It’s a fairly common story: Girl meets guy, girl likes guy, girl sleeps with guy, girl never hears from guy again.
Especially among women, one-nighters have a reputation for lacking longevity — hence the name. I’ve heard many lady friends remark that sleeping with him “too soon” was the fatal flaw, and rationales range from guys just like the chase to he probably thinks I’m a slut. (Maybe its cultural, maybe it’s biological, but women aren’t known to lose interest if a man throws down too early.)
Anyway, just like everyone seems to know someone who met their spouse online, it also seems like everyone knows someone whose first-night fling became a serious relationship.
It’s a question that all women ask themselves at some point: Will getting naked ruin the chances of making it more? Perhaps make him doubt my virtue, etc? Or… does it really change anything at all?
Much to my super-nerdy excitement, more than one researcher has studied the impact of hooking up on long-term relations. Much to my disappointment, though, the answers are not a straightforward “Yes, first-date sex is like kryptonite for dating,” or “No, shag at will.” It’s a little trickier than that – But more in First Mates Round II.
To really get into the second half of answering “Does First Date Sex Ruin Everything?” it’s worth saying that most women believe that (at least anecdotally) sex too early is a dating death wish. This is confusing, in light of the message that “Men love/want sex all the time, as often as they can get it.” You would THINK that giving a man exactly what he wants would only make sure the relationship continues. Of course, it can’t ever be that straightforward.
From a woman’s POV, if you knock boots but the guy doesn’t follow-up with a second date (even when it seemed like the first one went great), there are perhaps three possibilities:
1) Sex changed something about the way he evaluated you or the potential for a relationship.
2) He was just looking for sex, so it was game over afterwards.
3) ) He wasn’t that into you and was never going to call back one way or the other, but (being a testosterone infused male) wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity to get laid.
#2 and #3 are distinct because with #2, he may have pursued the “relationship” until getting laid but then walked away regardless. With #3, he wouldn’t have bothered to follow-up one way or the other, and was just pleasantly surprised when sex became a nice bonus to the date.
Remember, these are in the event that he loses interest after the fact. (If he does follow-up, the possibilities are: 1) He likes you, or 2) he wants to have sex again.)
#1 is the probably the only point that might need explanation:
In reality, men and women alike have been known to change their dating evaluations pre- and post-coitus. Especially after a first date, it can change the way we see the other person, and it can change the way we represent ourselves.
- For men, it can (not will always, but can) affect the way they view a woman’s “honor.” It’s old school, but it happens. It’s probably a given to say it, but this doesn’t apply in reverse, i.e. for women’s’ opinions of men — a woman who jumps into bed falls outside the general social expectations, but a man who does the same thing will not register as unusual. We’re raised to think that it’s “just how men are.” (This is slowly changing, though, as women are increasingly acknowledged and accepted as equally sexual beings.)
- It’s also possible that a sexual interaction changes our later behavior. For women, a response to feeling vulnerable and giving it up is (unfortunately) to become more sensitive and clingy. Thus far I’ve tried to avoid the postcoital crazies, but have seen plenty of friends morph into “that girl” after sleeping with someone — They’ll start to text, call, and obsess. They also become sensitive to things that they wouldn’t normally. (Think: Getting super angry when he doesn’t call immediately after work, etc). This can drive away men or any chance of a 2nd date.
- It’s also possible that something about the sex was unappealing. While I’d imagine that women have a hard time being truly “bad” in bed, guy friends have described various turn-offs that kill it for them early on, like a girl who is super self-conscious in the bedroom, or a dead fish, or maybe even too wild between the sheets. (Breaking out the handcuffs and whip cream might be terrific later down the line, but sometimes looking too kinky can make people wonder what in Cleveland else you have up your sleeve.)
To condense the possibilities:
1) Sex decreases chance of a relationship, for any number of reasons.
2) Sex has no impact. When it doesn’t pan out, it’s because the other person just didn’t have interest in a relationship one way or the other. The rejection might feel more salient once a woman has let her guard down since the guy who you sleep with that never calls again stands out far more than the guy you met for a drink, but who didn’t call again.
To be continued…