OPINION: This story contains sexual content
When I met my girlfriend, we'd already been texting for a month.
We'd exchanged numbers after matching on Tinder, but our work schedules meant we weren't able to meet for a while.
Perhaps it was the build-up of weeks of flirty messages, or an undeniable chemistry between us, but we ended up having sex on our first date.
Lying in her bed the following morning, I was hit with a familiar feeling of dread.
How had I let things move so fast? What would she think of me now? Was I destined to be written off as a frivolous night of fun, even though I genuinely liked her, and wanted us to continue getting to know one other?
Of course, these fears were based off my history of dating men.
Relationship experts tout the "make him wait for intimacy" tagline for good reason. Talk show host Steve Harvey even coined a more extreme version – the infamous "90-day rule" – in his best-selling book "Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man", which instructs women to make the guy they're seeing wait 90 days for sex to improve their chances of securing commitment.
The reality is most women who've found themselves swept up in the heat of the moment have waited for a text the next day that's never come.
"You slept with him too fast!" a friend once scolded me after I told her about the guy who'd stopped returning my calls.
"Men need to feel they've earned it; like you don't just give it up to any guy who wants it. Otherwise, it hurts their ego," she said.
Obviously, the notion men's egos are so fragile they require this level of validation is troubling, and indicative of an issue with our definition of masculinity. It's also rooted in the offensive belief men can't fully humanise sexual women. Not to mention the toxic suggestion women should weaponise sex as a tool for luring men into relationships.
And yet, the lived reality of most of the women I know is that men are more likely to ghost after sex if they have it quickly.
Of course, some men ghost after sex even if you withhold it for weeks. I once dated a guy I waited two months to sleep with. In that time, he took me for expensive dinners, texted constantly, and surprised me with flowers and gifts. The day after we got physical, I never heard from him again.
"Why would he invest so much time, energy and money into pursuing me if he only wanted one thing? Couldn't he just get that by picking up a girl at a bar?" I asked a male friend, a few days after my date had gone MIA.
"You were a challenge, and basically we love knowing we've conquered the girl who is hard to get," he explained nonchalantly, as I sat across from him, mouth agape.
It's not uncommon for men to feign an interest in a relationship in order to improve their chances of securing sex. This is something I've heard countless times from male friends. A mate recently admitted: "I'm not proud of it, but I've definitely done that to get a girl into bed."
Besides the fact this is a form of sexual coercion, it's based off the false premise women exclusively want monogamy. (In fact, research has continuously proven women crave sexual variety just as much as, if not more than men.)
And while there isn't anything inherently wrong with casual sex, there's something very problematic about our culture's obsession with tying sexual experience to masculinity, while failing to provide men with the emotional literacy for navigating intimacy with women.
It's undeniable women ghost after sex, too. However, when women do it, it's typically because we've already made our feelings clear on a number of occasions, and they haven't been accepted, or because we've learnt to fear retaliation (both verbal and physical) from men when we reject them.
Conversely, men go silent after sex because we teach them to view it as transactional, and don't raise boys to have the same kind of expressive communication as girls. While scoffing "Boys don't cry!" and "REAL men are tough and strong", what we ultimately do, is perform a kind of emotional castration on boys.
It's little wonder the term "post nut clarity" has taken off in recent years. Defined by Urban Dictionary as "the immediate clear mindedness or soberness an individual gains after orgasming", it's a non-scientifically proven condition which largely exists to excuse away men's poor post-coital behaviour.
While women also receive a rush of feel-good hormones after climax that can boost mental clarity and cognition, we don't suffer from an affliction that causes us to call an Uber and un-match someone on Tinder within the first five minutes of getting off.
Sex on the first date is rarely a deal-breaker for women. I should know; my girlfriend and I have been more or less inseparable since we first did the deed over a month ago now.
Though we like to treat sex as something that's distinctly different for each gender, the truth is, we're far more alike than we care to admit. It's the culture we raise young men and women in that causes us to behave differently when it comes to sexual intimacy.
• Follow Nadia Bokody on Instagram and YouTube for more sex, relationship and mental health content.