I’ll admit it. I’ve had sex on the first date.
Actually, I’ve had sex before the first date, or any dates for that matter.
Ok, I agree it’s not terribly earth-shattering. A lot of people enjoy casual, non-romantic sex, but I get the same question over and over: “Don’t you want a boyfriend?” to which I respond with a firm and decidedly non-desperate “Yeah. Sure.”
Of course I want to find love. Of course I enjoy casual sex. But are the two mutually exclusive?
Can a person really find “the one” among the one-night stands?
Well, fret not, strumpets and jezebels, science has come to save the day. Anthony Paik, sociology researcher at the University of Iowa, took on this exact question in last month’s issue of Social Science Research.
Using the responses of 642 adults in the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey, Paik assessed their relationship quality with their partners. Then he compared it with the relationship context in which they and their partners first started having sex.
Let’s start with the bad news. People who became sexually involved earlier in a non-romantic context (hookups, friends with benefits, casual dating) tended to report a lower relationship quality than those who waited.
But here’s the good news. This finding could be completely explained by selection, not causation. People who don’t want a serious relationship are more likely to hook up, and if you factored them out, there was no significant difference in relationship quality.