At Cosmo, we're all about breaking the rules, so when the new book landed on our desks, we were inspired to launch our own investigation. There is one variable, however, that almost never feeds into the equation: whether you "gave it up" too soon. There's only one problem.…We hooked up on the first date." "If the moment feels right, and there's chemistry, why not sleep together?We polled almost 1,000 18- to 35-year-olds about their attitudes on sex on the first date and whether they've actually done it. It's a misconception that is held by millions (spoiler alert: Cosmo's poll found that 83 percent of women believe men think less of a woman who has sex on the first date), but the truth is, most guys just don't think like that (67 percent of guys polled say they absolutely don't). In the history of planet Earth, no guy has ever said, "She's awesome. " says my friend Teddy, a designer, who has the guts to say what most guys really think.
"If you know that sleeping with someone won't bring out your best or will make you needy, it's a good idea to wait," says Andrea Syrtash, my cowriter on the book. Guys who are interested in you will still call and pursue you after they've seen you naked." Confession time: It's also possible that we won't call after a first-night hookup. I've had dates where I was only kinda-sorta feeling it, then we drank a round of margaritas, then another round, and soon we're making out and hooking up. "I had bought a new ,000 bed, and I wanted to break it in." The conventional wisdom would say that Rica made a mistake. —to learn that when the back of Rica's dress tore open, she turned to Phil and said, "Well, I guess you're going to have to keep your hand on my ass all night." Phil told the conventional wisdom to go to hell. We got to know each other, and we found that we had so much in common." They broke every rule. I'm not arguing that it will boost your odds of finding love. (A final disclaimer: This is true for most guys—not every guy.They christened Rica's bed, spent the weekend together, held hands at the coffee shop, and when Phil returned home to Chicago, "It felt magical, like we were already boyfriend and girlfriend." How about Phil's buddies? " Phil e-mailed Rica to say that if she came to visit, he would make her an elaborate six-course dinner of scallops, monkfish, and lime sorbet. That logic is nutty, and I have no idea if it makes sense from your perspective. But my lawyer is forcing me to type these disclaimers at gunpoint.) All I'm saying is that if you want to hook up, we're not going to think less of you. The roots of this double-standard go back to the twisted mind-set that a guy who sleeps around is a stud and a woman who sleeps around is a slut. And would you really want to date that kind of hypocrite anyway? The fallacy, though, is thinking that date two would have happened if we had skipped the nooky. If the man and the woman are a match, it doesn't really matter when they hook up. They traveled to England as a couple, toured the countryside, and even stayed in a stone castle…where he took out a diamond ring and popped the question. Did Teddy think that she wasn't girlfriend material? "After a first date hookup, all I think about is whether I like her, whether she's smart and funny, and if I want to see her again." He did.They dated exclusively for a few months, and no, while it didn't end in a wedding (most relationships don't), their breakup had nothing to do with the boozy romp. As part of our research, my cowriter (relationship expert Andrea Syrtash) and I heard hundreds of men say the same thing again and again: Men are unfazed by first-date booty. A few years ago, Phil from Chicago (then 36 and an exec at a chocolate company) visited some friends in Toronto.We used to think that falling into bed with someone too soon would disqualify you from being considered girlfriend material.But welcome to 2013, when the world is a lot less sexist than it used to be.If there's chemistry, there's chemistry, and from the guy's perspective, it doesn't really matter if we hook up on date one or date seven. He hit it off with a woman named Rica, who decided to seduce him."I just wanted to get laid," Rica told me, laughing. The almighty judges who make The Rules would be shocked—shocked! And then, the next morning, it was so much more intimate.The point is that hard-and-fast dating rules (like "No sex till date three") and old-fashioned expressions like the vile "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" are antiquated and harmful—they produce all this unnecessary anxiety and shame about something normal and natural: dating and sex. Who knows: Maybe he's too picky, maybe he doesn't feel a spark, maybe he's commitmentphobic, or maybe he's just a game-playing douche.