No matter how often we try to fool ourselves into believing the world’s getting more progressive, it seems that sex will always be a taboo topic. While everything surrounding going to le bone zone carries a vastly more diluted social stigma now than it used to, there are still plenty of nuances that will seemingly never be universally agreed upon. Along with controversial topics like anal, oral, and pubes, sex is doomed to be spoken about in a harsh whisper by concerned-looking old men. A point of conversation that has been debated forever is whether or not it’s “appropriate” to have sex on the first date. Is it “slutty” or are people who do it just confident in their feelings for each other? To answer this question, we talked with a panel of sex experts to solve this problem so you don’t have to.
Why not just do it?
Dr. Gloria Brame is a certified sexologist who has a Ph.D in human sexuality with a specialty in BDSM/fetish sex. She’s the author of several books, including Different Loving and Different Loving Too, Come Hither, and The Truth About Sex: A Sex Primer For The 21st Century. Her work is all about removing the stigma behind not only BDSM but sex itself, and she has some serious thoughts about going to Pound Town on the first date.
“Sex feels good, says Dr. Brame. “It’s fun, it’s another way to have a wonderful time with a person, and your brain knows it’s healthy. If there is mutual attraction and mutual desire, and you don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong (wrong partner, wrong timing, etc.), then sure, it happens more often than most people will ever admit.”
“I absolutely think it’s reasonable to have sex on the first date,” says sexuality coach and Youtube personality Tyomi Morgan. Not only have I had sex on the first date, but I have also had sex within hours of meeting someone and it’s completely healthy when the act is consensual and when safe sex is practiced.”
Both Morgan and Brame strongly believe in sex on the first date and claim to have plenty of friends who’ve found themselves in meaningful relationships after first-date sex.
“I had sex on the first date with my husband,” says Dr. Brame. “That was 28 happy years ago. Does that count?”
So, why the stigma?
In your 20s you may still feel guilty because of the lessons you learned about “sex is for marriage,” continues Dr. Brame, “but by the time you’re in your 30s, most adults are just grateful or delighted when they meet someone who can give them good orgasms and make them feel overall happy in bed.”
Gigi Engle, sex and dating writer from Thrillist.com, has a long and complicated history with the topic, but remains convinced that the stigma exists because that’s what we’ve always been taught.
“[It’s] because of slut-shaming. A woman is historically considered the gatekeeper of sex,” says Engle. “It’s her job to control the feral sexuality of the rogue male and make him wait to have sex. It is supposed to be a display of a woman’s purity. It’s total and complete bullshit. People don’t recognize that women are actually just as sexually inclined as men. We want to have an orgasm just as badly as he does. Having sex doesn’t make us ‘sluts’ or ‘whores,’ it makes us normal, horny people.”
When encountering these tired arguments from out-of-touch people, Engle suggests the best method is to simply turn the other cheek.
“Don’t listen to social norms and standards, says Engle. “Every date and intimate connection is different and you shouldn’t have to limit yourself.” Dr. Brame proves to be on the same page with the other experts and believes religion is, indeed, the reason such a problem exists.
“I would love to analyze thousands of years of anti-sex propaganda with you but I’ll boil it down: religious ideology and social morality have both taught people, from childhood, that sex is wrong outside of marriage and that you are immoral for having ‘impure’ thoughts.” Brame goes on to say that sex isn’t the only topic in the line of fire from religious fanatics and purists: “they also taught us you’ll go blind from jerking off, so factor that in.”
Even though it seems like this is getting better, the problem hasn’t been entirely solved — and women are always the ones demonized for making a move that any guy could easily get away with.
“Even though our society has moved beyond classic themes within dating, there are some standards that are upheld to maintain a sense of ‘morality’ for those involved,” says Morgan. “Women don’t want to appear as if they are too easy, and men don’t want to come off as the creepy guy that just wants to ‘hit and run.’ So this stigma exists to protect the perceived morality of daters (which is silly because everyone is hooking up these days).”
What Morgan says rings true: everyone is hooking up these days and people shouldn’t feel bad about simply following the intuition of their bodies.
“Sex is very important in a healthy, functioning relationship and I put a lot of weight on it in my personal life,” Engle says. “If a guy has sex with you on the first date and it’s great, awesome. If he never calls you again, GOOD. Then you definitely don’t want to date that person anyway. If a guy is going to judge you and slut-shame you for having a sex drive, fuck that guy.”
So, let the words of our experts guide you whenever you’re feeling conflicted. You can actively listen to the outdated words of the objectively uncool people telling you sex on the first date is wrong, or you can just go ahead and do it. What our experts say, though, is that you’ll learn a lot about both yourself and your partner by taking that extra step and cutting through the bullshit that society has taught us is necessary and jumpin’ in the sack with someone pretty.