In Defense of Sex on the First Date

For the first time, I had acted against the prevailing wisdom and I felt great

Photograph by Getty Images

When I was younger, sex on a first date was unheard of — it was completely unacceptable. If a woman had sex on a first date, she was considered a slut. For many, this is still a rule. In Steve Harvey’s book, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," he encourages women to wait ninety days before having sex with a man for the first time, if they’re interested in a long-term relationship. The idea is that women bond with men faster due to the release of oxytocin, while men bond over an extended period of time. Hence the ninety-day rule.

I will not deny that in my twenties, my oxytocin worked like Crazy Glue, bonding me to men who weren’t ready for, interested in or capable of what I wanted. But oh, how time has turned the tables.

Chris and I met through an online dating site. After my divorce, I was certain that I wanted to remarry. The thought of being a single mom actually scared me. From our conversations and his online profile, he seemed like a lovely man. He too was a single parent, recovering from the loss and despair of a difficult divorce. We agreed to meet on Christmas morning at a local Whole Foods for lunch. Both of our children were with their other parent, and it was the only time during the holiday we could find a little extra time. I had only a few hours to connect before a meeting with a group of friends for our holiday meditation and prayer event. We ate, chatted about our lives, and his love for massage and his son. I was right, he was a lovely man.

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He expressed an interest in coming with me to the meditation session, so after lunch we got in our cars to drive about a mile to the meditation/prayer event. He sat quietly observing as the group gathered together to pray. During the meditation, a strange tingling begin to happen within my body. The sensation was nearly uncontrollable. I had never experienced anything like it, especially with a stranger.

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I continued to pray and meditate as the sensation grew; it moved my breathing into a rhythmic and deep experience. I didn’t know what to do. I felt that I needed this lovely man to touch me, hold me, make love to me. But this was our first date!

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After the event ended, I threw caution to the wind and asked him if he would be willing to give me a massage. His eyes glided opened widely, as he considered my invitation. “You’ll have to come back to my house,” he said, “are you comfortable with that?” “Not really,” I said, but I didn’t want to ignore the new urges I was experiencing. I got his address and called a friend to share where I was going, just in case I didn’t come home. We both climbed into our cars and drove to his home.

His home was lovely. It was filled with photos of him and his mixed-raced son. He had books on parenting, fatherhood and spirituality. As I perused the environment, I began to settle down and feel safer. He showed me to his bedroom, where his massage table stood. I removed my clothing and laid on the table.

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Our time together was sweet and organic. He was an extraordinarily kind and generous lover. I was pleased and sated within minutes, or so it seemed. Afterward, he wanted to take me to dinner, but I wanted no such thing. I was only interested in getting home so that I could contemplate what I was feeling and the choice I had made. For the first time, I had acted against the prevailing wisdom and I felt great, invigorated and empowered.

I returned home, somewhat baffled but more excited. My previous desire for marriage was quickly morphing into curiosity about what was really true for me. I was surprised and happy that I had been able to surrender to my body’s wisdom. When he called the next day, wanting to see me again, I thanked him and kindly explained that I needed time to explore who I was as a single woman. He understood and said that I could call him anytime, if I liked.

I’ve come to learn that sex and spirituality can be powerfully intertwined, if I’m open to experiencing them that way. I’ve also found that I’m capable of having sex without crazily bonding with my partner, if I can embrace my sexual and sensual nature without judgment or societal ideals and rules. First-date sex has allowed me to relax and explore my authentic self. Oh, how the tables have turned.

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