the whole class, because everyone wants them. The average women might have one or two guys (if that) in the class who might be interested. The unattractive women, probably none. So your generalizations about “all women” being the choosers are simply false.

                    • Jill, I said in general not all. And its true. generally women chose as they generally don’t approach and initiate.
                      I also never said that women chose from all the men around them, they chose from a selection of ones that are available to them at any given time. There is no need to be losing your temper of things that I didn’t not say. This is the second time you have gotten angry with me on this thread and accused me of saying something that I clearly did not not say, stop carrying on.

                    • Trev, it surprises me that you think I’m “angry” simply because I disagree with you. This is a comment board and this is a forum where people discuss their differing ideas. Sorry you interpret that as “angry.”

            • That’s ignorant to make a blanket statement like that: I mentor men in a variety of areas of life because I want to help them succeed (and find them easier to work with), and you know what? I raise their “status” via whatever skill I helped them to develop. I’ve used an awe-crush someone had on me to inspire them to use their classes from a technical school they were at to apply for university. They’ll be done this coming winter with a full Computer Sciences degree instead of a two-year tech certificate: his pay-grade will be phenomenally higher because he found me cute and wanted to impress me, which will automatically raise his “status.” Weaning him off of that mindset and into his own strength, my attitude, demeanor and breasts are responsible for his raised status.

              To top that off, I’m a woman from a well-off family and work as a radio producer. Don’t blanket me, sister!

              • Well I wasn’t talking about mentoring someone or improving their skills. I was talking about simply “taking” status from a partner by osmosis, if you will. If you read any sociology, the concept of “status” and how people get it (or don’t get it) through marriage is a frequent topic. So, yes, I stand by my comment that in general, a “low status” woman (say, waitress from a poor family) who marries a high status man (say, CEO from a rich family) will find her social status magically transformed, whereas a “low status” man (say, janitor) marrying a “high status” woman (say, heiress) will still be considered fairly low status. So for example after Larry Fortensky married Elizabeth Taylor, he was still repeatedly described as the construction worker who married Elizabeth Taylor. Take a beautiful woman who marries a famous guy, no one ever mentions what menial job she did before she met him, unless its a biopic or something. Obviously this is all a giant generalization, but sociology is often a study of generalizations and stereotypes.

        • GirlGlad4theGMP says:

          Here I agree. Men push pretty hard…often to the point of not getting themselves a second date.

          The issue I have with the idea of this being one of the few negative gender biases: Men don’t tend to push hard to pay for dinner then call a woman cheap, nor are they extremely insistent upon holding the door open for a woman only to call her lazy.

          If you ask her politely, singluarly and she says yes, that’s one thing (and NO, I’m not saying that agreeing at this point makes a woman anything less tha a consenting adult). But any persistence on the part of a guy and frankly you lose your right to judge, lest YOU want to be judged a sex-crazed ape.

  34. Men and women are different. I would never seriously consider a woman with a reputation for sluttiness as a long term prospect. If a woman is willing to sleep with me on the first date – the relationship is going no where. Even women who go for it on the stereotypical third date are suspect.

    • Thanks for reading. I think you should define your terms. When you say “sluttiness” what do you mean? Do you have different definitions for men and women? Doesn’t that seem a little unfair? Why would you hold it against someone who wants to sleep with *you*?

      • Despite what people may say, they do use different standards for men and women. And like life – it isn’t necessarily fair.

        For me being too slutty would include sleeping with a guy on the first date. Or having a large number of past partners. I don’t think women who do this are bad people, or doing something wrong. If it works for them and makes them happy then I’m all for it. I’m just not interested in dating such women long term.

        That is my choice to make.

    • I respect your right to chose Linguist but I question your hostility towards women with as you call it “a reputation for sluttiness”, surely they have the right to manage their sex lives in the way they see fit.

      • I agree. Everyone has a right to manage their own live the way they see fit. I have a right to decide who I associate with.

    • So why are you sleeping with her?

  35. If some guys want to exclude women from the LTR pile based on sex on the first date they are perfectly within their rights to do that. In the same way that women can freely exclude men from dates, sex and LTR’s based on their own shopping list of expectations and do’s and don’ts.

    • Thanks for reading and engaging, Trevor. I absolutely 100% agree that everyone has their own “shopping list” (as you called it) and that items that make that list for a whole host of reasons. I would never suggest you’re not within in your rights to determine who is LTR material or not. I would just ask people of both sexes to ask themselves why first-date sex would make or break that list and just give it some thought.


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  3. […] note (though I do use words like “rando” and “freaky deaky”), I wrote about the subject for The Good Men Project this week. All of you who took the survey (thanks a bunch!) were immensely […]

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