Is Sex on the First Date a Relationship Killer?

Nov 3, 2021

You’ve decided you’re ready to put yourself back out there on the dating scene in an effort to land a relationship. You’ve downloaded Hinge (or Bumble, POF, etc.), put thought into your profile, and chose pictures from your best angle. You’ve been swiping and found a few matches. One, in particular, piques your interest. The conversation flows easily, he’s checking the boxes, and it’s feeling right. He asks you out to dinner for Friday, and the date is everything you were hoping for. He asks you to come back to his place for a drink. You’re excited but can’t help but wonder…is sex on the first date a relationship killer?

Reality Check 

If you’re worried that having sex on the first date is going to make a guy or gal think less of you and thereby not consider a relationship with you, it’s time to shift your thinking, babe. According to a poll in the UK, “58% of men and 56% of women have had sex on the first night that they met their long term partner.” ( This is great news for those who worry early sex can destroy a potential relationship. Attitudes on sex and dating have evolved so much so that we actually need to shift our thinking when it comes to sex, dating, and relationships. 

Great news, right? Not so fast. 

If you’re just hopping back into the dating scene, it’s important to read the room. Dating these days is so much more casual than in past times, and while the above statistic is positive, it’s important to check the context and look deeper at a potential bae. 

The Real Question Is…

Does this person even want a relationship?”

So many people talk about wanting a relationship these days, but let’s be real- casual sex is easy, accessible (especially as a woman), and often free of messy feelings and responsibility for another person. This is part of why many people choose to enter strictly sexual relationships, such as friends with benefits. Many people on the dating scene just aren’t wanting long term. The pandemic has exhausted so many people, and it takes effort for a relationship. (Crazy, right?) 

So what does this mean for the people searching for a real, lasting relationship? 

is sex on the first date a relationship killer

Talking Your Intentions

Looking back at your conversations with this potential suitor- have you been clear on what you’re looking for? By that, I mean, have you verbalized to this person that you want a relationship? 

Let’s think about this for a minute. 

Every time you chat with a match, there’s always the inevitable question, “What are you looking for?” (And if they don’t ask, you need to.) It’s so important to be honest about what you want. It will help weed out people that don’t share your intentions. If you say bluntly, “I want a relationship.”, you are telling this potential suitor what you want. You’re being direct and forthcoming. There’s nothing shady in that statement. In being direct, the match will either get on board “Awesome, me too.” Or conversely, say, “That’s not really what I’m looking for right now.” While the latter can be disappointing- you’re saving yourself the trouble of investing time in someone who isn’t interested in the same path. 

Now, if you are trying to be playful and casual, you might say something like, “Oh, I’m open to what I’m looking for.” You’re basically giving the green light on fun without commitment unintentionally. This signals to the other person that this isn’t necessarily a relationship path, that you’re open to casual sex. Let’s be clear- there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want. 

Their Intentions

In sharing your intentions, it’s essential to know their thoughts as well. Just like what you may have stated- what words did they use? 

Are they looking for a relationship? Or are they open to possibilities, keeping it casual, not sure, or they’ll know when they see it? These answers leave room for interpretation. 

If your potential partner isn’t forthcoming, be clear and set expectations. If someone is used to being shot down and blocked for wanting a sex-only relationship, they may be less likely to be forthright. Take matters into your own hands, ask as directly as possible, and make sure their words match their actions. Does he say he’s open to a relationship but invite you to “hang out”? That boy is looking for booty and isn’t focused on a true relationship. 

At this point, you might be asking yourself- “So what?” What does the intention matter? If we hit it off and have a great time, that could still lead to a relationship, right? 

Not So Fast 

Having sex on the first date can kill a relationship for exactly two reasons and two reasons only. 

1. The sex was bad. Let’s be honest here, sex is great, but when it’s bad, it’s bad. 

  • You aren’t comfortable communicating your needs yet. If you are shy about expressing your needs, like “A little to the left!” “Faster, please!” “Slow down a bit!” It can be unsatisfying. 
  • You have different turn-ons or sexual kinks that come out before you’ve been able to communicate them. Maybe your partner has a foot fetish you weren’t totally prepared for.
  • Your sex style is incompatible. They like it slow and sweet, and you wanted it rough, or vice versa. 

For any of those reasons or something else entirely, you might just not want to repeat the experience. Sex is super important to a relationship, so it’s a relationship killer if you don’t want to repeat it. 

2. They didn’t want a relationship in the first place. 

  • If the other party doesn’t want a relationship, having sex isn’t going to magically change that. 
  • Even if the sex is off the chain- they may want to continue having sex with you but not turn the relationship into anything else. And that’s okay. We can’t change people.
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The Good News

Remember, the question is, “Will sex on a first date kill a relationship?” 

This doesn’t mean that sex on the first date is bad at all! Consenting adults can do whatever they please. Even if you’re looking for a relationship- it’s totally okay to want to have fun and enjoy yourself in the meanwhile. Staying celibate is cool if you want to wait for your forever person, but it’s healthy to casually have a sexual outlet and date. 

  • Maybe you meet someone you really hit it off with but don’t see a future for whatever reason. There’s nothing wrong with having fun. There’s no rule that says you can’t continue to date with a relationship in mind and enjoy sex with another partner. 
  • Safety first! Don’t neglect your safety and the safety of your partner. Get tested, wear a condom, and be open with other partners that you’re seeing other people. 

At the End of the Day…

Who you have sex with and when you have sex with them is your choice! The dating pool is past judging you for getting down on the first date. 

Just remember: 

If you want a relationship, check the other person’s intentions and communicate yours to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

If they want a relationship with you, having sex on the first date won’t ruin it- bad sex might. 

Happy dating! 


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