Daily Mail

So... how long did it take­ YOU?

It’s the great dat­ing dilemma -- when should you first make love with a new part­ner. As Carla Bruni re­veals she and Ni­co­las Sarkozy hopped into bed after two dates, our brave writ­ers re­veal all

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CARLA BRUNI has re­vealed she slept with Ni­co­las Sarkozy on their second date, while Harry and Meghan did it on the third, hint the au­thors of their bi­og­ra­phy, Find­ing Free­dom. So how long did you wait? And does the length of time ever in­di­cate whether the re­la­tion­ship will be a suc­cess — or doomed? Seven Fe­mail writ­ers re­call their very dif­fer­ent first ex­pe­ri­ences . . .


I may be a set­tled- down sex­a­ge­nar­ian th­ese days, but I’ve never, ever been on a date with some­one I haven’t slept with first. What’s the point? They might be a to­tal wash-out in bed — and then you’ll have wasted an evening mak­ing small talk.

It’s not that I’ve been pro­mis­cu­ous, sadly; I’ve mar­ried a high pro­por­tion of the men I’ve had sex with, get­ting with my first hus­band as a teenager and then mar­ry­ing the next two as soon as the ink on the de­cree ab­so­lute on the last one was dry.

I’ve never been ro­man­tic, which dates seem to be all about; soft lights and sweet mu­sic and hag­gling over the bill. and when I hear some fool bang­ing on about The One, I think of what the late Peter Usti­nov said about friends: ‘They are not nec­es­sar­ily the peo­ple you like best — they are merely the peo­ple who get there first.’

The same goes for lovers; in my ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s less about The One than The Queue.

Over the years, you work your way through the line of peo­ple you’re at­tracted to, fi­nally end­ing up with the one you don’t have the en­ergy to leave.

Some might see a life con­tain­ing three mar­riages as a fail­ure — but with each con­sec­u­tive one last­ing five years, ten years and now 25 years, I do seem to have got bet­ter at choos­ing along the way.

Would it have been dif­fer­ent if I’d waited and dated? No.

When the poet John Bet­je­man was asked on his death bed whether he had any re­grets, he an­swered: ‘ yes — I wish I’d had more sex.’ I don’t be­lieve that any­one ever wished they’d had more awk­ward, cliched, hum­drum dates.

30 DATES . . . THOUGH HE PRO­POSED ON THE SECOND Jean­nette Kupfer­mann

LIke Carla Bruni and Ni­cholas Sarkozy, it was love at first sight with my late artist hus­band Jac­ques when we met on a blind date in New york in 1963. I was 22, he was 38. I just knew as he drove me round a snow-cov­ered Cen­tral Park in his blue VW mi­crobus that he was The One.

So per­haps it was sur­pris­ing that we didn’t jump into bed to­gether im­me­di­ately, or even after he had pro­posed on our second date and I’d said ‘yes’.

In fact, it took a long time — about a month of daily dates — be­fore we did the deed.

We al­most take it for granted now that, even if there’s no coup de

foudre, peo­ple will have in­stant sex, al­most in lieu of a good­night kiss, as if it’s a lit­mus test to find out if the re­la­tion­ship is worth pur­su­ing. Rather than the other way round, which means dis­cov­er­ing the essence of the per­son and then de­cid­ing whether it will lead to that fi­nal con­sum­ma­tion. We both wanted it to be just right and nei­ther of our man­hat­tan flats was ex­actly ‘love nest’ ma­te­rial.

His was a paint- spat­tered West-Side apart­ment. mine was largely fur­ni­ture-less, as all my earn­ings went on rent, and I shared it with a Dan­ish an­thro­pol­o­gist who was al­ways home study­ing.

When it fi­nally hap­pened on a break to a beau­ti­ful moun­tain re­treat, after those whirl­wind weeks of heart-to–heart talk­ing, danc­ing, meet­ing friends, telling par­ents, mak­ing plans, it was ab­so­lutely right and I’m glad we waited.

To­day, when many women (and men, too) more or less feel that sex is oblig­a­tory after one din­ner date (or even a drink), many peo­ple either mar­vel at the ‘ro­mance’ of my ex­pe­ri­ence or tell me I must have been crazy to ac­cept a pro­posal without even know­ing if we were phys­i­cally com­pat­i­ble. (We were and stayed mar­ried for 25 years.)

They also won­der how we man­aged to hold off. Nei­ther of us was im­mune to the power of lust. But this was not to­day.

The Pill, sex as lib­er­a­tion, a wo­man’s ‘right’, hadn’t hap­pened yet. In spite of the 1960s myths, it wasn’t all sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. I still had my mother’s words ‘a man will never re­spect you if you do’ in my head . . . and you don’t shake that off so eas­ily.

It meant we all rather took for granted lots of male at­ten­tion, pam­per­ing and din­ner in­vi­ta­tions, all for noth­ing more than a good­night kiss.


aRe we meant to be shocked that Prince Harry and meghan markle slept to­gether on their third date, Carla and Ni­co­las on only their second?

What on earth took them all so long? In Fe­bru­ary 1990, hav­ing found the brass neck to ask my boss out for din­ner, we ended up at my lit­tle flat and, in truth fu­elled as much by al­co­hol as pas­sion, spent the night to­gether.

Jane wasn’t ex­actly my boss, but she was sev­eral links fur­ther up the chain of com­mand.

I was a fledg­ling re­porter on a lo­cal news­pa­per; she was the deputy news edi­tor.

On mon­day morn­ings, I had to sit at her desk where she handed out the week’s as­sign­ments.

By about my fifth week, as she told me to cover the coun­cil’s next hous­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing, words that wouldn’t have sounded sexy even from the mouth of marilyn mon­roe, I re­alised with a jolt that I fan­cied her.

Sev­eral months of hous­ing com­mit­tee meet­ings passed, very slowly. If she fan­cied me back, why was she mak­ing me spend al­most un­en­durable Tues­day evenings in Cam­den Town Hall?

On the other hand, I felt some electricit­y be­tween us, only about enough to power a dim light-bulb, but it was def­i­nitely there. So I asked her out and she said yes. We had din­ner, far too much wine, and that was that.

ex­cept it wasn’t. She had some hol­i­day ow­ing, and took it the next day. When she came back, it was if I’d dreamt it all.

It was busi­ness as usual in front of her desk. I had to fol­low her to the post of­fice one lunchtime to ask what was, or wasn’t, go­ing on be­tween us.

She said it was com­pli­cated, that she didn’t want an of­fice ro­mance, could we just be friends for the time be­ing?

To both of us, for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, sex on our first date felt like a mis­take.

But then she left the news­pa­per to join the BBC and, duly em­bold­ened, I asked her out again. We didn’t sleep to­gether that night, which in a sense made it feel more like a bona fide date, though we caved in again a few nights later.

We’ve now been hap­pily mar­ried for al­most 28 years, and have three chil­dren, not one of them named after any­one on the 1990 Cam­den Coun­cil hous­ing com­mit­tee.


It took a long time for my first se­ri­ous boyfriend and me to go to bed to­gether, partly be­cause we were stu­dents shar­ing rooms and didn’t have any pri­vate beds to jump into.

Also we were young — only 19 — and in­ex­pe­ri­enced and I was ter­ri­fied of be­com­ing preg­nant.

So we man­aged it after maybe 40 dates, which was prob­a­bly a year or more. In those days, the early 1960s, it was com­mon to wait un­til at least an en­gage­ment to go to bed to­gether.

I can’t now re­mem­ber when the great event even­tu­ally hap­pened and no, he had not at that time pro­posed. But, once we had gone to bed to­gether, it was an un­said ex­pec­ta­tion that we would marry.

Although the mar­riage even­tu­ally ended, we had many good years to­gether be­fore we di­vorced when I was in my 40s.

With my second long- term re­la­tion­ship, though, it was a very dif­fer­ent story.

Di­vorced, I was def­i­nitely not look­ing for an­other love af­fair. And then, four years into my sin­gle life, I met the writer John Sandi­lands at a party.

He was in his late 50s, witty, en­ter­tain­ing and highly per­cep­tive. I had long ad­mired his work but was hardly pre­pared for the over­whelm­ing im­pact the man him­self would have on me.

We got talk­ing, obliv­i­ous to the other guests at the party, and a few days later my phone rang.

It was John, who asked me out to din­ner. As we drove to the restau­rant a strange feel­ing be­gan to take over.

I thought: ‘oh no, I’m fall­ing in love with this man.’

We didn’t go to bed to­gether that night, or on the next date, but on the third en­counter, yes, it hap­pened. It could not be put off any longer. We knew we were meant for each other.

We had clicked in­stantly, body, soul and mind, and sleep­ing to­gether was so thrilling that our part­ner­ship lasted for 12 years, end­ing only with his sud­den death. oth­er­wise I am sure we would still be to­gether.


I met the man who was to be­come my hus­band when I went to stay with some friends in Belfast and slept with him on our first date.

But our first date was a year after we had ac­tu­ally met.

He was seven years younger than me so, for many months, I didn’t think of him in ‘that’ way. When­ever I went back to Belfast to stay with our mu­tual friends, I saw him. or talked to him on the tele­phone when he rang my friends from the far flung places he trav­elled to for his work as a pho­tog­ra­pher.

We met in Lon­don when he re­turned from a long stint in Rus­sia, ema­ci­ated. He ar­rived at Wa­ter­stones in Char­ing Cross Road to hear our Belfast friend read­ing from his new novel, and sat next to me.

Af­ter­wards a gang of us went to the pub and some­thing clicked. We hugged each other tightly in tacit ac­knowl­edg­ment.

A few days later, the two of us went to a low-key ham­burger place, our first of­fi­cial ‘date’ and he came back to my flat — and never left.

We were to­gether for nearly 20 years and have three chil­dren. Although we di­vorced in 2010, we are the best of friends.

my mother al­ways coun­selled against sleep­ing with a man on the first date but I dis­agree.

Some­times it’s the right thing to do; some­times not. Con­trary to old wives’ tales, how soon or late one ends up in bed with a new lover doesn’t have any bear­ing on the long-term out­come.

I think that is all down to luck and hap­pen­stance and rarely, if ever, down to whether the deed was done on Date one or 21.


JuSt do it! that’s my motto. If you meet some­one you fancy, why not jump straight into bed?

I don’t care for Vic­to­rian prud­ish­ness or ma­nip­u­la­tive ‘ Rules’ about mak­ing men wait a cer­tain num­ber of dates.

I can’t think of any­thing worse than com­mit­ting to some­one only to find out much later that you don’t click in bed.

I’ve never bat­ted an eye­lid at the idea of sleep­ing with some­one on the first date — and cer­tainly it’s never af­fected the longevity of my re­la­tion­ships. I fell into bed with the first love of my life. Five years later he still hadn’t left.

I had a one-night-stand with the man who would go on to be­come my fi­ance.

I think it’s im­por­tant to go into a re­la­tion­ship know­ing that the chem­istry be­tween you is there be­tween the sheets.

You wouldn’t buy a house without go­ing on a view­ing, or join a com­pany without find­ing out what they do. How can you com­mit to a re­la­tion­ship with some­one without know­ing if the sex will be any good?

or if you like the same things? Imag­ine get­ting six months down the line only then to dis­cover their weird fetishes!

the era when women used sex as a prize was tied up to their eco­nomic vul­ner­a­bil­ity, now we don’t have to wait.

I don’t think there’s shame with jump­ing into bed with some­one I’m think­ing of dat­ing be­cause my worth isn’t mea­sured by how ‘pure’ I am.

I’m happy to sleep with some­one on a first date be­cause it’s im­por­tant to me to have chem­istry with my mate. It gives re­la­tion­ships glue. In those mo­ments you’re scream­ing about the wash­ing up, it helps if you look over and think ‘he’s cute’. . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY . ORIG­I­NAL COPY ORIG­I­NAL COPY

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