Not sleeping with someone on a first date is the number one rule of dating, but why? Well, we've discovered there are are many, many reasons, so listen up, ladies.
In the new book, The 30-Day Love Detox, CNN Human Behavior expert and former co-host of The Doctors, Dr. Wendy Walsh, writes a research-supported prescription for slow-love. Her mission: to help single women compete for a narrowing market of men who will make a commitment in a high-supply sexual economy. Here’s why we, apparently, should not be getting it on after a first date.
1. It reduces chances for real love
Sex is lust over love but it’s still a hugely intimate act. It can be fumbling, awkward, and frankly, more than a little embarrassing when normal bodily functions happen in front of a stranger. The way the brain deals with this awkwardness is to disassociate a bit. It creates emotional distance keeping the physical intimacy in one tidy little box and the heart in another, safely under lock and key. Attempting to have both emotional and physical intimacy on a first date would be too much for our psyche’s to tolerate. And once you’ve set up the two-box system, it can be hard to break. Therefore, in one study, participants who moved fast sexually, had the worst relationship outcomes later.
2. It can bring feelings of regret
Think about it. Most women want sex for the first time with a new partner to be a mind-blowing special experience that brings them closer to a mate. And in one study called “the passion turning point” study, participants who expressed feelings of love and/or had conversations about commitment before that first-time sex, found the event to be positive passion turning point. The sex made them feel even more connected and secure. But if they didn’t have these conversations, sex became a negative turning point in their relationship, evoking feelings of regret and needs for apologies. And, who, on a first date is ready to talk about love and commitment?
3. You Can Get Really Sick
Oh yeah, that part. Most women wouldn’t give the keys to their apartment to a man they’d just met, to water her plants, yet plenty would expose their bloodstream and precious eggs to the same man. Let’s face it. Women’s unique biology makes us far more susceptible to STD’s than men. We, after all, are the ones who accept deposits. And if you think, using a condom is enough, think only about the new stat that the HPV virus one of the biggest causes of throat cancer.
4. Women don’t as often, ahem, get off
Yes, I must mention the big “O” here. Many women report that first date sex is so awkward and run on a man’s timeline, that her body doesn’t receive the necessary warm up time needed to reach climax. Men’s sexual arousal pattern is like a microwave oven. Women are more like a crock-pot. And way to put sex on slow boil is to move slowly and wait until you’ve grown close enough to have good sexual communication.
5. It can make a man run for the hills
Here’s a study I hated to read. Groundbreaking work by David Buss at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that the more sexual partners a man has had, the more he perceives “diminished attractiveness” in each new mate. It’s a race to the bottom for him. Each new woman disappoints him more. It’s as if he is looking for some princess of a woman whose sex will tell him he’s in love. And you can be sure, if he’s pressuring for sex on the first date, this man has had many partners. But, real love, of course, is something that takes while to grow.
6. It advertises you to partners who consume bulk-sex
We are in a high-supply sexual economy where the price of sex, which used to be the price of courtship, has been dropped to the barrel-bottom price of one, well-worded text. And without courtship we have players and non-players in the same dating pool. People who want a healthy relationship “charge” a high price for sex: attention, care, and commitment. When you have sex on a first date, you act as a player and mostly attract like kinds.
7. First-Date-Sex makes confuses sexual chemistry and love
Many people believe that jumping into bed in the early stages of a relationship is a way to test sexual compatibility, a way to audition a man, if you will. Someone created the myth that ‘sexual chemistry’ is necessary before couples can move to a committed relationship. If this theory were true then people who do not test out sexual chemistry before commitment should have shorter, more unhappy, relationships. But psychology professor Dean Busby and his colleagues at Brigham Young University were unable to make this connection is a study of more than 2,000 couples. People with good sexual chemistry early on did not stay together longer. He explained his results to me this way. ‘The mechanics of good sex are not particularly difficult or beyond the reach of most couples, but the emotions, the vulnerability, the meaning of sex and whether it brings couples closer together are much more complicated to figure out.’
8. Sex on the first date reinforces the sexual double standard
As much as feminism has tried to rewire men’s brains to stop thinking that there are bad girls and good girls, the truth is that much of this is hard wiring from our anthropological pasts. Men who fell for a promiscuous woman, risked spending their time and resources raising another man’s genes. The sexually double standard is alive and well in a cross section of male culture in America. When I posed the question of the double standard on my Facebook page, a wide socio-economic group of men weighed in with belief systems ripped straight from the 1950s but alive and well today. One guy summed it up this way. ‘Sure, first date sex, is a test. We see how quick we can get you in bed. The quicker you are, the less wifey material you are.’ The truth is, when men are expected to always want first date sex and women are supposed to say no, the two become opponents instead of partners. Slowing things down and growing an emotional bond first is the only way to put the sexual double standard to rest.
9. It can train you to be a cheater
Every relationship, however brief and insignificant, influences every other relationship in your life. First-Date-Sex contributes to a sexual pattern that is very hard to change. Plenty of people believe that sex is a behavior that is very malleable, that sexuality can be turned on and off, like a light switch. Many of the women I spoke with while doing research for The 30-Day Love Detox, told me that they are hooking up as a way to audition mates, but they are quite sure they can be faithful when they decide to be. But research doesn’t support this. More likely is the scenario that these women (and the men they have sex with) are training their bodies to be future cheaters. We can train ourselves for most anything. And the only way to train for monogamy is to either abstain or to be monogamous.