“It’s just now that I’m getting back into the dating scene after a few months of a buffer between the end of a 4-year relationship and now. I’ve never really done the traditional dating thing though—meeting a guy, going out, ending up as a couple and so on. It seems that the few dates I’ve been on lately have all culminated in a puzzled look by my suitors when I won’t put out on the first date. Is this normal with men today?” –Jeanne in Montreal
Firstly, thanks for the question, Jeanne, and many congrats on getting back in the saddle. I know how hard it is, and I myself went on an 8-month streak of having no girls in my life after a messy breakup back in 2004. A self-induced drought, if you will. Anyway, as I said, mad props on getting back out there. And, on behalf of men, I’m sorry that guys have made you feel uncomfortable for not wanting to “put out” on the first date. You should never be made to feel badly for a decision like that, but I’m sure you know that already, and that wasn’t your question. So….
Is it normal for men? Probably. I don’t think there has ever been a time when men didn’t hope that a woman they are sexually attracted to would put out—be it first date, an interaction with a bank teller, class with an attractive professor, etc etc etc. The truth is, we think about sex every time we see a sexually attractive woman. Every time. Not just some girls, and not just some of the time. We’re genetically wired to do so. Now, the problem with this occurs when a passing thought, or a fingers-crossed-hope, turns into an expectation.
I think it’s quite inappropriate for a man to expect you to put out on a first date, if only for the amount of pressure that puts on you. If that puzzled look turned into an annoyed look, I don’t think you should even give them a second date. I sincerely hope you never let yourself fall into the trap of feeling obligated to do something simply because the other party holds an expectation. If it’s just a puzzled look though, then let them be puzzled! Throw a wink and a smirk at them before you close the door—I guarantee that he’ll be thinking about you non-stop until he sees you next.
The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with sex on a first date. It doesn’t make you “fast” or “loose”. If you feel chemistry, and it feels right, then do it. There’s no need to rely on what your mother’s generation would think about it. In this day and age, I don’t think anyone would think twice about it. Of course, there is something to be said about the whole cat-and-mouse, thrill-of-the-chase thing. Boys, and especially one that is very confident, or very used to girls throwing themselves at him, might be puzzled when you don’t act the way he expects you to. As I said, don’t feel pressured by this. And also, don’t feel like it’s socially unacceptable to put out if that’s what you genuinely want to do.
The trick is, do what feel right to you, and let the boys choose to either accept that, or f*ck off.
PS: When I met my fiancée, she didn’t come home with me after our first date, and it made me crazy in the best possible way.