Dating, Relationship & Sexual Bases: 11 Common Terms & Their Meaning

In the world of dating, there are several dating, sexual and relationship bases. If you’re not clued up, it’s time to know them so you know where you’re at.

sexual relationship bases

If you have never had a partner before, then, of course, the “bases” are just a myth that’s been floating around the school. But relationship bases and sexual bases are very much real. We’re not sure why we use baseball metaphors for sex, but we do!

Basically, they’re the levels of sexual intimacy you’ve experienced with your partner. Don’t freak out, it’s not as scary as you think, nor does reaching one of the “bases” make you more or less of a person. [Read: Relationship milestones – 15 dating highlights you should be proud of]

Where did using baseball to describe sexual bases come from?

There’s actually an interesting story behind baseball terminology being used to describe sexual bases. You’ve heard this before, everyone has.

It was coined in America to use baseball metaphors in order to describe the levels of intimacy relationships go through. Really, these aren’t newly discovered either.

Billy Joel, Meatloaf—maybe they’re too old for you, but these are classic artists from the seventies and eighties. So, you see where we’re going with that?

Just like them, Baseball metaphors have been around for a long time. And it doesn’t end there, sexual education instructors even use these metaphors when talking about sex to their students. They’ve now become a part of sexual life. [Read: Having sex on the first date – Should you give in to the urge?]

The four sexual and relationship bases

Relationship bases, dating bases, and sexual bases are all the same, because they ultimately focus on just how “deep you’re in” sexually with someone.

So when you’re talking to your partner, it’s a lot easier to describe your level of sexual experience by using bases without going into awkward details.

You should know there is no official definition for what each sexual base represents. But funny enough, people around the world seem to understand what each base represents without any official stamp of approval.

Here’s everything you need to know about relationship and sexual bases and the baseball metaphors for sex. [Read: The virgin’s guide to acting like she has experience]

1. First base

Ah yes, this is possibly everyone’s favorite base. It’s harmless, sweet, and full of emotion. First base is kissing *including French kissing*, maybe some fingers through the hair, but nothing really extreme.

Think of first base as what you would do on a first or second date. It’s more like testing the waters with a little fun kissing session. [Read: The perfect first kiss – 22 tips to make it oh-so-amazing!]

2. Second base

Now, second base is kissing, but it’s a little more intense. There will be some petting above the waist—touching, grabbing, rubbing, and hands inside the shirt.

Now, if you need some visual idea of this, think of it when you’re watching a movie on a couch. You start kissing, and it starts getting a little more intense.

More touching, the kissing gets spicier, the breathing gets a tad heavier, and your hands are inside their shirt. That’s second base. [Read: How to make out and 22 secrets to leave anyone moaning in your arms]

3. Third base

Third sexual base is when you and your partner are no longer paying attention to the movie that’s playing on the TV. You guys are completely focused on each other. The petting is heavy, and there’s stimulation happening below the waist.

This includes fingering, going down on each other, and other oral techniques. If you’re fondling and your hands are inside their undies, well, you’re now at third base. But remember, there is no penetration occurring at this very moment. [Read: Dry humping and the virgin’s guide to orgasms]

4. Fourth base/home run

The big finale. The fourth sexual base is when you’ve gone all the way. You’re now having sexual intercourse. Now, if you were a virgin, this is the moment where you no longer are one. [Read: Losing your virginity and having sex the first time]

More relationship bases and baseball metaphors

Now, the rest of these aren’t bases, however, they are baseball metaphors that you may hear when talking about sex.

Might as well know what they mean before you talk about it. That way, there’ll be no confusion between you both.

5. Strikeout

Now, we don’t really like this term, but you’ll hear, a strikeout. That is when you’re unsuccessful at engaging in foreplay or sex. It makes it sound like you failed at something, but you know that just because you didn’t have sex or hit any of the bases, you didn’t fail.

It just wasn’t the right moment. Trust us, there will be many times when you could have had sex, but it just didn’t work out.

Sometimes it might be because one of you drank too much, or you just didn’t have that connection with someone.

Now, you may hear some guys say this after an unsuccessful night at the club. They’ll say, “Nah, man, I struck out.”

What does that even mean? Well, in short, they didn’t get laid. To “strike out” means they failed in having any sort of sexual encounter. It doesn’t have to mean full-on sex, it also means they didn’t even speak to a girl or engage in foreplay. [Read: Popping her cherry – 18 steps to deflower a girl without hurting her in any way]

6. Pitching

Pitching is when a man performs backdoor sex. This usually means he’s performing it on another man. It’s similar to the whole “pin and cushion” reference. Being a “pin” means you’re the giver while the “cushion” is the receiver.

But honestly, this term, though still used, is outdated. You might still hear it though, so it’s good to be informed if you want to know all the sexual bases people talk about.

7. Catching

Basically, it’s the opposite of pitching. Instead, this means the man is getting penetrated by another man. A catcher is someone who catches the ball, right? So basically, a catch in sex means that he’s the man receiving another man’s member inside him.

Again, this might not apply to you, but if you want to be informed, you need to know all the relationship bases.

8. Switch hitter

A switch hitter is someone who is bisexual. It means they ‘bat’ for either team. Are you getting the baseball references now?

You’ll hear this term every now and then, so it’s good that you know what it means. If someone identifies themselves as bisexual, then just use that term.

9. Playing for the other team

Maybe you heard it in movies, “they play for the other team.” If you have, it means this person is either gay or lesbian.

Another witty baseball term, but really, we think the LGBTQ community would be cool if you just said gay or lesbian instead. [Read: Definition of queer – What does the Q in LGBTQ really mean?]

10. Playing for both teams

They play for both teams says this person is bisexual. We know, there are a lot of phrases to remember, since switch-hitter basically means the same thing, but you might hear it, so you need to know it.

 11. Running the bases

You usually won’t be using this unless you talk about someone younger than you who’s experimenting with sex and intimacy. “Running the bases” means that someone is experimenting with sexual relationships.

So, they may be sleeping with other people, and trying different things. You can also say, “playing on the field” or “testing out bases.”

[Read: Just the tip sex – Why guys love using this excuse and why girls always fall for it]

A few pieces of advice before attempting to reach any relationship bases

No matter which of the sexual bases you’re trying to get to, it’s still important to know what you’re getting into and to be ready for it – or to know what it is and then refuse if you’re not ready.

So, regardless of the relationship bases you’re heading toward, here are a few gems of advice.

1. Ask your friends for help

If you forget what each base stands for, don’t be shy to ask your friends for help. It can be a little confusing at first to remember everything for each base.

Also, you can ask your partner, so that way you both are on the same page. Perhaps they call it something completely different.

2. Make sure you both want it

Before you two go hitting up bases, make sure you both know that this is what you want. Also, make sure both of you are consenting and understand where the boundaries are.

Have a conversation and talk about it first – if you’re not able to talk about it, you’re not ready for it! [Read: How I lost my virginity – 15 true stories that aren’t so sexy]

3. Wear the proper gear

Oh, we’re getting carried away with all the baseball metaphors! But seriously, if you’re going to be experimenting, make sure you have the proper gear ready. Will you hit a home run right away? Probably not.

But sometimes things happen when we least expect them, so you should at least be prepared. And when we say gear, we mean being prepared with proper contraception whether that be birth control or condoms. [Read: How to have safe sex in every single way it is possible to]

4. You can stop at any time

If you’re trying something for the first time, you might not feel totally comfortable as it’s happening.

It’s easy to think that you’re ready, but once you start getting into it, you might suddenly change your mind. If this happens, it’s totally fine.

Tell your partner you want to stop. They need to listen to you. You don’t have to go through with anything just because you thought you were okay with it and then you realized you weren’t. [Read: First time sex and the virgin’s guide to nailing it]

5. Don’t be afraid to talk about relationship bases

A little earlier, we mentioned that if you’re not comfortable talking about relationship bases, you shouldn’t be trying them out. It’s so true that it deserves a deeper mention.

If you can’t communicate with the person you’re being sexually intimate with, you really shouldn’t be doing anything. For sure, it’s a little embarrassing sometimes, but you’re sharing your most personal parts here, so surely you can talk about it?

If you’re with someone who isn’t comfortable talking about stuff like this, question what you’re doing with them in the first place. [Read: How to talk about sex without sounding like a pervert]

Do relationship bases really matter?

With all these dating bases and sexual milestones, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But, ask yourself this – do these relationship and sexual bases actually mean anything? Surely it takes a lot of the fun and experimentation out of things if you have set milestones you need to reach?

That’s why it’s always better to just move at your own pace and don’t try and measure things by bases. You’re not going to get a medal because you hit a specific base, trust us! And in the end, who are you going to be telling about it anyway? [Read: Having sex too soon – The 12 consequences you need to be ready for]

The only people who need to know about the sexual bases you hit are you and your partner. Nobody else should know about it. 

Yet, it’s true that some people do like to share their sexual escapades with others. We’ve all heard groups of guys bragging about it, and don’t be fooled into thinking that girls don’t do the same either. That’s basically why relationship bases were invented – to give a clear guide when these types of conversations happen. [Read: The 10 best sex positions for beginners that’ll make you look like an expert!]

But, our advice? Forget about these sexual bases. Seriously. Just let things evolve naturally! Then, you’ll enjoy it so much more, and you won’t be focusing on pressure.

[Read: How fast is too fast in a relationship? A guide to perfect timings]

Now that we’ve been through all the baseball metaphors for sex, you’re well updated on relationship bases and other baseball terms for having fun under the covers. Have fun and be safe. But remember, you don’t have to touch all the bases in one go.

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