The 4 Bases In Relationships That We Unanimously Agree On

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bases in relationship
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The ‘bases’ in dating are another one of those American references that have caught on in the rest of the world. These references trace their origin to baseball analogy and are used to euphemistically describe how far you’ve gone in physical intimacy in your relationship. Navigating your way around these bases in a relationship can seem a bit tricky for newbies, and that’s why we’re here to help.

Segregating the stages of intimacy via the baseball bases in dating has basically been around since forever. But there can still be a bit of confusion about what the 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and 4th base entail, especially since everyone might have different definitions of them. It’s a good idea to stay up to date on the common references everybody knows.

But it’s also CRUCIAL to remember that these bases are a) outdated ways of measuring progress and intimacy in a sexual relationship, b) they are cisheteronormative, c) and they talk about the 4th base as if that’s the ultimate goal of sex. It’s not for many people. Let’s start with the bases definition and the popularly-accepted timeline for bases in a relationship.

What Are The 4 Bases In A Relationship?

Have you heard your friends boisterously discuss hitting second base or scoring third base with a person? Does that leave you wondering: What are these bases in dating that people talk about? And how many bases are there? Are you left asking yourself, “Wait, I don’t see any baseball gear around, what is the 2nd base meaning they’re talking about?”

It’s okay if you don’t understand these mystical bases in relationships and why everybody keeps talking about them in the dating world. You probably played along and laughed with your buddies, hoping no one would question your ignorance.

Before you compare a baseball pitch to the male and female anatomy, we’re here to answer the question: What are the 4 bases in dating? The bases in a relationship look like this:

  • First base: Kissing
  • Second base: Hand stimulation (above the waist)
  • Third base: Oral stimulation
  • Fourth base (or home run): Intercourse

These distinctions remain the same for everyone and do not differ by age, location, or time (hence, the updated bases for dating in 2023 stay the same). Therefore, the bases in a teenage relationship are the same as what they’d mean for someone a bit older. And no, the definitions do not change according to the type of relationship you may have. Therefore, the answer to questions like “What is 2nd base in dating?” or “What is second base sexually?” remains the same.

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With that being said, It’s not easy to go from second base to third, and sometimes, a missed swing may mean that you jump around the fourth base without ever bringing it home. For example, someone in a serious relationship may take their sweet time while going from the 1st base (French kissing) to the 4th, especially if they want to take things slow. On the other hand, someone in a friends-with-benefits situation may focus on just their physical connection and decide that the whole baseball analogy can go for a toss, and quickly jump from one base to another like Babe Ruth.

Now that we’ve got the basic outline of everything out of the way, let’s get into a bit more detail about all the bases in a relationship, what they entail, and what it means when you go from one to another.

1. It all begins with the first base

What is the first base in dating? It’s that thing you hope you’ll be doing by the end of that nervous first date, the thing that lets you instantly know how well you two are going to connect: kissing. We’re not talking about a peck on the cheek or a brush of the lips, but full-blown French-style kisses with tongue and everything. Given that intimacy between two people usually begins with the locking of the lips, it qualifies as the 1st base.

This is a soft, romantic, emotional initiation that usually happens on the first or second date. Of course, it may involve your hands wandering to the other person’s hair, neck, and back, but try to limit it at that unless there are clear signs that you both want to take things forward. First base is also often used as a measure to see whether there is sexual arousal and if it’d be worth taking things forward. Who knew baseball metaphors could help you decide how things are going in your romantic life?

Things to keep in mind:

  • The 1st base in a relationship often happens around the first or second date
  • Some couples may even think of the first base in dating as a test of sorts to assess if there is physical chemistry between them
  • Let it come naturally. Assuming that you’re going to hit 1st base or insinuating it can be a turn-off
  • To increase your chances, read the body language of your date, grasp how interested they are in you, establish a decent connection first
  • Make sure you pick an appropriate time and place. If you or your date hate PDA, you’re probably not kissing anyone in a crowded street or restaurant
  • As with all bases in a relationship, getting consent is critical. Get consent before getting physical, and keep your hands around the face, neck, or your partner’s back

2. Second base meaning: Getting handsy with it

The second base is just a natural progression in a relationship’s timeline from the first. Apart from intense kissing, it also involves hand stimulation but above the waist. There is a lot of touching, holding, grasping, and often, cupping or fondling breasts involved in the 2nd base. At this stage, your intimacy is strictly restricted to touch, but yes, tops do tend to come off.

Let’s be honest, after you hit first base a couple of times, you’re naturally going to be hitting the 2nd base (assuming everything is going well). How to get to second base isn’t something to overthink. In fact, the more you race your brain, the harder it will end up being. We can’t help you with the overthinking, but at the very least you now know the answer to what is second base sexually.

And yes, the second base for guys is just as exciting as all the other bases. They’re not always trying to secure the home run (even though popular culture may have you believe that’s the only thing guys are after). They do also enjoy the 1st base in a relationship just as much as they enjoy the 2nd base in a relationship. So, don’t think you have to rush past anything. Are you already dreaming about how to get to second base? Keep reading, we’ll help you get there too.

Related Reading: What Holding Hands Means To A Guy – 9 Interpretations

Things to keep in mind:

  • 2nd base in a relationship falls at different times for different people, it depends on what feels right for the two of you and how comfortable you are with each other
  • As is the case with all the bases in a relationship, consent is of utmost importance
  • The 2nd base usually comes around during a make-out session and the most important thing is to read the feedback your partner gives you
  • If they’re hesitant or not taking things forward, you must back off too. However, if things flow well naturally, the 2nd base can be an enjoyable experience
  • Once 2nd base in a relationship commences, ask your partner what feels right for them and tell them what you like, but remember to keep it light-hearted and fun
  • If you feel nervous or anxious, it’s always okay to back off or ask for things to be taken slowly
  • If your partner is unwilling to hit 2nd base, back off and give them time
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3. The third base is when things start to heat up

The next base, the 3rd base, is all about letting your tongue do the talking. No, not literally though. The third base in dating involves the use of the tongue (and teeth, if you’re both into that sort of thing) to offer sexual stimulation. From the breasts to all the way down there.

This is usually when things start getting a lot more sexual, and it can also be used as foreplay for what’s about to come next. Don’t take this stage for granted, though. How well (or not) you perform oral sex can be a decisive factor in how things progress, even if you’re on a one-night stand. Getting it right is all about communicating your needs and what you’re looking for, and understanding those of your partner.

If you’re giving each other head, a.k.a. oral sex, you’ve reached the third base of the relationship. This could be the ultimate stage of sexual pleasure, whether you’re straight or queer. Penetrative sex, which is the ‘next base’, is not relevant during sex. When we consider the conventional third base meaning in a relationship though, it’s usually right before the couple moves on to the final base (if they want to).

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Things to keep in mind

  • The 3rd base in a relationship really doesn’t have a timeline, since people might dive into it after a month of dating or they may want to take things slow and hit the 3rd base after a couple of more months
  • As is the case with all the bases in a relationship, getting enthusiastic consent is a must
  • The third base can be super sexy and most people tend to have a good time as long as there’s communication and openness
  • It’d be a good idea to discuss your expectations and level of comfort with each other before participating in the 3rd base
  • Trying to take part in oral sex just to please the other partner or doing it even though you’re doubtful about it might not lead to a fun experience
  • Have a conversation with your partner if you’re feeling too insecure and need to be eased into the process so they know what your boundaries are. Similarly, respect the boundaries of your partner
  • Compliment your partner, communicate with each other, and tell each other what you’d like and what’s not working. Oral sex is all about communication and opening up to each other
  • Pay special attention to what your partner enjoys and what they don’t, listening to them can lead to a mutually fun experience
  • The 3rd base in a relationship carries a risk of STDs. Practice safe sex, make sure you keep condoms and dental dams handy. No, they don’t kill the mood. Safety is sexy
  • Reaching the 3rd base (and no further) is how many queer people, and straight people, enjoy sexual fulfillment and the best orgasms

4. Fourth base a.k.a. ‘the home run’

As the name suggests, the fourth base involves penetrative sex and it is how many people attain an orgasm (though the third base is equally popular for that). The reason that it’s dubbed a ‘home run’ is because this stage is, in an old-fashioned sense, considered to be the end goal.

Dubbing sex in a relationship as a home run or the fourth base may insinuate that you need to get there as quickly as possible but try to take things slow and at your own pace. Getting swayed by the bases in relationships might make you seem way too eager to get into someone’s pants, which might leave you staring at the first base from the bench. So, don’t care too much about the timeline for bases in relationship.

Things to keep in mind:

  • The 4th base in a relationship really has no timeline, it’ll come naturally when both partners are ready
  • It can be anywhere between a week or till after marriage, or not at all if you’re asexual or traumatized or simply don’t enjoy penetrative sex (all valid reasons for not caring about the 4th base)
  • As is the case with everything else in your love life that involves romantic physical touch, consent is of utmost importance
  • In most cases, having penetrative sex with a partner requires a lot of trust and comfort. Have a conversation about boundaries and respect them
  • Know what your partner is looking for and state your expectations beforehand as well
  • Be on the same page before you have sex, don’t do it if you feel forced or if you’re not completely up to it
  • Don’t worry about every move you make aligning perfectly with that super-hot unrealistic scene you once saw. Focus on having fun
  • We can never say it enough: practice safe sex, every time
  • Don’t just take and not give, listen to what your partner wants and make sure they feel satisfied too. Yes, we’re talking to the men

Now that we’ve answered your questions like “How many bases are there?” and have explained all the bases in dating, you’re probably thinking about how you can go from one base to the next. If you’re one of the people asking themselves questions like how to get to 3rd base or trying to figure out how to woo someone, don’t worry, we’re not going to leave you blue-balled.

Related Reading: 7 Types Of Insecurities In A Relationship, And How They Can Affect You

How To Jump Bases In Dating?

Okay, so that was a crash course in the four bases in the old-fashioned dating business. Knowing about the bases in love is one thing and experiencing them is another ball game altogether. Unlike baseball, you don’t get three attempts in the real world. To make sure you navigate these stages correctly, you’ve got to play your cards right, time your move well, and most importantly, be gentle and sensitive in your approach.

The updated bases for dating in 2023 remain the same as the years gone by, so the approach largely remains the same too. Let’s take a look at how you can maneuver your way through the stages without coming off as a creep, so you don’t end up with three strikes in your pursuit of the home run. Aren’t baseball metaphors fun?

The bases in relationship deal with physical intimacy
Intimacy in a relationship is important

How to get to first base

Getting to first base is all about reading body language to know for sure that the other person is ready for that first kiss before you lean in. So, analyze the body movements of the person you’re with. Do you feel in sync? Are they leaning toward you when talking? Are your fingers intertwining on their own?

If the answer to these questions is yes, now is your window to reach for their lips. But if you’ve misread the signals, and they’re not ready, have the grace to accept and withdraw. You could be upfront and ask too, which is always a good idea. Just because you want it, doesn’t mean that the other person is obligated to comply. Plus, if your date wants it too, they might even do something to initiate it, like getting closer to you. Then, once the mild kissing (or a full-blown make-out sesh) actually starts, all you’ve got to do is go with the flow and not let your nervousness run amok.

How to get to second base

Now that you know what is second base in dating, it’s time to figure out how to get there. While you were kissing, did you feel like you both wanted more? Were your bodies pressed against each other? Were your hands racing up and down each other’s backs? If yes, it may be time to test the waters by slowly sliding your hand inside their clothes and moving your fingers down their belly and back.

You should always ask for consent before you proceed with this stage. Even if you’re in the middle of a passionate kiss and the physical cues are all there, asking for consent to let your hands wander won’t kill the mood, trust us. It takes a lot of self-control to hold oneself back after a spell of hot, passionate kissing, but we recommend you take your time getting to second base and beyond.

Giving in to your impulses on the first or second date may be too soon. Get to know each other a little more before you take the plunge, or give your partner the go-ahead. The second base for guys holds just as much importance as it does for their women. So, if you are dating a guy, don’t assume he wants to get past this stage as quickly as possible. Get to know him, read the room and ask for consent. Just because we’re using baseball metaphors doesn’t mean you’ve got to sprint from one base to the next.

Related Reading: 15 Things Guys Like Their Girlfriends To Do

How to get to third base

The third base meaning in a relationship is oral sex, and that’s usually a big milestone in the early stages of any romance. Going from kissing each other to having oral sex is a very intimate moment, and rushing it might ruin the whole thing. Unless you’re looking for a casual hookup or something similar, take your time before you start contemplating how to get to third base because, at this stage, things get intense.

It’s a good idea to take a breather from your second base exploring and ask your partner if they’re ready for more. And if the answer is yes, go ahead and explore the new highs of carnal pleasures. The answer to how to get to the third base can really be as simple as that.

Taking the time to get to know each other before this move is also important because certain oral stimulations can put you at risk of STDs. So you have to be 100% sure about your safety. It’s a good idea to use protection like condoms or oral dams at this stage. Besides, you should be on the same page in terms of what you want from the relationship, because if one is just looking for experience and the other is emotionally invested, it can lead to a lot of pain.

How to get to fourth base

Stories about dating and more

The most important thing to keep in mind is consent in your relationship. Talk to each other at length and be sure that you’re both ready for the last of the bases in love before hitting the so-called home run. Do not exert pressure on your partner because coaxing is NOT consent. Similarly, do not give in to pressure from your partner or peers. You’ve got to do this at your own pace and when you’re mentally and physically ready.

When you do, make sure you go prepared. We mean, buy your own condoms. Don’t rely on the other person to take care of it or have unprotected sex in the “heat of the moment”. If you don’t have protection, put it off for another time. And make sure you’re somewhere safe.

During the act, be considerate of your partner’s needs and cater to their pleasure too. There is no bigger put-off than being with someone selfish in bed. It can cost you your relationship. If you’re wondering about how to get to the 4th base in a relationship, it largely depends on how your dynamic is going and what kind of relationship you have.

For example, if you’re both casually dating or are friends with benefits, nailing the 3rd base session can help increase your chances of bringing it home. If you’re in a mature relationship, it’s always better to have an open conversation about it with your partner who’ll tell you when they may be able to have sex with you and what it might take for them to get there.

Related Reading: Are Common Interests In Relationships The Most Important Factor?

If you’ve gotten to a stage where the baseball bases in dating have all been hit except the last one, honestly, all you’ve got to do is continue playing your cards right because you’re clearly doing something right. Continue being courteous, continue being a generous human being who values their partner, and things will work out. PS: the more you make it seem like all you care about is the 4th base, the further you’re going to go away from it. Take a cold shower, for now.

Key Pointers

  • The 1st base involves kissing, the 2nd base involves hand simulation (above the waist), the 3rd base involves oral sex, and the 4th base, which is not necessary, is penetrative sex
  • There really isn’t a timeline for the bases in a relationship and you’ll reach each stage according to how your relationship progresses
  • At any stage, one of the most important things is to get enthusiastic consent 
  • Focus on making every base a mutually fun experience  

There you have it, the bases in dating explained based on what they mean and how you could get there. Hopefully, your dating life becomes that much more exciting. Keep in mind that you don’t have to hit a home run. A relationship can be just as fulfilling, if not more, without physical intimacy. The most important thing is to try and connect with your partner so you don’t end up getting bored on your fourth date. PS: don’t worry too much about the other baseball metaphors as long as you’re not trying to go pro. Just focus on nailing the first date!

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