5 reasons not to have sex on a first date that have nothing to do with “making someone wait”

Just like people will have opinions about every other part of your life, there are a lot of “shoulds” about the timing of first-time sex. Despite what anyone else says, choosing to have sex on the first date is strictly between you and your partner. Feel free to ignore the judgey eyes that may widen or roll at your decision — how long people date before having sex is honestly none of anyone else’s business, as long as everything is, of course, totally consensual.

It’s true that sleeping with someone you just met is still generally viewed as acceptable behavior for men. Even the expectations for why women “should” say no to sex are extremely sexist, like the fact that jumping in bed quickly makes us appear “easy” (whatevs), not to mention the pressure placed on us to opt out of physical intimacy strictly for the purpose of “making someone wait” for sex, which is honestly really manipulative and gross, since the whole strategy is based on leveraging a desire for sex to get someone into a relationship that they maybe don’t want.

But all of those very bad reasons to wait aside, if you seriously don’t want to have sex on a first date, here are perfectly legitimate reasons for saying no that have nothing to do with “making someone wait.”

1There’s no chemistry.

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This is pretty much standard regardless of whether it’s the first date or the 50th. If you’re willing to give this person a second date, maybe you’ll feel a spark, but if you’re just not feeling them on the first date, it’s a perfect reason to pass on sex.

2Because you’re celibate.

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Unlike the concept of “making someone wait,” an individual’s choice to remain celibate has nothing to do with the other person. It’s something you choose to do for yourself, not to get a reaction out of someone else or to abide by outdated, sexist attitudes towards women who have sex on the first date.

3You’d rather wait.

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Again, this decision to skip the sex on a first date is personal choice that usually has nothing to do with anyone else. You’re simply choosing to put your feelings over those of someone who’s basically a stranger. It’s know that it’s up to you to do what makes you feel best. Maybe you find the idea of first-date sex to be awkward, or you’re just *not* that into this person. Whatever the reason, don’t get down on the first date unless both of you really want to.

4You’re on your period.

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When you agreed to go out with this person, a steamy romp in the sheets wasn’t totally out of the question — that is, until you got your period the day before. Because both menstruation and sex are natural, normal processes, there’s no reason to be ashamed of period sex. Obviously go for it if you want to. But if you don’t wanna get down with someone because you’re a bleeding, cramping, chocolate-craving mess, don’t be ashamed of that either.

5You’d rather wait until they get tested.

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As unromantic as it sounds, there needs to be a convo about how often your sex partners are tested for STDs. If you’re on a first date with someone and that topic has yet to come up, it’s a perfectly legit reason to hold off any sexual activity. (Here’s a helpful hint if you feel like getting frisky on future first dates: If you use Tinder, the online dating app helps you find free places to get tested for STDs.)

Again, sex can be a huge deal that not everyone takes lightly, and that’s fair, but there’s no reason why saying no should feel anything less than empowering. It’s way past time to dismiss those outdated and ridiculously one-sided standards that keep us from expressing ourselves freely, sexual or otherwise.

If you want to get down with someone new, then take the proper safety measures and proceed as you please. Overall, just do what feels right for you, even if that means saying no to sex.