With baseball being America’s pastime and so much had to be fun with sexual euphemisms, it’s no surprise that American society has put one and one together to create sexual metaphors. You’ve seen it on the big screen, heard it on the playground and even country star Kenny Chesney and rocker Meat Loaf have sung about the relationship bases! This metaphor simply exists to measure how far you’ve gone with a partner, especially when you’re bragging to friends after the fact!

You’re not alone if you only have a hazy idea of the definition of each of the bases in a relationship. There is variation depending upon geography or even where you may have heard it. So if your older sister or brother defines the bases differently than a chick flick you just watched, don’t worry about it. In fact, a Wikipedia page exists just to define these baseball metaphors. Although it’s certainly more fun to ask your friends “What are the bases?” as a kid than to research it.


Here are the basics:

  • First base refers to open-mouth (French) kissing and potential makeout sessions. But that’s it!
  • You’ve reached second base when you’ve exposed your breasts to manual and oral stimulation. This one definitely had school kids excited.
  • Third base has been reached when your pants come off. If you’re performing oral or your partner is fingering you, you’ve gotten to third. Third base can also mean giving a hand job.
  • A home run, of course, is when a couple goes “all the way” or has actual penetrative sex.


And what about when you don’t go all the way? Well, you’ve obviously struck out and will have to try again later, maybe with a different team.

Obviously, the bases might seem a little dated and the metaphor doesn’t cover every type of sexual activity. This might be why there are so many variations. For example, in some circles, second base includes over-the-clothes stimulation – possibly up to dry humping, which can lead to orgasms!


If you’re an adult, you might not have thought about the bases in quite some time. After all, it can seem silly and it’s much hotter to talk about licking your partner’s cock rather than “third base.” However, these terms became so widely used because they offered an easy-to-understand metric for a wide number of people. Of course, non-Americans and other folks who don’t enjoy baseball might feel a little confused!

In modern times, some people recommend using the bases when describing sexual actions to children. If you’re a mother yourself, you might have to field some of those questions from your children as they hear the words used by friends and peers. Be prepared with an answer to the question “What are the bases?” just in case.

On a personal level, defining your relationship by bases may not be helpful. It can lead to stress if you think that you and your partner should reach a certain activity by a certain point. Have you ever stressed about having sex by the third date? Maybe date number three doesn’t have to be associated with baseball’s home run!

In fact, some of the best times during a relationship can be before you’ve scored! Remember making out and dry humping in the back of your high school boyfriend’s car? The tension that mounts before you mount one another can be almost palpable and make shivers run down your spine, and you’ll miss it if you’re too worried about what you should be doing.

As long as you’re enjoying yourself with a new partner, do you need to even think about the bases in a relationship? Just like focusing on orgasm can be counterproductive, it’s up to you to enjoy the journey no matter how fast or slowly it may be moving!

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