Sex on the first date: what’s the big deal about it? I mean, it’s a clear and obvious assumption that two people who are attracted to each other physically will also have some type of sexual chemistry brewing under the surface of what’s viewed as a budding relationship. So why the big fuss over the appropriate moment to have sex for the first time?

The right time to jump in the sack is really a subjective thing, but many people choose to stick to a standard that’s been deemed “safe” by societal standards. There’s so much pressure for two individuals starting something new to follow a set of “normal” behaviors deemed healthy for new relationships. But those standards aren’t always comfortable for everyone.

For many, the idea of having sex on the first date is terrifying and an absolute deal breaker as far as courting further is concerned. Then there are those who believe first-date sex doesn’t have an effect on the dynamic whatsoever. In polling over 500 people about first-date sex and its effect on a long-term relationship, I discovered that there’s both an underside and a silver lining, depending on the mentality of the person involved in the relationship.

Sex can be difficult for many people to face the truth about just on its own. But when sex is connected to the situation of a new love interest, the question of what to do with desire and when to strike up the arousal can be tricky. It’s interesting that something that created us all, something so strong and positive at its core, can make or break relationships before they even begin. This doesn’t have to always be the case.

When two people can be mature enough to discuss the pros and cons of decisions they make collectively, it gives each person a better perspective of what can come down the road. So in the case of sex on the first date, does it hurt or help long-term commitment? That answer is a yes and a no, depending on the two people involved.

It Can Help

Some people view sex on the first date as a “test drive” of what’s to come. Sex is a very important part of a relationship, even if one doesn’t want to admit it openly. And going forward without an understanding of sexual compatibility can be viewed as walking into it blindly. Being open and honest in the beginning is what builds trust over time. For a man or a woman looking to build something solid for an extended period of time (quite possibly until the end of their days), knowledge of how well s/he will perform during erotic hour with their love interest is critical.

Of the people polled about this topic, those in favor of sex on the first night often had progressive ways of thinking about love, sex and relationships. Many committed to relationships that started off with immediate sex and are still going strong today. For them, right-away sex wasn’t an indication of someone ready to give their love to anyone, but a sign of true desire and interest.

After all, what can say “I want you in my life” more? Many of those polled also agreed that choosing to have sex directly takes away the pressure of knowing if a person is just in the relationship for sex or if there’s more substance beyond the sexual attraction.

Sometimes the build-up to a sexual experience can put more pressure on a person that what’s needed. So when that desire is acted upon and then put to the side, a couple then has the clear focus to determine if the attraction was deeper than just lustful desire. For many, sex on the first date isn’t harmful, but helpful in gauging exactly where the relationship will go and how it will play out.

It Can Hurt

The flipside of this situation holds that first-date sex can ruin a person’s chances of a long-term relationship. But once again, it’s dependent upon the people involved in the situation. If each person comes into the scenario with different views of what the relationship should be, sex on the first date could be disastrous.

He may be thinking he wants to get through this one date just to get to the nightcap and move on to the next challenge; she could be looking for more than just a dinner date and a pat on the booty. Or vice versa.

Some may use sex on the first date as a way to bait a mate into being with him/her, hoping it secures commitment when it may not. Of the people I polled, women were more cautious than men about entering into sexual relationships on the first date for fear of being slut shamed, used, or passed over because of a man being uncomfortable with such sexual openness. For them sex on the first date leads to nothing but being sexualized and used as a sex toy.

Many of these same women also believed sex on the first date takes the excitement out of a desire that should be built up over time, and makes one feel pressured to rush into something that may not be the best for her emotional state. Women viewed first-date sex as damaging more than the men who responded, and it makes sense because of the emotional attachment women typically associate with sex.

The Choice Is Yours

Yes, there are a plethora of relationship books on the market that may advise people to avoid sexual contact as long as possible with the intent of building a stronger bond. Yet in the end, the decision is up to the two individuals involved. Clear and honest communication about sexual views and the expectations of the budding relationship should definitely take place on the first date. Because whether or not sex happens after the bill is paid, there has to be a decision about where the dynamic is going.

Whether the first date results in being friend-zoned or claimed as a monogamous lover, sex will always be a major determining factor in the equation for whether the relationship sinks or swims. How sex will determine that is ultimately up to you. Going with what feels right for the energy between two people is always better than following a code of conduct that won’t necessarily define the union. Being truthful with self and truthful with others is ultimately the first step to building any long-lasting relationship.