COMMENT: Why is the notion of ‘sex on a first date’ STILL discussed?

Among the many, many theories we’ve been encouraged to internalise as young women, it appears that the one about not having sex on a first date has really proven its longevity.

In much the same way The Boy Who Cried Wolf aimed to discourage dishonesty among children, the story of The Gal Who Gave It Up On the First Date was created as a cautionary tale directed solely at single women.

The story goes that a woman who has sex on a first date has no chance of seeing that bloke again, will spend countless nights waiting by the phone wondering what went wrong before eventually stumbling across his marriage announcement in a national newspaper.

(His bethrothed will, of course, wait until their wedding night before the big event.)

Handed down from generation to generation, the tale mournfully insists that the girl who gives it up won't get the guy.

But, here's the thing, maybe she doesn't want to.

Maybe she only wants sex. Maybe he only wants sex. Or maybe it has absolutely no bearing on the future of the relationship when both parties have (rightfully) moved beyond the scare tactics of those who have gone before us.

Suffice to say, our male counterparts were rarely subjected to the same diatribe; with the vast majority told, instead, to go out and sow their wild oats before settling down.

And who were they to sow them with, exactly? Well, that would be the single women who should know better than to have sex on a first date, most likely.

And the cycle continues.

While there’s little doubt that the narrative has been diluted in recent decades – hardly surprising considering we live in an age when you can swipe and shag without ever making it to the first ‘date’ –  it would be folly to suggest that it has disappeared completely.

This week alone, numerous headlines have raised the question as to whether sex on a first date would make or break a possible union, while recent research has been devoted to examining whether engaging in the no-pants-dance ‘too early’ has the potential to ruin a burgeoning romance.

And while the vast majority of us insist that those cautionary tales have little effect on our decision to get down and dirty on Date One, there is a lingering fear –  among some of us – that those very tales hold more than a grain of truth.

Why else would women still discuss the ‘third-date rule’ in 2017?  Why else would some of us wonder if our long-term partner ever reflected on our decision to do it on Date One? And why else does research into the topic still garner press attention?

Simply put, it's because some deep-seated notions just aren’t that easy to shake off.

And yet in a time when rape culture is ever-prevalent and in some dark corners of societies even celebrated, it beggars belief that judgement regarding the act of consensual sex is still making headlines.

Whether it’s the first or forty-first date, if it’s consensual, why is it even up for discussion?

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