What Are The Bases In Dating And Are They Even Relevant Anymore?

It’s probably been a while since you’ve heard anyone talking about bases in dating. Maybe you remember a football player bragging about going to third base with a girl in chemistry class back in the day, but as an adult, it’s not really something that’s talked about. However, even though the language surrounding intimacy may have changed, the bases are still very much real. Here’s what you need to know about them.

What are the bases in dating?

First Base

The first base in the bases of dating is all about kissing. This can range from a quick peck on the lips to a more passionate, tongues-down-each-other’s-throats French kiss. Kissing is a great way to build intimacy with someone you’re attracted to. It can also be a way to gauge the level of chemistry between you and figure out whether or not there’s actual romantic potential there. After all, if someone is terrible at kissing, it probably won’t go much further.

While kissing is generally considered a more innocent form of physical contact, it can still be a significant milestone in a relationship. For some people, kissing may be an intimate act that they reserve only for someone they have a strong emotional connection with. For others, it might be no big deal. After all, making out is fun and relatively harmless, so why not enjoy it?

Second Base

The second base in the bases of dating includes physical touching, usually above the waist. That usually means a bit of groping either over or under the shirt, which can really get you going if it’s happening with someone you’re really into. Generally speaking, it’s a great way to show physical affection and build sexual attention. But beware! It could easily lead to third base and beyond. (And hey, that might not be a bad thing.) Perhaps unsurprisingly, most people don’t spend long at second base.

Like kissing, the level of physical contact involved in touching can vary depending on who’s doing it and your level of comfort with each other. Some people may be more hesitant to engage in physical contact beyond kissing, while others may be more eager to explore their partner’s body.

It’s important to note that touching should always be consensual and that each partner should communicate their boundaries and desires clearly. It’s not enough to simply assume — don’t be shy about verbally asking for consent. And don’t proceed unless that consent is enthusiastic!

Third Base

The third base in the bases of dating is oral sex. This can involve stimulation of the genitals or other erogenous zones with the mouth. Oral sex is often seen as a more intimate form of physical contact than touching, and it can be a significant milestone in a romantic relationship.

Like other forms of physical intimacy, oral sex should always be consensual and should be approached with care and respect for your partner. It’s important to communicate clearly about boundaries and to use protection to prevent the transmission of STIs. That’s right, oral sex isn’t without risks, so grab some condoms, dental dams, or other prophylactics before you put your mouth down there, especially if you don’t know your partner’s sexual history.

Home Run/Fourth Base

The home run in the bases of dating is doing the deed and having full-on penetrative sex. It’s often seen as the ultimate physical expression of a romantic relationship. However, that’s not to say that you need to be in a committed, exclusive relationship for this or any of the other dating bases. If both partners consent and want to sleep together, go for it.

As previously mentioned, consent is paramount. Not only that, but protection against STDs and other infections is even more important. If you or your partner is able to conceive, you should also consider birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Once the technicalities are squared away, feel free to have at it!

Are dating bases even relevant anymore?

We’re well into the 21st century now. Talking about dating bases can sometimes feel a bit reductive, not to mention a bit immature. They’re something you might hear referred to on ’90s teen sitcoms. In other words, they can feel sort of irrelevant these days. One reason is that the idea of a linear progression of physical intimacy may not accurately reflect how modern relationships develop. For some people, physical intimacy may occur earlier or later in a relationship than what the bases suggest, rendering them useless in the dating world.

Not only that, but the concept of the bases can be limiting. They put unnecessary pressure on people to adhere to a certain timeline of physical intimacy, which sucks. This pressure can be tough for people who may not feel comfortable with certain forms of physical contact or who may want to take things slower or faster than what is typically expected.

That being said, while the bases may not be relevant or helpful for everyone, they can still be a useful way for some people to communicate about physical intimacy with a partner. For those who feel comfortable with the idea of the bases, using them as a guide can help to establish clear boundaries and expectations in a relationship.

Moving beyond dating bases

While the bases of dating can provide a helpful framework for discussing sex and intimacy with a partner, it’s important to remember that they are not a one-size-fits-all guide to romantic relationships. Every relationship is unique. The level of physical intimacy between two people should be based on their individual preferences and comfort levels. Dating bases are just an easy way to categorize the progression of physicality with someone you’re seeing. It’s not the be all, end all, by any means.

It’s also important to remember that physical intimacy is just one aspect of a romantic relationship. Communication, emotional intimacy, and shared interests and values are all important too. You definitely shouldn’t overlook those in favor of focusing on getting laid. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for something real, you’ll need to build it. Put in the work!

Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia