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What are the 4 bases of love? Here’s everything you need to know

Making it to first, second or third base–it’s an age-old analogy about sex, and not the best one.

We all know what making the bases means, it’s an objectifying breakdown of what level of physical intimacy you have “achieved” with someone.

First base–kissing. Second base–touching intimate areas. Third base–oral intimacy. Home run–sexual intercourse.

There are variations on what exactly each base means, but that all just sounds so childish, doesn’t it?

There’s a reason that as adults we stop talking about what base we made it to with who. We outgrow it.

But baseball analogies have been around a long time because they’re a simple and effective way to illustrate a process or series of events, whether we’re talking sex or something totally different.

As adults, there’s more to talk about than just what kind of intimacy you experienced with a person and what “level” you reached. There’s more to a healthy relationship than just sex.

There’s awareness, understanding, and real connection. Most people don’t crave a strictly physical relationship. They desire more.

And desire is deeper and more dimensional.

With that being said, let’s use the baseball analogy to cover four bases of a healthy and intimate relationship. Spoiler, they’re different from the original four.

And just like in baseball–you can’t skip past first base to reach second–each one builds off the next.

What are the (new) four bases of love?

1) Lust and infatuation

First base is lust and infatuation. It’s where all physical feelings and intimacy start. If you’re not infatuated with someone, you’re not going to want to have sex with them.

You meet someone and you realize you’re crazy for them. Everything about them, from their physical features to the way they talk, makes you want them more.

The more you find out about this person, the more you like them, the more want to get to know them, and yes, get physical.

If it’s pure lust, that’s good too. Sometimes strong physical attraction is all it takes to let the sparks fly.

This base is the easiest to reach because infatuation is something we can’t help. Lust comes naturally, whether we want it to or not.

When infatuation happens, all you can do is think about how to spend more time with that person. Here’s how to know if it’s turning into love.

2) Respect

Second base is respect. It may not seem like a relevant part of intimacy, but it’s crucial to forging a bond deeper than selfish gratification.

The original baseball analogy for sex is geared to objectify. The person doesn’t matter, only the act.

Mutual understanding of the fact that neither of you is an object, nor a tool to be used for selfish personal desires, is crucial to an intimate relationship, even if it’s only a few hours old.

The objectification of women and the commodification of sex has caused huge problems in society; erasing those age-old constructs is so important to improve the lives and relationships of so many people.

Respect comes naturally with getting to know a person. If you’re infatuated with them and interested in them, you will come to respect all the amazing things that make them so special.

3) Consent

Just like in baseball, you can’t make a home run without reaching third base. Perhaps the most important of the bases, consent is vital to reaching intimacy.

It’s not just about how far you can get with a girl (or a guy). This kind of thinking creates a rape culture that is extremely damaging to both sexes, and especially women. It’s important that everyone not only be aware of it but also take a proactive stand against it.

Setting your boundaries before getting physical with someone is an extremely important thing to do.

Even in the heat of the moment, taking the time to make sure both parties are okay with what’s happening will lead to greater understanding, closer intimacy, and a better time. And who doesn’t want to have a good time when they’re getting intimate?

4) Intimacy

If we’re using the baseball analogy to describe the intimacy of relationships and love, the home run is still going to be sexual, reaching those intimate moments with someone.

This stage is built upon all the others; the enjoyment and intensity of the intimacy at this point depends upon the bases that came before it.

In the traditional analogy, though, only the physical aspects of intimacy are broken up into different stages.

The reason for that has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Of course, different types of physical affections mean different things to different people. But in a lot of ways, even a simple kiss is a form of intimacy.

Following these bases from first to home run–whether a home run is just a kiss, steamy foreplay, or full-on sex–will make it that much more enjoyable, special, and rewarding. For both of you.

Here’s how to round the bases of love

Understanding the bases is the first step. Following them to that moment of intimacy is a different story. I’ll take you through each one, and explain how best to put them into practice.

1) Lust and infatuation

Don’t be afraid to let the sparks fly. With infatuation and lust come all kinds of chemistry. It’s one of the most enjoyable facets of exploring an intimate relationship.

If you’re unsure of your abilities to flirt, here are some really good tips.

Do what comes naturally. Follow the infatuation, give in to the lust, as long as you’re comfortable.

You decide how quickly things happen. Whether it’s waiting until the third date to kiss, or going straight to the bedroom after the first date, it’s up to you and how you feel about the relationship. Make sure you go into things with clear personal boundaries.

And as long as both of you are comfortable, don’t be afraid to give in to the infatuation.

2) Respect

Remember that the person across from you is just that, a person. No matter how strong your lust for them is, they are an individual with unique desires and needs, just like you.

Always show respect, avoid selfish behavior, and don’t objectify them. Even if it’s a one night stand, no human is only a sex object.

Giving them that decency and respect will not only make intimacy that much more enjoyable, but it will also bring it closer. Making sure you’re also getting that respect is really important, too.

Wondering why it’s so hard to find a decent guy? Here are some reasons why it’s so difficult.

3) Consent

Some people might think that it’s going to “ruin the mood” to ask for verbal consent.

Some women might have the tendency to think that vocalizing when they’re uncomfortable with something will turn a guy off and ruin the moment.

But intimacy without consent isn’t intimacy at all.

Each situation is different, so there’s no cut and dry way to ask for consent or receive it. Consent can take various forms, along with how somebody tries to tell you, “No”.

Consent boils down to clear and open communication. Every step of the way.

Both parties need to be clear about their boundaries and comfortability and respect them. Any violation of that communication is a violation of consent.

When communication is open and boundaries have been set, it’s easy to round the corner for the home run. Whether that home run is a romantic first kiss or having sex with someone you’ve been in a relationship with for years.

Here are some tips to get that home run and master the art of seduction.

Just remember, consent is more than just “No means no”.

4) Intimacy

The end goal of rounding the bases is to get a home run. There’s no doubt about that.

This stage can always be nerve-wracking. Showing your most vulnerable self to someone is not an easy thing, but trust your instincts. Trust the chemistry you’ve experienced up to this point.

You’re into them, and more than likely they’re totally into you, too. There’s nothing wrong with feeling nervous about dialing the intimacy up a notch, especially if it’s with somebody new.

And there’s nothing wrong if it’s a little bit awkward, clumsy, or unfamiliar. As long as you both know your boundaries and are respecting them, relax and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Sex doesn’t always have to look or feel exactly like porn, that’s just unrealistic. And frankly, porn isn’t focused on intimacy.

An emotional fulfillment and closeness are what can bring even deeper satisfaction from any intimate experience.

It’s also important to make sure to use protection. One in two people will contract an STI before they turn 25, highlighting the importance of using safe-sex practices.

In the moment, it may seem like the last thing you want to bring up, but it’s one less thing to worry about later. When you practice safe sex, it’s one less thing that gets in the way of achieving healthy, satisfying intimacy.

Following these bases will make that intimate moment all the better, even if it’s just a one night stand.

What these new bases mean for you

The traditional baseball analogy regarding sex just isn’t suited for understanding what sexual intimacy is all about.

The bases of love should be about more than just how far you go with someone.

To focus on physical stages alone breeds a superficial mentality regarding sex, and objectifies both genders, especially women.

To achieve healthy intimacy, more than physicality is involved.

Here’s how to know if he wants more than just a sexual relationship.

Even in a relationship–for instance a one-night stand–where it’s purely about the physical, there has to be respect and communication from both parties to make it work. Without it, it’s not intimacy, it’s something entirely much worse.

The new four bases of love–lust, respect, consent, and intimacy–will bring you more satisfying sexual experiences no matter the nature of the relationship.

When you meet somebody new, trust your instincts and stick to your boundaries.

Remembering to follow these bases as you get physically closer to them will make that moment of intimacy all the more exceptional.

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook.

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