There is a problematic and flat-out wrong idea that not having sex on the first date, delaying sex or being on a sex date/hookup app means that a person is not available or is uninterested in a relationship. Many great potential partners are told by others, while being deeply open and interested in a relationship, that they will only meet up for a date because they want a partner, not a hookup. We are bizarrely trapped in a sex-phobic myth that sex is not a legit form of intimacy or connection.
Going for dinner or coffee is a great way to find out about what TV shows someone watches, what their career goals are and whether or not they want kids. But full compatibility, deep affection and full depth intimacy is found out with sexual exploration.
And that list leaves out the vital importance of sexual compatibility if you want a long-term monogamous relationship. Please do not think that if you love someone enough, or find them hot enough, that good sex will just happen. It doesn’t. Sexual compatibility is its own level of chemistry.
I literally laugh out loud when I hear someone say, “I’m delaying sex because I want to really get to know this guy.” What?! Sex is really getting to know someone! Is sex for you just a meaningless and empty banging of genitals? Sex has no value or intimacy in it?
This person both misuses sex, which can be one of the most powerful tools for bonding and communication of love, and is also probably one of the worst sex partners to have. Yawn! And funny enough, this same person will also ask for monogamy because they want to keep this empty impersonal activity just between them and their primary partner.
See the nonsensical hypocrisy of their argument?
This is an example of how confused and afraid everyone is of sex. Sex is a sign you want to get to know someone; sex is a way to learn about how much closeness, intimacy and affection someone wants and enjoys; and sex is a must if you want to find a long-term committed relationship.
Sex will lead to being seen again and more texting if there is chemistry and compatibility beyond sex — and, if not, it’s good to know that sooner than later. Many great loves and long-term relationships all began with sex on the first date. And many psychotherapy patients of mine have had to end a few relationships when sex was delayed, even after many great dates, because finally having sex taught them they were definitely not meant to be sex partners, or definitely not meant to be monogamous (sex has to be good to commit to that). That left them as friends or a fun hookup.
Sex is a part of dating, so have no shame in wanting sex first to assess chemistry and compatibility because of how serious you are about long-term commitment and partnership. And for those single ones wanting to cuff up, it’s OK to use sex dates as a form of boyfriend-hunting. How soon you have sex depends on how soon you really want to get to know someone, and can actually show how serious you are about wanting a partner.
Dr. Chris Donaghue is a lecturer, therapist and host of the LoveLine podcast, a weekly expert on The Amber Rose Show, and a frequent co-host on TV series The Doctors. He previously hosted WE tv’s Sex Box and Logo’s Bad Sex. He authored the book Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture and has been published in various professional journals and top magazines, from The New York Times and Newsweek to Cosmo and National Geographic. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.