The 4 Bases In A Relationship

The 4 Bases In A Relationship

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Americans have popularized the use of the term “relationship bases” across the world. These terms have also found their way into American pop culture, with plenty of teen movies, songs, and TV shows using metaphors. But what exactly do they mean? These terms are an integral part of youth slang and might regularly feature in their conversations.

Acquaint yourself with these terms to stay up to date with the popular lingos. Knowing these might be helpful when you wish to step into the dating game.

Read on to find out the meaning of relationship bases and learn some tips to keep in mind when you decide to explore them.

What Are The Bases In Relationships?

In baseball, the bases are key to scoring runs. The player who bats has to hit the ball and touch first, second, and third base in order, and then return to home plate (fourth base) to score runs. In the US, people describe sexual activity in terms of baseball. They use baseball analogies to describe the level of physical intimacy achieved in relationships.

You may have heard these references in high school or college. These terms have been around for decades but are now often used by teenagers. They became popular as the baseball terms were relatable and easily understood by the masses. While the definitions of bases might slightly differ across sources, this post will help you know the commonly used descriptions.

There are primarily four bases in relationships. Keep reading to understand the concept of American bases.

1. First Base

Kissing is the first base of a relationship. From a peck to a French kiss, it includes everything. Beyond this, touching the neck, shoulders, or face during the kiss is acceptable. Most physical relationships begin with a kiss, and it is an amazing way to express affection.

The significance of a kiss is highlighted in Hollywood romcoms and fairytales. It is the ultimate symbol of love and romance. Kissing stimulates the release of various ‘feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. Oxytocin makes you feel affection and attachment, dopamine causes euphoria and addictive behavior, while serotonin makes you feel relaxed (1).

Kissing is ideally initiated on the first or second date to assess the chemistry. It is a powerful tool that can decide the future course of any relationship. A good kiss can speed up things between the couple, while a bad one can end things.

Tips to remember

  • Read the body language of the person before moving in for a kiss. Your partner has to be comfortable with the intimacy.
  • Find the right time and place. Everyone doesn’t like to snog in the middle of a crowded restaurant.
  • Ensure you smell fresh. You have to impress your date, not scare them off. Use deodorant or perfume before kissing.
  • Avoid eating onion or garlic just before the kiss. If you have consumed any of these, use a mint or mouth spray. A stinky mouth will turn off your partner, even if you are the best kisser in the world.
  • Consent is critical in physical intimacy. Don’t touch your date without their explicit permission. Keep your hands on the face, neck, or shoulders while you kiss.

2. Second Base

The phase goes beyond mere kissing. It involves quite a bit of foreplay, such as fondling breasts, nipples, and chest. However, the make-out is limited above the waist.

The second base is the perfect way to blow some steam if the two of you are not ready to go all the way or have time constraints. Moving to the second base means you are halfway from the finish line that is incredibly arousing and intense. The action deepens the connection between the two of you and brings you closer. Even if you want to take it slow, you can experience the pleasure of intimacy by indulging in second base foreplay. However, without the climax, you might feel a bit frustrated. So, a cold shower might help you be calm.

Tips to remember

  • Check if your partner is interested in the make-out session. Run fingers along their collar bone or the bare skin of their waist. See how they react—if they lean into the touch and don’t attempt to halt your progress, continue what you are doing. However, if they stop you, back off.
  • Do you feel aroused and comfortable when they touch you? If not, you should let them know. If you are not aroused, tell your partner about your erogenous zones and guide them to enhance your pleasure.
  • Any physical relationship has to be mutually pleasurable and satisfying. Find out your partner’s erogenous zones and pay special attention to them while making out.
  • Do not force your partner to do anything against their will. If they are not willing to hit the second base, give them time.
  • Take your time in exploring each other. Going too fast might reduce the euphoria of the experience.

3. Third Base

If you have moved to the third base, you are incredibly close to the finale. While you may not reach the end, you indulge in pretty much the rest. Stimulating each other and having oral sex is okay in this phase. With this stage, you are getting into a new level of intimacy. You get a chance to explore each other’s bodies at length and reach new heights of pleasure. It is possible to achieve your big “O” at this level.

Tips to remember

  • Make sure the two of you have the same expectations from the relationship before moving to this stage. If the two of you are seeking things differently, it is best to discuss them beforehand. Otherwise, it may lead to major clashes.
  • Discuss each other’s preferences and comfort level of intimacy. Be upfront about your feelings and have an honest discussion with your partner. If either one of you is not okay with oral sex, avoid doing it. Going ahead despite being uncomfortable could ruin the entire experience for both of you. Stick to manual stimulation. Don’t force or persuade your partner.
  • A certain amount of nervousness and insecurity is okay as you are entering new territory. You might be conscious of your body. To enjoy the experience to the fullest, let go of all your inhibitions and go with the flow. Let your partner know how you feel. It will help in building a stronger connection.
  • You can further enhance the experience by complimenting your partner. It is highly likely they are nervous, too. Your sincere praise will relax them and boost their confidence.
  • If you decide to explore the third base thoroughly, take necessary precautions. Even with oral sex, there is a significant risk of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) (2). Protection, such as condoms or dental dams, can protect you and your partner. The two of you can even get tested for STIs before getting to the third base.

4. Fourth Base

The fourth base is the final act. Sometimes referred to as home run, it means penetrative sex. It is an act of ultimate intimacy that requires trust and comfort. Sex is about mutual pleasure. Sensing and fulfilling each other’s needs makes the experience satisfying for both parties.

There is no hard and fast rule about the right time to have sex. Some people go for it in the first meeting while others wait for months. It is a personal choice. Going all the way is a big decision and should be taken after proper deliberation. Some couples engage in casual sex with no strings attached; however, both partners need to be on the same page.

Several movies, TV shows, and books have tried to capture the essence of lovemaking over the years. Exposure to these media might lead to illusions about the whole experience. We might start believing that sex is always beautiful, smooth, and perfect. However, the experience can sometimes be awkward or uncomfortable. Hence, it is essential to keep an open mind.

Tips to remember

  • Be 100% sure before having sex. Don’t let any pressure coerce you.
  • When you decide to have sex, go ahead without any outlandish expectations about perfection. Relax and have fun.
  • Share with your partner if something feels uncomfortable, and don’t do anything against your will. State your boundaries clearly.
  • Don’t be selfish while having sex. Be sensitive to your partner’s needs.
  • Have safe sex by using proper contraception. Avoid depending on your partner for protection.

Baseball Metaphors

Here are some good-to-know baseball metaphors.

  • Strike-out

If you have watched baseball, you might have heard the term “strike-out.” It means that the batsman was unable to hit the ball three times in succession. As per baseball rules, the batsman is considered out.

In the dating game, strike-out means your partner has failed to engage in foreplay or other sexual activities. While the analogy might seem to be a bad thing, it is not. Every date doesn’t have to end with a sexual encounter. Sometimes circumstances do not allow you to get physically intimate.

You need to give time to each other to build the chemistry. Take everything in stride. Physical intimacy cannot be forced and has to happen naturally. At the right time, the physical connection will happen, and it is okay to strike-out until then.

  • Switch-hitter or playing for both the teams

In baseball parlance, a switch-hitter is a batsman who can bat left- and right-handed. In the dating world, the term is used to refer to a bisexual.

  • Playing or batting for the other team

The metaphor indicates a homosexual person (lesbian or gay).

  • Pitcher

A man who performs anal sex on his partner.

  • Catcher

A man who receives anal sex from his partner.

Understanding these metaphors will help you navigate social circles. However, while it is good to know about the terminology used by your peers, a relationship cannot be limited to four bases. Focus on getting to know your date and building a meaningful relationship rather than fixating on reaching a new base. Explore your sexuality with your partner at the pace you are comfortable with. You don’t have to get to a particular base because your peers are doing it. Just follow your heart and remember to enjoy.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. E. Maguire; What’s in a kiss? The science of smooching; British Council (2015)
2. STIs and Oral Sex; American Sexual Health Association

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sanjana lagudu

Sanjana did her graduation in Pharmacy and post graduation in management. It was during her first job, she recognized her skills in writing and began working as a freelance writer. Later, she completely moved into content writing and began working as a full-time content writer. Sanjana's articles in MomJunction cover topics related to new parenting and relationships. A fitness enthusiast... more