In short, there’s absolutely no right answer. Whether or not you “should” have sex with someone the first time you meet them in real life after getting to know each other on a dating app depends on several factors, but ultimately, it boils down to how YOU feel and what YOUR values are.
Purity culture has influenced many people into thinking that we need to preserve ourselves for X amount of time before having sex with somebody we recently met or are attracted to. Frankly, that’s just not realistic these days! You can do whatever you want to. You make your own rules. You decide what’s best for you. So remember that whatever decision you make is perfectly fine.
Are you on the fence? Consider asking yourself the following 10 questions to dig deeper and help you decide whether or not you might want to sleep with them on the first date:
1. Have you discussed your intentions?
Have a conversation about your intentions and what the two of you want after the first date or sexual experience. We’re all adults. Don’t be afraid to speak up about what you want and where you stand on your decision. Express your intentions, needs, and wants before, during, and after the sexual experience. If it’s all about sex, have fun!
Check in with yourself and your partner to ensure you’re both on the same page prior to heading to the bedroom (or the backseat of the car after dinner) so the experience is enjoyable and fulfilling for everyone involved. The most important thing is to decide your own intentions about this person, whether it's going somewhere serious or it's just a summer fling.
2. Do you feel like they respect you?
Avoid sleeping with anybody who doesn’t respect you or the boundaries you establish. If they don’t respect you outside of the bedroom, then they’re probably not going to respect you in the bedroom either. Choose your partners carefully. If you trust them and they make you feel safe and comfortable, then that’s a solid first step to deciding if you want to sleep with them on the first date or not.
3. What are the pros and cons of sleeping with this person?
Think about the situation. List out the benefits and negatives of having sex with your date the first time you meet. If you’ve been dying to hook up with someone for the longest time and the time has finally presented itself, then go for it. If you’ll beat yourself up for it after, you probably won’t want to go through with it.
4. How’s the chemistry between you?
You just met and the spark between you two is undeniable. If the passion is that strong from the start, you might feel compelled to hook up sooner than later. If you have undeniable chemistry with someone, everyone on board is giving consent, you have a form of protection on hand, and you feel confident about your decision, then go ahead and sleep with them!
5. Have both parties given enthusiastic consent?
Consent is king! Have you and your potential partner both verbally expressed interest in having sex in the moment? This means that ALL parties involved in the sexual experience must give an undeniable, total, overwhelming “YES.” An “eh, OK” doesn’t count. Neither does “sure” or “I don’t know.” Consent involves a verbal “yes” and clear, receptive body language. Both of you should be enthusiastically willing to engage in sexual activity, so make sure you get that response before initiating or pursuing anything. Also, remember that if you originally said yes, you can (and are encouraged to) stop at any time if/whenever things change.
6. Have you talked about STIs yet?
Disclosing STI test results before hooking up is a key part of safer sex and taking care of your sexual health. When was the last time you both had an STI/STD test? And what were your results? Your potential partner should be able to share this information with you, and vice versa. If they can’t give you a clear answer, then you might want to hold off until they get re-tested and provide you with the results. Also, keep in mind that not every test is going to cover all the bases. For example, not all doctors regularly test for HSV or HPV — you have to explicitly ask for it. If you both tested negative for any sexually transmitted infections or diseases, then use a condom or another form of protection and be on your merry way to Pleasureville.
7. Do you have contraceptives readily available?
Although you might first think of condoms when it comes to contraceptives, there are tons of other options for sexual protection, like birth control pills, dental dams, diaphragms, finger gloves, caps, etc. However, remember that birth control pills don’t protect against contracting STIs, so condoms are always recommended. It may sound cheesy, but safer sex is smarter sex! Discuss with your partner which methods are best for you depending on your unique situation.
8. Is there anything that’s holding you back?
Are there any reasons why you’d feel against sleeping with them on the first date? If so, explore them. Is that the way you’ve always rolled? No worries. You’re in control and can set your own timeline of when you want to have sex. If you feel a sense of shame or guilt, ask yourself where it’s stemming from. Are you internalizing someone else’s views that were projected onto you at some point in your life? Perhaps your friends will call you a “slut” or a “whore” after you tell them how your date went (aka you slept with them). Their reaction to your actions is a reflection of them, rather than a reflection of you. Ultimately, there’s no rush to have sex at any time. Wait until you feel comfortable and ready, then decide what to do when the time comes.
9. What decision would make you feel best/happiest/comfortable in the morning?
It’s easy to throw all logic out the window when you’re turned on. But if you decide to roll with it and not make a logical, level-headed decision before you get hot and heavy, you might pay the price in the morning in the form of regret (or something else). Think about what decision will make you feel happiest and most content in the morning. If that’s having sex today, go for it! If you’d rather take things slow, then do that instead.
10. Are you being true to yourself?
Most importantly, remember to stay true to yourself and how you feel, because you’re the only one who can make the right judgment and the decision that’s best for you. Pay attention to your intuition, and don’t do anything that makes you feel uneasy. If you have a feeling you’ll regret it after, then it’s totally okay to wait. If they argue or plead to try to get you to change your mind, they can go F themselves after you leave. If they’re cool about it, consider having another date and checking in to see how you feel then. You have nothing but time. Don’t feel rushed into making any decisions if you’re not ready. Again, the decision to sleep with them or not is entirely in your hands. If you want to, then go for it! If you don’t want to, then don’t.
The Choice Is Yours
At the end of the day, nobody can tell you “yes” or “no” to having sex with anyone on the first date. If they do, then that’s just them projecting their own values onto you. You’re free to act however you want to at whatever time with whoever you want. Just remember to stay aligned with how you feel and always practice safe, healthy, and consensual sex if you choose to have it. Whether you choose to sleep with them or not, the choice is 100% yours, and you’re free and encouraged to do whatever the hell you feel is best. And don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.