Let's Talk About Sex, Baby
This post originally appeared on Girl's Gotta Eat, Lauren's chronicle of her dating adventures.
Before we get started here, let me make one thing incredibly clear:
Girl’s Gotta Eat will never tell ANYONE (especially women) what they should or shouldn’t do with their bodies.
That feels like a “duh” to me, but apparently, some things just need to be SAID these days.
A few weeks ago, I had a reader ask about my thoughts on first date hookups. She wrote:
“I’m torn between the feminist message of #GirlsGottaEat – women should feel sexually liberated to have sex on the first date – and the notion of waiting for the importance of leaving something to be desired. I have guy friends that say sex on the first date is not a relationship deal breaker by any means, but my current boyfriend (who is incredibly educated, liberal, and a feminist) explicitly told me that if we’d had sex on our first date, he wouldn’t have seen me as in contention for a serious relationship”.
To be honest – I have sat down to write this blog multiple times over the past few months. And it’s been unbelievably difficult for me.
Sex is a private and personal choice. I don’t really care to share personal details about my IIIIIINTIMATE LIIIIFE (that was sung in my head, obviously) on the internet. And this isn’t a sex column.
But sex, whether you’re having it or not, is an inherent part of dating. So here we are, ma babies.
When navigating the ‘right time’ to have sex, it’s essential that you know yourself, and know what you’re looking for. Because of that, the way we approach sex and the way we approach dating are one in the same.
Imagine that you meet someone at a party who you have interest in. You exchange numbers, and later that week, you go on a date. You have a great time. You decide to sleep with them. And then you never hear from them again.
Some people might be disappointed with this scenario. And some might not be. And that’s okay.
Everyone’s relationship with sex is different. What’s important is figuring out yours.
To my intelligent and thoughtful reader who wrote in – I think you are making an incredibly common faux pas – putting the focus on the ‘other’. The man (in this scenario)! What does he want? What is he thinking? What would hethink of me, if we slept together on the first date?
Here’s the thing – we’ll never know.
The bigger question is: what would you think of you? And there are no wrong answers.
If you’re okay with sleeping with someone on the first date and never hearing from them again, more power to you!
If you’re not okay with sleeping with someone on the first date and never hearing from them again, more power to you!
I encourage you to really spend time weighing these scenarios – there’s complex emotional risk involved in each. Examine previous sexual encounters, and how they made you feel, if the relationship didn’t work out. Were they worth it?
Once you’ve decided for yourself what it is you’re looking for – follow that intuition. Because there’s something else at play here…
It’s a very real thing.
Ever heard of it? Oxytocin is a hormone that’s released during sex, that often enables you to trust and attach to your partner. Except women produce way. Effing. More of it.
Totally unfair, right? Fuckin’ science.
(Sidenote: I deeply encourage you to check out my all-time favorite song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which delves into this EXACT. ISSUE. But, like, is funnier and stuff. Thanks, Rachel Bloom!)
Not only can the oxytocin released during sex blur the lines for a woman as to what type of relationship she’s forming with a new sex partner (casual vs. serious), but it can also cloud your judgement.
Do you really like and trust this person? Or are you just on an oxytocin sex-high?
Not that I’ve ever PERSONALLY been in this position (…*crickets*), but lemme tell ya – it can really complicate things.
Feeling this attachment to a new partner (that you often don’t realize is oxytocin-induced because OMG LOVE) can sometimes lead you to spend much more time dating them than you would have if you’d never had sex, because sex has blurred the freaking lines. And who’s trying to waste their valuable time on dating someone you’re not all that compatible with, outside the bedroom?
Unless you’re just looking for something casual. And if so, by all means…girl’s gotta eat.
But if you are looking for something casual – are you interested in having your intuition potentially blurred by this ‘love drug’, when you’ve already decided for yourself that a relationship isn’t what’s best for you right now? Because that’s not only unfair to your partner, it ain’t fair to you!
I’m just sayin’. Spend time thinking about your boundaries, and your wants and needs when it comes to having sex with a new partner. If you don’t, oxytocin could very well get in the way of what you know in your heart of hearts is right for you.
We’re at risk for a variety of reasons when we date, let alone when we have sex, because we are inherently putting ourselves in a vulnerable position – opening ourselves up to getting hurt, and not getting what we want.
The more honest we are with ourselves about what we’re seeking, the more likely that risk will eventually pay off – when we find what we’re looking for.
If you’re able to genuinely spend time thinking about this (and eventually, share it with a deserving partner), only the best of results will come your way.
Oh, and use a condom. Or whatever. But you already know that :)