What are the Bases in Relationships?

What is the meaning of first base?
on August 11, 2023
Read time: 5 mins
by Moraya Seeger DeGeare

For modern dating, you need a whole relationship dictionary just to keep up with all the new terms! From breadcrumbing to love bombing, there are a lot of definitions to learn to keep up with the lingo. 

Even though euphemisms around bases in relationships have been around for a very long time, it can be hard to keep track of what each term means. 

If you want to chat in code with your besties about your big date last night — you better scrub up on the right language! 

What are relationship bases? 

Relationship bases are used as euphemisms for the level of physical intimacy a couple has achieved in their relationship. 

The term ‘base’ comes from a baseball metaphor, with these references used to talk about your sexual escapades without revealing too many intimate details. In the dating world, this baseball analogy isn’t always appreciated — with the idea of a home run or a strikeout making sex seem less personal. 

In popular culture, or in movies, these sexual bases can be used in a flippant or a frivolant way but in a healthy relationship, it’s best to discuss the terms used with your partner — to ensure you’re both comfortable. 

What base is cuddling? 

Cuddling isn’t usually considered to be on the base system but could be seen as foreplay towards some of the later bases. Since cuddling involves physical proximity and emotional connection, it’s a step in the right direction for many of the other bases.

What are the 5 bases in a relationship? 

Depending on who you talk to, there are different definitions for different bases. Since there are differing versions of the terms, it’s a good idea to stay up to date on common references as they evolve over time. 

In a romantic relationship, sexual activity can be a big factor. However, remember that consensual, safe sex is important at every stage of dating and sex should never be bragged about!  

First base 

When someone says they have reached ‘‘first base’, this is simply another way of referring to kissing or more likely, french kissing or open mouth kissing.

If it’s your first kiss with that person, a make-out sesh can be super thrilling — and a good way to get a feel for your romantic and sexual connection. 

Second base

The next base from kissing is any kind of touching or fondling, usually of the chest area but can progress to other erogenous zones. 

This is usually a form of foreplay, with both partners testing out their physical connection through touch. Remember to pay attention to your partner's body language, and make sure to check in to ensure they are comfortable with any base you progress to. 

Third Base

If things start getting hot and heavy, couples can progress to third base. 

The third base refers to oral sex or oral stimulation, or depending on your definition, any form of manual stimulation that doesn’t include sexual intercourse. This act can be reciprocal or involve only one partner. 

Fourth Base 

If you make it around all the other bases, you’ll end up at home base — or as the saying goes, you will have hit a home run. 

The fourth base refers to sex, usually penetrative sex but this is up for debate depending on your own preferences or practices. Even though some people tend to work up through the bases from their first date, couples can progress to fourth base whenever they feel comfortable! 

While it doesn’t matter when you decide to visit the home plate, make sure you always practice safe sex when you get there! 

Fifth Base 

Since the fourth base is often seen as the final destination, many believe that there are only four bases and that bases of dating don’t progress beyond this. 

However, since anal sex is not usually covered in this system, some couples have added on this extra base to denote this sexual act. Since the base system is more malleable beyond this point, partners can use it to denote what they like! 

What is the 6th base in a relationship? 

Similar to the fifth base, there is no widely accepted definition of the sixth base — leaving it more open to interpretation. 

Some couples have given this base more romantic connotations, denoting any significant milestones in romantic relationships. For example, the sixth base could be getting engaged, starting a family, moving in together, or other similar landmarks in a couple's journey together. 

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