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What are the 4 Bases of Love?

by Sonya Schwartz

Measuring your relationships in terms of “bases” has been around for many years.

In the guide below, we explain how this system traditionally works, and suggest a new “base” system that is more fitting for the new decade. 

It seems like everyone was obsessed with getting to a new “base” when they were in high school. 

Yet, once you reach adulthood, you tend to become more concerned with a stage not even assigned a “base”. 

True love. 

If that’s how you feel, make sure to read the next few sentences very carefully. 

I always used to desire more than just a physical connection with the man I was dating, but the guys never seemed too interested in this…

That’s because I didn’t understand a very powerful aspect of male psychology called the ‘Hero’s Instinct’. 

Understanding this can mean the difference between him being physically attracted and emotionally OBSESSED with you. 

It’s a simple primal instinct that most men seem to have. Once I learned how it worked, my love life became better than I could ever imagine (learn how you can do that too by reading my personal story here). 

This small change in your behavior is so powerful, you’ll kick yourself for not knowing about it sooner. 

I explained my journey to discovering how it works in full detail, so that you can learn how to trigger more meaningful relationships too.  

Once you do that, guys will be wanting to rattle through these “bases” and towards true love faster than ever.  

The 4 Relationship Bases

Measuring your relationships in terms of “bases” has been around for many, many years and baseball terms have been used to help explain ideas since World War 2. 

High-school gossip has centered around getting to bases for decades and the terms have grown a little antiquated. 

For those of you lucky enough to miss out on this right of passage, here’s the 4 bases of love:

  • First Base - Kissing
  • Second Base - Heavy Petting/Manual Stimulation 
  • Third Base - Oral Stimulation 
  • Home Run - Penetrative Sex. 

There’s always been some debate over those middle two bases, maybe your teenage crowd had a different system to me - but maybe that doesn’t matter. I’m proposing a new system of “bases” that steps away from the baseball metaphor (because how many of us even understand much about the sport anyway?). What if we found a new, adult way to discuss these things without hiding behind childish analogies? 

As mature grown-ups, we value more than just the basic achievement of a base. We don’t need to know if our friends got to first or second base on a date with a guy they’re seeing, we want to know if it was good, if he was kind, if she had fun. I mean, we also want to know all the sordid details, but we’re adult enough to use the real words. 

Here’s how, as a grown woman, you can count your relationship in bases. 

1. Lust

Lust is a very important part of romantic relationships and tends to be strongest at the very beginning of your time together. For the majority of people, sexual attraction is a fundamental part of romance - if you aren’t sexually attracted to a person, you’re unlikely to develop any deeper feelings for them. Lust and chemistry are similar concepts, and both are based on how things flow with the person of your choice. Are you flirty, a little cheeky or even a little sensual when you’re around each other? Chances are if you can help but want to take all their clothes off, you probably feel a lot of lust for them.

Lust can be felt with anyone you find attractive and is driven by the evolutionary desire to have babies. There are no deep emotional feelings attached to it. It’s the first sexual stage of any relationship or interaction, from a one night stand to waiting for your wedding day, the first base you’ll have to hit is lust. 

With lust, you experience a sort of tunnel vision that puts a person’s personality in an emotional blind spot. In theory, you could loathe a person and still lust for them, because sexual attraction is purely biological. Some studies have even shown that the brain of a person feeling lustful is likely to light up in an MRI scan the same way a person who has taken drugs does.

2. Boundaries 

Before you move on to anything physical, you absolutely have to consider your own boundaries. These might include the speed at which you want to progress through the “bases” and what you might value when it comes to physical intimacy. 

Boundaries are essential in any healthy relationship, be it the first sexual encounter between you and your partner or the hundredth. If you don’t feel comfortable being clear about how far you’re willing to go or what you’re willing (or not) to do, then you aren’t ready or with the right person. 

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It’s not that you need to set aside time before getting down to business to discuss your wants and needs, but you should always feel confident that you can say “stop” at any time, without push back on their part or embarrassment on yours.

There is no shame in taking it slow, whether you’re 18 or 80. There’s this unspoken notion that as adults we’re expected to progress from kissing to fully-fledged sex very quickly. The mythical “third date rule” tells us that after meeting a person only three times, we should be ready to be our most vulnerable with them. There is absolutely no shame in this, or even on the first date, but there is also no shame in demanding more time and expecting the guy you’re dating to respect that choice. 


Take a look at this video all about how to define your boundaries and be confident in sharing your preferences! 

3. Kissing

For most of us, first base was always a kiss. Ranging all the way from a quick and innocent peck to a full-on make-out session (or snogging, as the British call it), a kiss can be the most important foundation to your relationship. 

The very first kiss, if you’re lucky, can be the most special intimate moment of your relationship. A kiss tends to change the course of a relationship, from simple and casual dating to something more romantic and sometimes exclusive. The kiss is always the pivotal moment of any romantic movie and begins the highly sought after “happily ever after”. 

A good kiss can cause our brains to release all those lovely happiness producing chemicals in the brain and makes our minds react similarly to being on drugs! Clearly, a kiss is important to our biology and deserve way more credit than it gets by our adult age.

You’ll likely perceive the kiss different to your partner too. Studies show that women will prioritize a man’s ability to kiss when they’re choosing who to date and will use a man’s kissing ability to determine whether they have a future together. Women also value kissing as a way to show affection to a partner, while men don’t seem to mind at all! Other studies also showed that while most women wouldn’t move to a higher base with a man without kissing first, most men were happy to go as far as having sex without kissing at all.

It’s important that you feel secure in saying that you don’t want to go any further than kissing if that’s what you want. Sometimes it can feel like you’re expected to carry on and go all the way, especially if you’ve been on a few dates, but it’s okay to be honest about what you’re ready for and what you aren’t. Even if you find yourself in his bed and the kisses are getting heated, you deserve to be respected and if you want to stay firmly within this base. Only move on when you’re certain you’re ready, to save the feeling of any regret on both your parts and if he doesn’t want to be on board with that then BYE! 

Check out this super romantic video which features some of the best TV kisses for inspiration!

4. Sensual Touch

When the mood starts to build and the chemistry starts to flow, hands tend to start wandering. Innocent PG kissing can quickly transition to something more raunchy and R rated with the simple movement of hands. Also known as heavy petting, for this base, I’m only considering light touches above the belt and below (over the clothes, may I add), which add to the steaminess of the moment. 

In high-school, this probably included an awkward boob grab and maybe some butt cheek squeezes if you were lucky. If you were of the more confident few, heavy petting make-out sessions could have featured a clumsy crotch grab over the pants too. As an adult, all of these are cringe-worthy to even think about. These days, in the privacy of our own homes and away from the secrecy of our parents' basements, no one is clutching a breast and calling it sexy - at least I hope so. 

Sensual touch adds so much to the experience, but only if it’s done right. The end goal isn’t a finite climax, but rather keeping the passion flowing the whole time, usually during a lot of kissing. Where you put your hands will change the whole mood of the experience and usually if you head straight for the obvious you’ll miss out on the best bits. Everyone knows the build-up makes every experience better, no matter what it is. Focus on the erogenous zones with a gentle touch. These areas have massive numbers of nerve endings, so they’re super sensitive to touch and will have you feeling way more connected to your partner than if you just jumped straight to wham bam thank you, ma'am. Guide him to your favorite spots too, so you can both be more in the moment. To save you the extra research effort, here is a list of the basis (non-genital based) erogenous zones for both men and women:

  • Ears
  • Mouth and Lips
  • Neck
  • Chest, Breasts, and Nipples

You might also discover that you and your partner both have other, sometimes unexpected personal erogenous zones, such as the inside of your wrists, thighs and hip bones. 

In all of the lovely hands-on contact, remember to always respect those boundaries and respond to his body language and ensure he’ll respond to yours. If his hands are working to a place you aren’t comfortable with, tell him. If you don’t want to break-up the moment, try moving his hands with your own to somewhere more favorable for you. If he doesn’t respond to the subtlety, consider a quick mention with words. No one wants to be the fun-sponge, but it’s important that you’re both comfortable and feel secure. 

5. Getting Intimate

Now, for full disclosure, I’m including two of the basic bases in this category. As sexually active teens, we tended to separate the manual (gross words like fingering and handjobs) from the oral. As an adult, I declare that these things belong together in one intimacy category. Some people don’t like oral, and some jump straight to oral, and both are completely okay. You can have whatever preferences you like and it shouldn’t mean that you’re more or less progressed sexually. 

In this situation, I’d definitely recommend having a mature, kind conversation with your partner before things move any further. Be honest about what you like and what you don’t and whether or not you’re ready for this to progress to sex yet, or if you’d like to leave it here for a while. Tell him what you’re comfortable giving and receiving and don’t compromise on your requirements. The whole experience will be much more enjoyable and pleasurable if you’re both 100 percent happy with what’s going down (no pun intended). 

You’re likely to be getting undressed for the first time with this person and it’s not uncommon to feel vulnerable and insecure. Remember that this person is with you for a reason, and if you’ve made it this far, they’re definitely attracted to you already - there’s no need to worry about those lumps and bumps and flaws you insist are there. Chances are, he can’t even see what you think is so obvious. Remember, most people feel self-conscious about their bodies in these situations, especially when it’s the first time with someone new. It’s likely that if you feel nervous, so does he, so maybe be honest about it. Let him reassure you, you might be pleasantly surprised. 

6. Going All The Way

Finally, you’ve made it to the ultimate goal, home base - sex. Maybe you waited months, or weeks, three dates, or maybe you’re on your first date. Know that whatever choice you made, there’s nothing wrong as long as you’re happy. There’s nothing prudish about waiting and nothing scandalous about getting down and dirty with a date you just met. 

Just in case I haven’t said it enough already, make sure you communicate before you progress too far into this final base. This is an incredibly intimate and vulnerable moment that the two of you will share and you can’t take that back after the fact. To some, this is casual and straight-forward and doesn’t have many emotions involved. To others, this is sentimental and emotional and requires a deeper connection - whatever it is to you, make sure you’ve communicated enough for you to feel safe and respected. Tell him how you want to go about it, fast or slow and which positions and places you’re comfortable with. If you’re the more confident type and don’t feel like having a chat first, make sure to be vocal as you go. Let him know what’s working for you and what’s turning you right off. 

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We’re all adults here too, and although it’s not super sexy, you ought to consider a chat about protection too. Statistics show that around half of us aren’t using protection and a quarter already have an STI. If you aren’t committed to this person, be mature and responsible and talk about how you’re going to stay protected from diseases and unexpected pregnancies. The choices you make are totally up to you, just make sure both of you agree on whatever methods you do or do not use. 

When all the boring bits are out of the way, remember, relax! Have fun and don’t take it too seriously. Sex can be awkward, especially if it’s your first time with someone new. It can be clumsy and disorganized and that’s okay! We’re bombarded with this slow, passionate, smoothly progressing version or sex in movies, TV shows and even in porn so it’s no wonder we have this idyllic view built up in our minds. We love to laugh, it builds bonds, makes us more attracted to our partner and helps us relax. So let loose a bit, let it be fun!

Watch this fun video where the women of the view chat about laughing during sex!


If you liked this updated version of the 4 bases of love, let us know! 

There’s no more seven-minutes-in-heaven, spin the bottle and truth or dare. Childish games have long gone and made way for more serious relationships, and more serious intimacy. It doesn’t sound as sexy, but in truth, there’s nothing hotter than a guy who wants to please you and wants to respect your wishes. 

Own your body and your right to call the shots for yourself. You deserve to feel the passion and joy that comes from all the different kinds of intimacy without anything holding you back. If you don’t like what you’re doing or you’re worried that you’re going to have to do things you aren’t ready for, it’s really difficult to be at ease. Go ahead and hit all of the bases until your heart is content, fill your boots with pleasure, and be secure knowing you’re secure and taken care of. Listen to my advice and stand for nothing less. 

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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