On a first date or a first encounter with someone, the objective is usually to get to know someone better which will hopefully lead to a second date. Despite what Sex and the City episodes told us over the years, generally an afternoon coffee date does not end up with an impromptu sex fest.
However, when a first date takes place at night, over drinks or at a nightclub, there is the potential for a casual encounter to turn into much more. When the mood strikes and inhibititions are low, it's easy for a goodnight peck on the cheek to develop into a trip around the proverbial sex bases.
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Unless your objective is a one night stand, it's better to err on the side of slow and steady than quick and dirty. For the most part, sex is construed differently between men and women. Even if you believe yourself to be the Samantha Jones no-strings-attached type, becoming intimate with another person too quickly can leave little room for a relationship to grow and develop emotionally when it began sexually.
Studies have shown that it is nearly impossible for a woman to have any form of intimacy without there being an emotional connection. Women are wired by their hearts, where men are wired by their heads. It is easier for a man to rationalize and detach from a sexual encounter because they are simply programmed that way.
For a woman, to decide to be with someone is often driven by an emotional need or response. Although there are times where pure carnal instincts come into play, more often than not, a woman tends to give herself because she is seeking attachment, fulfilment or pleasure.
Dating comes with a great deal of pressure in itself. Trying to get to know someone, make a good first impression and play it cool all at the same time can bring anxiety and stress. It generally takes a few dates to get into a comfortable rhythm with another person.
The cliches exist for a reason. Reduce the risk of making things more complicated by slowing down the need to round the bases and head for home. Take it date by date to see where things go naturally. There is no "three date" rule or "one month". Set the rules for yourself and create your own playbook. It's up to you to decide if you want to add your potential plus one to your Black Book of Lovers.
Take time rounding the bases because the saying is true. There's no place like home.
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Kimberly James is the Chief Love Officer, MatchMaster and Dating Expert for FindYourPlusOne.com.