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Do you think having sex with a man on the first date/encounter with him ruins the chances of a future relationship ever working out?
—Legs and Fingers Crossed
I’m going to be blunt here and say there are far, far too many variables for me to possibly offer a conclusive answer to this query. It depends on the man, of course. It depends on your own views on the matter (are you all-in, eager-but-still-guilty, or do you feel pressured into sex?). It depends on what you mean by “working out” (a lifetime together, a good few years; how do you — both—define success?).
However, I can say, unequivocally, that if you both enter the encounter rarin’ to go and then he bolts? Good riddance.
See, I feel like what you’re asking here really boils down to, “Do assholes exist?” And yes, Crossed. Yes, they definitely do. There are people out there who think that someone who enthusiastically enjoys and seeks out sex isn’t worth settling down with. Which, OK, I guess. That’s their prerogative. But any potential partner has the responsibility to make that known at the outset.
Radical sincerity, radical honesty, radical self-awareness: These are what correlate with longevity in any relationship. It’s not the specific choices you make, but how you make them and how you communicate about them.
If you’re cool with diving in bits first, if you’re not going to hold it against either your partner or yourself, then you can trust that there are others who feel the same way. Failure is not inevitable along this path.
But, Crossed, if you’re asking because you’ve been receiving warnings along those lines from family, you might want to re-examine your own biases — when you’re raised with certain values imbued in you since childhood, you might discover that they affect your perspective more than is obvious on the surface.
The bottom line is: Sex doesn’t determine the worth of a relationship. No doubt you’re familiar with the nauseating common axiom, “Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?” Ask yourself, Crossed: Do you want to be bought? Do you want to be owned? Or do you want to be in equal partnership with someone who trusts your ability to make decisions about your own body? Remember, you’re always giving the milk for free, even if someone “buys the cow” — marital rape has only been illegal in the U.S. since … (double checks) (dies a little inside) 1993!
You need to make the call for what you want out of any given situation. If you find someone who is compatible with you on an ethical level, and if you’re forthright with one another, then enjoying yourself shouldn’t be a drawback. If you don’t share a baseline understanding of right and wrong, or if you find that you’re not able to communicate openly, then the relationship won’t have much of a future, first encounters aside.
This article was originally published in Little Village 2022 issues.