The First Date & First Kiss
So the whole purpose of this dating thing is to eventually rub your genitalia together with someone, right? It’s crude to say, I know! But ultimately that’s what all of us are after (okay, maybe not the asexual folks, but I’m pretty sure they’re not reading this).
Yes, yes, we also want that deep emotional connection, but let’s be real – without sexual intimacy, it’s just not as exciting.
Now, with respect to sexual arousal, men and women function rather differently.
Men are like microwaves – they can be turned on to maximum temperature immediately.
Women, on the other hand, are like ovens – the flame needs to stay on and stay hot for quite some time before they reach a suitable temperature.
And therein lies the (missing) rub – men want to jump quickly into sex, and women get incredibly turned off by this forwardness. It’s like putting a turkey in the oven for 45 seconds, and expecting it to be fully cooked.
As a man, for you to enjoy sexual activity, you must learn this intricate dance of warming a woman up – in other words, seduction. The first date is basically your first real audition in accomplishing this.
For her to be sexually intimate with you, she needs to feel excitement and comfort. Think of the oven again – you want a steady, consistent flame, not a raging fire that will completely char the inside.
So how do you do this? How do you build excitement and comfort?
By asking her out, on a well-crafted date. Surely you didn’t think you could hide behind your phone forever, right?
As the man, it’s your job to move things forward, to ask her out. This is not to say that women cannot do this – just that they typically prefer the man to take this initiative, especially early on. And honestly, I prefer it that way, too – it gives me a way to get clarity. If she’s willing to make time for a date, she’s at least somewhat sexually interested in me. If she’s not, then she’s not – I’m not interested in crying about it or changing her mind, I just want to know so I can move along.
Plus, this man-asks-the-woman-out dynamic gives me an opportunity to set myself apart from other guys, because most guys are too nervous to do it, or clueless when it comes to planning first dates.
Don’t Be Clueless
So you’ve got a cutie who is ready to go out with you, but where to go?
If you consult the movies, you’ll typically suggest dinner & a movie, perhaps with a bouquet of flowers. Or you could be like every other guy out there, and do either coffee or drinks, but a lot of women have told me that just feels like a letdown. It works, but it’s nothing interesting (i.e. no excitement).
I’m not a fan of any of these options. First dates are kind of awkward – you’re sort of interested in this girl, but you don’t really know each other, and you’re hoping to maybe smash faces together later, but you’re not sure how she feels about the whole situation. It’s already a mess – why make it worse by putting a ton of pressure on the conversation?
It’s a lot easier (and way more fun) to get to know someone by starting with an activity together, which naturally gives you something to talk about. It could literally be as simple as a stroll in the park – where there may be interesting people, dogs, or other scenery to spark conversation.
My favorite first date plan, which I’ve used for about 90% of my first dates, is as follows:
Air hockey & the arcade
A quick bite to eat
A quiet, private place
Here’s why this is fantastic and works so well (a.k.a. allow me to toot my own horn).
Flexible Time Commitment
There are a lot of weird dudes out there, and I know you are not one of them…but she doesn’t know that, yet. Even if you have been nothing but nice to her.
Lots of guys are nice, until the girl doesn’t give them what they want, and then they become nasty. Unfortunately, most women have experienced some type of sexual assault (physical and verbal) from other men, so they are going to be extra careful when meeting someone new.
So (with that happy note) she’s going to be hesitant if you ask her to do something that has a big time commitment, like dinner or a movie, because making an early exit from either of those would come across rude, and that makes women uncomfortable, because our society tells them they have to be nice & compliant.
You want to suggest an activity that she can quickly exit from if she gets uncomfortable, but that you can keep doing if you’re both (hopefully) having a good time.
Interactive Is Better
She is SO used to being invited to dinner or coffee or drinks that almost anything else is exciting. Playing air hockey is something most people haven’t done since they were kids, so this is really an invitation to kick back and be a kid again – in other words, to have fun. Ultimately, that’s the goal – to have fun together. My dating coach would tell me to think, “what would be the most fun right now?” if I didn’t know what to do.
Here’s how I’ll usually pitch it, on text, or ideally, on a phone date (the actual first date).
Me: “How are your air hockey skills?”
Her: “Probably terrible haha, I haven’t played in forever.”
Me: “Good, then I’ll totally kick your butt :) how about Lucky Strike Thursday at 7 PM?”
Doing some sort of competitive activity helps you learn way more about each other than a simple conversation over drinks. Does she play dirty? Does she just let me win? Does she flirt back? Bowling or board games are also other good options, as they give you an easy opportunity to playfully tease each other, or even touch, such as with a playful push, or a high-five/hug when saying “good game.” All of this adds to the excitement.
Moving between venues adds to this as well, as you get to know each other in different environments – it’s like going on multiple mini dates. Movement creates energy, and opens up the opportunity for you to experience more things (like a street performance, a caroler, or even opportunities for her to catch you checking out her body). My dates typically took place at a mall, which usually has interesting things going on, not to mention multiple options for food and quiet places.
Show up to the date early, looking and smelling good (jeans and a button-down shirt is a solid first date outfit). Don’t be on your phone – just wait at the venue in a confident posture – she may see you before you see her. If she’s late, don’t make a big deal about it. Greet her with a smile, a hug, and a teasing “thank you for dressing up for me ;)” (works whether she has or hasn’t). Chat with her a bit (ask how her day has been, be ready to share about yours, etc.) and then ask her if she is ready for the activity. Assuming she is, lead her into it.
A game of air hockey is usually just a couple of minutes, and when it’s done, I’ll flirt with her regardless of the outcome – giving her a hard time for beating a guy in a wheelchair (tears optional) or telling her “they don’t call me the king for nothing.”
I’ll ask if she wants to go for another round or two (for best-out-of-3) and when we are done with air hockey, I’ll ask if she wants to play some arcade games. Then I’ll ask if she’s hungry, and then eventually if she feels comfortable going to a quiet place and chatting.
At any point, either of us has the option to end the date, or keep it going. By respecting her freedom to leave at any point, and checking in with her about continuing, you show her that you respect her consent, which makes her WAY more comfortable with the idea of being sexually intimate with you. Even if she is physically stronger than you (as is usually true in my case) she wants to know that her no will be respected, and that she won’t feel obligated or forced into doing anything sexual that she doesn’t want to do.
It’s important to have a default plan in mind (yes, even when you will kiss her – more on that in a bit) and to be flexible depending on how you’re both feeling. Women want both – a man who cares enough to have a plan, and who respects her enough to be flexible with it.
Sometimes I’ve been on a date where the girl just says yes to everything I have planned out, and other times she doesn’t even want to do the first activity – I just roll (ha) with it, and I’ve had great dates in both cases.
Guys often make the mistake of not having a plan, or just having the beginning of one, and then asking the girl “what do you want to do next?” Do that and she’s going to want to go home, buddy.
Do some research and have some options for the entire date – you can really set yourself apart here, with simple things like making sure the restaurant fits her dietary restrictions, or showing her something related to a conversation you had when you go to a quiet place. She will really appreciate these little things you do to show her you care.
Guys also make the mistake of getting upset when she wants to change the plan. Be sure to have some backup options in case she’s just not feeling up for something, and be ready to throw everything out for something spontaneous. Remember, as long as you are having fun together, that’s all that matters.
I went on a date once where the girl showed up and told me she actually hates arcades, so we just skipped it, dropped by a salad bar, and then went back to my place to make out on the couch. Who fuckin’ cares about air hockey, dude?
It’s also not necessarily bad if she ends the first date early. A girl I dated for a few months ended our first date just an hour into it, because she needed to let her dog out. I was confused, because she seemed to be really into me, but that’s all it was, her dog just needed to go to the bathroom, and we had a really great, longer second date.
If things have gone well, you will probably have worked up an appetite. Guys are typically expected to pay for the meal at the first date. She may offer, but unless she insists, just pay for the both of you. I’ll usually smile and say “I’ve got it this time” which is a subtle suggestion that there will be a next time, and that she can get it then. Yay (almost) equality!
When choosing where to go, it’s best to stick with a fast casual restaurant, like a salad bar or sandwich shop. I do enjoy getting all dressed up and going to a nice restaurant, but that would become quite expensive to do with every girl I go on a first date with. Plus, I want to see if she can hang in a more casual setting, because I’m not particularly fancy (to my friends who would disagree, shut your faces).
Plus, I want to know that she is into me for me, not for the fancy dinners I can provide her. She may also feel uncomfortable with you spending a lot of money on her, as it may make her feel a sense of obligation to spend time with you, which is definitely not sexy. Spring for the guac if you’re feeling particularly enamored ;)
Eating together is a really connective activity – we do it with the people closest to us. So this is your chance to really get to know her. Make sure you are smiling, maintaining good eye contact, and giving her your undivided attention. Slap yourself if you even think of pulling your phone out. Listen and ask good follow-up questions – be curious, ask her what you want to know, it’s okay to go deep, but let her know she doesn’t have to answer if it makes her uncomfortable.
Hopefully she asks about you too, but if she doesn’t, go ahead and share a little bit. Tell your story, but be humble (or sarcastically overconfident, like me!). She might be shy to ask about you, or just a fucking terrible conversationalist…
Ugh, sorry, the last girl I had a phone date with droned on about her abusive ex-husband for 45 minutes, and I’m a little salty about it. The truth is that girls can be bad at dating, too. I have little patience for poor conversation skills, because it is such an easy skill to build, so make sure to do your part (i.e. read my fabulous blog post on having amazing conversations). Worst case, you’ll have a horror story to share with your friends, or on a future date – asking about her “worst first date experience” will usually lead to a great conversation, and make you see much better in comparison to that guy. You might also learn a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t.
Hopefully your conversation goes much better then mine did, and you both want to keep spending time together. Maybe even a little sexy time?
If she said yes to a date, she is probably at least somewhat excited about the prospect of sexual intimacy with you, so while you do want to build excitement, the more important thing to focus on is comfort. She’s not yet sure if you are safe.
Not just physically safe (although that is incredibly important) but also emotionally safe – she’s wondering if she wants to be that vulnerable with you. Does she want to show you that side of her – how her hands feel, how her lips taste, how she looks without makeup in the morning – that most people don’t see, and that she probably has some insecurities around?
Our society judges women SO harshly on their appearance, their desire for sexual intimacy, and even their experience of sexual assault, that women have to be very careful about who they open themselves up to in this intimate way. Slut shaming is a real thing, and still ruins many women’s lives.
With all this in mind, you want to structure the date so that it is progressively intimate, so she has time to warm up to the idea of being sexually intimate with you.
So in the case of my fan-fucking-tastic date plan, she gets to feel comfortable doing an activity together, and then eating together (which is more intimate) and then eventually sitting in a quiet place together (which is very intimate).
Let’s talk about this last one – because that’s where my moves come out and the ladies can’t resist meeee! I’m only half joking, but this is definitely the most fun part of the date.
It might help to have some sort of “excuse” to transition to it – like showing her a nice view, or some artwork at your place, or even listening to music in your car. It can help you push past the nervousness, because it’s a little scary to get to this level of intimacy. Nobody wants to be a creep. Except guys with vans.
Oh wait, I have a van. Dammit. Anyway…
To be clear – girls are not stupid. They know what the fuck we’re doing here; they’re just going to choose whether or not to go along with it. I used the “view” excuse a lot – I would take my date up to a high floor in the Microsoft building when I used to work there (shh, don’t tell anyone). There’s probably footage of me making out on a security camera somewhere.
If you want to be even more ballsy (which, if she’s into you, can be a real turn on) you can smirk as you say, “Would you like to go back to my place? Because I’d really like to make out with you right now ;)”
Whoo-wee! Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?
Anyway, respect her decision, whatever it is. If it’s a no, keep enjoying where you’re at, and perhaps give it another try after you have built some more comfort, or on the next date.
All right, so she said yes to go to the quiet place, and you’re wondering WHAT THE HELL DO I DO NOW?!?!
Don’t worry bro, I gotchu.
So, just as you were progressively intimate with respect to the activity on the date, you are now going to be progressively intimate with her body.
So that means no, don’t go reaching into her pants just yet. When you’ve chatted for a few minutes (about whatever bullshit you wanted to show her, perhaps) make eye contact and ask her if you can hold her hand.
Let her get comfortable with that for a bit, while you keep chatting, and then ask her if you can put your arm around her back, or hold her in your lap, with her head nestled into your shoulder (this is my personal favorite).
You can then ask her if you can play with her hair, and keep getting more and more intimate.
(Good God, I can’t believe I’m getting turned on while writing this out – side note: want to know how to turn women on through texting? Read erotic novels…holy hell, porn is family-friendly by comparison)
Okay, okay – the big moment – the first kiss. That’s what you’re wondering about, right?
All right, here’s how it’s done, gentleman. You’ve got 3 options:
Ask her if you can kiss her. Pretty simple, right? There’s a lot of judgment around this in the dating advice community, but it’s really not a big deal. I think the next two options are a little sexier, but it’s not going to make or break the situation. If you feel nervous about the other options, just go with this one, because then at least you will have tried.
Say “hey, just FYI, I’m going to kiss you sometime in the next five minutes” and then SHUT YOUR MOUTH. Just look into her eyes (remember to smile, you fucking serial killer). Her reaction will tell you everything – she will back off or say she is not ready, or giggle/say okay/tease you back if she is. If it’s a yes, then it’s just up to you to decide how long you want to wait – it can be really fun to tease her by almost going for it, and then pulling back and smiling. Doing this a few times before actually kissing her can make her all hot and bothered, which is really fun ;)
Just feel it out and go for it – if she’s up for it, she will usually be making heavy eye contact with you, touching and petting you back, and enjoying being close to you. You can still tease her in the same way as option #2 above, but just be sure you know she’s into it. You will get better at knowing once you’ve been through it a few times – until then, stick with #1 or #2.
For all types of sexual intimacy, your options are basically the same:
Ask her if you can do it
Tell her you want to do it, and then wait for her reaction
Try the thing you want to do, and then check in for her reaction
If you want to do something more intimate than what you are currently doing, you probably want to be more cautious, and lean toward #1 or #2. But if you’re kissing her cheek, for example, and you want to kiss her forehead next, just go for it, and see if she leans into it or turns away (#3).
When I said to ask her to do all those things before the kiss (above) you can easily swap in option #2 or #3 instead. Ultimately, you want to do what feels right – there’s no need to be Mr. overaggressive alpha male about it. She will know you are faking it.
Before we keep going, a quick caveat: as you are moving through these locations on her body (a.k.a. physically escalating) I want you to really pause and savor them. I know the monkey in your brain just wants you to get further and further, but remember that this is another person you are connecting with.
Pause and just chat with her little bit – this is a pretty intimate thing you are doing, and not something you do with a ton of people (unless you are me, jk). You probably have some type of connection with this girl – honor that. Tell her what you find beautiful about her, tell her what nice thing she smells like, or what nice thing she taste like. This is important in further developing the comfort you have already built.
Keep teasing her as well (for excitement) such as by pulling away and saying “that’s all you get for now” after you kiss her, or kissing around the area that really makes her moan, making her want it even more.
(I’m still getting turned on, in case you’re wondering.)
After you have kissed her lips, you can move on to other areas on her face – her cheeks, her nose, her forehead, her temples, her ears, her neck. You can be light and gentle, or a little rough, such as with nibbling on her ear or sucking on her lips as you pull away – just start slowly and see how she reacts before you go all vampire on her. Watch & listen to her body – it will guide you. She will usually move towards you or let out some sounds of pleasure for things that she likes – keep coming back to those things, in between venturing somewhere new to see how she responds. You can explore every inch of her body in this way – her mouth, breasts, and vulva (the correct term for what’s between her legs) typically get most of the attention, but for many women, their entire body is an erogenous zone when they are turned on.
Regarding tongue – when you’re kissing her lips, offer just A LITTLE BIT of it, and see if she reciprocates. Too much tongue can be a huge turnoff for some women, and others can’t get enough of it.
Sorry to break it to you, but you’re not going to be be particularly great at this when you start out. Perhaps a girl will even offer to give you a lesson in making out, because you are just. so. bad. at it. This happened to me – a sweet girl taught me to put one hand behind her neck, and to gently feel around the rest of her body with my other hand. It doesn’t have to be perfect (I have very imprecise control of my hands, especially when I can’t see them) and you can ask for help (see Getting Assistance below). Just know that you’ll make some mistakes, feel stupid, and ultimately get better. I asked the first girl I made out with to rate my kissing skills on a scale of 1 to 10 (DO NOT do this 🤦♂️).
More than likely, she will be really chill about it, and you guys will laugh together about the awkwardness of the whole thing, which is actually the secret ingredient to fantastic sexual intimacy.
Wrap It Up
In terms of how far you want to go, that’s really up to the both of you. Typically, shirts will come off next, which gives you more areas of her body to explore. Don’t forget to let her explore yours as well, and to tell her what you like – women find that incredibly hot. Remember the lesson on safe sex, if it gets that far, though she will likely put the brakes on before that point. You can also put the brakes on (as I often do) if you don’t feel comfortable going that far yet. It doesn’t make you any less of a man. If anything, it will probably make her want you more, because most guys CANNOT wait to get into her pants.
At any point, if she says no, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. She might still like you, but just not be comfortable going further yet. I haven’t had sex with most of the girls I dated on the first date. It might be a bummer, but if you want to retain any chance of sexual intimacy in the future, you have to be cool with it. So just back up and keep enjoying where you’re at. Just making out and feeling each other up and chatting and laughing is super fun. You can try again for the thing she said no to, when she is a little bit more warmed up, but don’t do this more than once per date, as that’s not really respecting her boundaries.
Towards the end of the date, make sure you just sit and chat for a bit, to reconnect after all the physical intimacy. It’s important to let her know that you also value the emotional connection.
Walking her back to her car/bus/etc. is a gentlemanly move, and also a great time to plan the next date, if you want one. Just say “I had a great time with you” and then pause – she will probably agree, and then if you would like, say “I’d love to see you again.”
Her reaction will give you a decent idea of whether or not she wants to go on another date – if she says yes enthusiastically, and asks when you’re available, that’s a pretty good sign. Something like “yeah, that sounds good” or “yeah, let me check my calendar when I get home” is more ambiguous, and I hate to break it to you, but usually a no. Not always though! (there’s that stupid hope) She might just need time to process (it’s this weird thing girls do). But 99% of the time, it’s a no. Honestly, it’s better to just assume it’s a no – it’ll save you a lot of angst.
In any case, before the first date, I recommend checking your calendar and having a date in mind (3-4 days into the future) for when you will be available for another date. I usually bring up the idea of a 2nd date to her at the end of the 1st date, and then leave the ball in her court. If she gets back to me with a yes or tries to find another time that works, great, if not, it’s time to move on.
Remember the goal – to make her feel excitement and comfort. If you do anything pushy, that’s a really quick path towards making her uncomfortable, which is like pouring water into the oven – things are going to cool down rather quickly, and require some serious repair to get going (if ever) again.
Hello there, my limited mobility brethren – fear not, I haven’t forgotten about you. And if you’re thinking “this guy doesn’t know what it’s like to deal with my more severe condition” then you’re fucking right, sir. But don’t you worry, my condition is progressive, so I’ll be a little closer soon enough ;)
So you’ve got a hot date (maybe from reading my 5 Tips for Dating with a Disability) and you’re worried about how you can handle all the…disability stuff on the date? It’s a reasonable concern, and just like most other things in your life, you’ll need to do a little planning ahead.
For starters, you’re obviously going to want to pick a place that is accessible for your adaptive equipment, at minimum. The mall I typically go to for dates is very wheelchair friendly, which works for me. But you don’t have to be fancy – as I said, something as simple as a stroll in the park can work. Ultimately, it’s about the connection between you and your date. And most of that is formed through conversation.
For the things that you do need assistance with, it’s helpful to have a sense of humor/flirtation about them. For example, when my date opens a heavy door for me, I’ll let my gaze linger on her butt long enough that she catches me checking her out, and then I’ll smirk at her, and say “you can keep opening doors for me all night ;)”
At the arcade I usually go to, there are several games I can’t actually play (like basketball) so I pick the ones that I can, or the ones that we can play together, like Deal or No Deal, where we can alternate choosing the suitcases, and she can hit the buttons. There is a trivia game that works like this as well, and provides plenty of opportunities to tease each other.
Ultimately, your date is going to know that some things will be different (I know you want to think that you are kinda “normal”, but you’re not, and she knows it). You’re going to need to guide her on what you need help with, because she doesn’t know you yet. It helps to have a sense of playfulness about this, but I know that’s difficult, especially with the more intimate things, like eating or sexual intimacy. I recently lost the ability to use a fork with my right hand, and I am still a little self-conscious about it, because I think the way I eat with my left hand looks ridiculous.
Humor & flirtation are great, but make sure you combine them with owning who you are. I just had to accept the fact that I do look ridiculous when I eat. I mean, come on, who are we kidding? We look like fucking weirdos when we do most things – have you seen yourself? It’s fine – your date is not going to be into you for how “normal” you come across. I think Shane Burcaw, who lives with SMA, does this really well, in his videos with his girlfriend and his book Laughing at My Nightmare. As the title suggests, he is able to laugh at himself, and just own who he is.
It’s definitely easier said than done – even Shane struggled with it. On the first night his girlfriend stayed over, he woke her up in the middle the night, and asked her if she wanted to leave the room, because he needed his dad to help him turn over. He could have just asked his girlfriend, but he felt really self-conscious.
Ultimately (why do I keep using this word?) the fact that you would trust someone with that kind of vulnerability is what will make you even more attractive (to the right person, of course – one of my previous girlfriends was definitely not on board with the helping thing, and I don’t hate her for it. Everyone is allowed to have preferences.) Having a disability forces you to be a rather strong person, and the fact that you are able to accept help from others can be very attractive, because most people are not able to do that.
When you want someone to like you, it’s easy to become self-conscious, especially if you have a disability, because there is this big obvious thing that adds complexity to being in a relationship with you. Opening yourself up past this self-consciousness does expose you to a lot of potential pain, but it also exposes you to a lot of potential joy – you can’t really have one without the other when it comes to dating.
I recently received a note from a reader with SMA, who went on a date and worked up the courage to ask his date to feed him. He didn’t have some crazy clever line, he just kind of cautiously asked, and sometimes that’s the best you can do. She was totally cool with it (I mean, she showed up to a restaurant with him, for fucks sake) and they had a great time.
There’s also an excellent movement springing up on social media, of interabled couples sharing stories of their relationships, and the caregiving involved in them. Check out the hashtag #100outof100 to learn more.
If you are having a great time dating someone, be careful about getting ahead of yourself. I know the urge is there – you want to finally feel that sense of normalcy, of being accepted by someone in a sexual capacity. To combat this, focus less on the “boyfriend/girlfriend” label and more on just what you want to do with her, like spend time together, go to fun events, hold her hand, etc. The relationship thing will naturally come from that, if you’re both feeling it. We often rush to get to that place because we think it means something, when in fact you can enjoy everything about a “relationship” without having it feel so forced right away.
In case you were wondering, yes, I do feel like a fucking psychopath for writing all of this out in such a clinical way. Maybe that’s why nobody sat down and explained it to me when I was younger. But, I’m here for you, dear reader. If you want more of this goodness, subscribe below.