The Modern Guide to Dating and the Morning After


Should I text, not text?
Is it time to have the talk?
Help, the condom split!
Have I just been stashed, shipped, kittenfished?
Should I pay the bill or split?
WTF is cuffing season?!
Well that sexit was awkward…

Dating in the 21st Century is complicated.
Whether you’re in a relationship or not, read on for our handy guide to modern dating.

Oloni (left) is the Founder and Editor of, a sex and relationship blog. Oloni is also a relationship coach and has given thousands of men and women all over the world advice on their love and sex lives.
Dr Dawn Harper (right) is a practicing GP, she also presented on Channel 4’s series ‘Embarrassing Bodies’

The first date

You’ve got yourself a date, but what should you wear, where should you go, do you split the bill? Sex and relationship blogger, Oloni, offers some top tips….

First dates should be exciting, with the appeal of a new romance and a new love interest. It’s important to put your best foot forward. It’s best to make sure that whatever you wear is comfortable. That isn’t to say that your outfit can’t be stylish or sexy, but you don’t want to be in the middle of getting to know Mr or Mrs Right when all you can think about is how painful your new shoes are.

Now that you’ve picked the right outfit, show it off to your mates. You know they’ll shower you in compliments – nothing like a confidence boost before a nerve wracking first date!

Keep the date short and sweet, it should be long enough for you to get to know each other but still leave you wanting more. We all want a date to go well, but on the off chance that the two of you aren’t vibing, you’ll be grateful that you went for drinks instead of a 3-course meal. Fun activities such as mini-golf etc are a great way to get to spend some time together without the worry of awkward silences.

So you’ve come to the end of the date, and it’s time to settle the bill – always offer to split, it’s 2018 after all! The most important thing you should remember before and during a first date – BE YOURSELF! There is no better version of you than when you are true to yourself.

Dr Dawn Says

Think ahead to ensure you’re protected
Heading out on a hot date? Think there might be a chance of having sex? Then make sure you have a condom packed – just in case. This means that if you really hit things off, you know you have protection to hand.

To text or not to text?

You’ve met someone, you like them and you’re trying to play it cool. How long do you wait to text back? Does he/she like me too? Oloni offers her advice ….

The texting games, nothing is more tricky at the beginning of a new relationship, so how do you play and win? Trick question – you don’t.

There are no rules when it comes to texting and everyone is different. Just because your best mate’s new partner texts back merely moments after their first encounter doesn’t mean that your notification-less phone the next day after your date meant it was unsuccessful.

Do what you think is right, if you’re attached to your phone then reply as soon as you see the message, don’t wait for exactly an hour to reply each time, it will be obvious that you’re playing some sort of game and that can actually be a turn off.

The best way to tell if someone likes you is by how often they initiate a conversation with you. If you find that it’s you that texts more, they’re either too busy, or not that into you.

Dr Dawn Says

Three dots and screenshots…
Navigating the rules of texting can sometimes feel like one of the less fun aspects of dating in the 21st century. But don’t overthink it, or let it stress you out. Whatever you do, don’t EVER feel pressured into saying or sharing anything you don’t want to over text, social media or otherwise.

Bedroom etiquette

For the first-timers and the long-timers, we look at the perfect bedroom etiquette for the night before and the morning after. Does anyone actually want breakfast in bed?!

Getting intimate with your sexual partner can be exciting. New experience or not, you should always stock up on condoms. This is to make sure you don’t face the risk of STIs and to avoid pregnancy scares. What’s more, condoms come in various types to help cater to your pleasurable moment.

When having sex, it’s always best to communicate your wants and desires as it’s a key part of sexual intercourse, it shows you care about your partner and that you’re attentive.

After enjoying a night of fun, the conversations the next morning between you and your sexual partner may be different. If this is the first time you’ve hooked up, you might feel awkward, but you shouldn’t. Tell them how you found the night and ask if you can have a shower, whilst they stick on the kettle.

You might even be surprised to find out they’ve made you breakfast in bed…

Dr Dawn Says

Time to ensure you have contraception covered.
You’ve met someone you like and want to have sex with them. But before you do, make sure you have a reliable method of contraception in place that works for you. When sleeping with someone new it’s important to make sure you use a condom.

Let’s get prepared

A look at regular contraception methods and finding the right one for you – whether you’re in a long term relationship or just dating

Regular contraception is like a glove, it is important to find the perfect fit for you. Take your time, explore your options and make sure you are clued up on all there is to know, as the benefits and disadvantages will differ depending on your priorities.

If you’re about to get intimate with someone for the first time and haven’t got any condoms, ask your sexual partner if they do. It is both parties responsibility to make sure that you’re protected. Talk to them about any contraception you’re already on and what method of contraception you prefer. This is also a good time to discuss when you last had a sexual health test.

There are 15 methods of contraception. These include:

caps intrauterine device (IUD)
combined pill intrauterine system (IUS)
condoms (female) natural family planning
condoms (male) progestogen-only pill
contraceptive implant vaginal ring
contraceptive injection female sterilisation (permanent method)
contraceptive patch male sterilisation (vasectomy) (permanent method)

Dr Dawn Says

Had sex and your method of contraception let you down?
You don’t need to feel embarrassed. Recent research* found a third (31%) of females would feel embarrassed to ask for the morning after pill. Although it’s totally normal to feel awkward speaking to a stranger about contraceptive mishaps, remember that doctors and pharmacists are professionals, have heard it all before and should do their best to make you feel comfortable.

How to have a polite sexit

You had sex last night, it’s the morning after and time for farewells. Do you swap numbers? Suggest going for breakfast? Meet up again? Oloni offers advice on making the morning after less awkward. Who said anything about a walk of shame?

A sexit doesn’t have to be as difficult as the movies portray. You don’t need to write a note and leave it on the dresser. You also don’t have to grab your shoes and gently tip toe out of their apartment in the wee hours of the morning. That is, unless you have somewhere you need to be.

If you’ve woken up and the first thing on your mind is food, then go with how you feel and ask if your partner is hungry so you can pop into a café for breakfast. Who has ever said no to food first thing in the morning? Exactly!

This gives you both the chance to talk more and get to know each other further. Find out what their favourite film is, or the last time they went to a good concert. Have a conversation! Nothing should have to change just because you’ve had sex and why should it? If you’re sexually attracted to someone there should still be enough chemistry to still get to know each other further.

Dr Dawn Says

Talk to your healthcare professional about getting tested for STIs.
If you have had unprotected sex you might be at risk of having a sexually transmitted infection. Getting tested can put your mind at rest, provide treatment and explain how you can avoid passing the infection on to other people with whom you have sex.

Having ‘the talk’

You’ve been dating for a while and want to know where things are going, is it time to have ‘the talk’? Oloni gives her opinion on how to approach the subject and when to do it.

You’ve been hitting it off for a while now. The dates are great, the energy and effort they’ve made shows that this could be more than a sexual relationship.

So what happens now? Communicating is always essential in and outside of the bedroom. If you feel as though you may want more, speak up. It doesn’t have to be a serious or scary conversation, but simply two people who want to make sure they’re on the same page.

Try not to become a cliché and say, “Where is this going?” straight after intimacy. You could wait and do it in the morning and have the conversation by starting off with what you’d like. Being open and honest in any sort of relationship is healthy.

Use this opportunity to ask other questions, such as what they are looking for from you, whether or not they’re dating or sleeping with anyone else and how long it takes for them to want to become exclusive with someone. You can even ask when their last commitment was, so you get a better understanding of their relationship history.

If the conversation doesn’t go how you wanted and it transpires they think you’re better off as friends, don’t feel bummed out. At least you know where you stand, so you can decide whether or not you’d like to entertain attention from other people.

Having this talk doesn’t need to be something you kick yourself about because it didn’t go the way you scripted it in your head. Now you know where their mind is at, you don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket.

Dr Dawn Says

Regularly review your choice of contraception
It’s important to make sure your chosen method of contraception is the best method for you. This means it can be a good idea to regularly review the method you are using and speak to a healthcare professional for advice.

The condom split!

We’ve all been there, it happens. You aren’t ready for a baby, so why leave it up to chance? You have options; whether you’re in a long term relationship or not.

It could have split, slipped off or maybe you forgot to use a condom during a moment of passion? It’s the reality of many scenarios and it happens in and out of long term relationships, but what you do next is the most important thing, as there’s no time for any dilly dallying.

If you’re positive a baby isn’t what you see on your horizon, then it’s vital you try to sort out emergency contraception as soon as possible so it can be as effective as possible.

If your partner doesn’t bring it up in a conversation, you can. You might be surprised how relieved you both feel once the topic has been addressed. For some men and women it can feel slightly awkward to discuss, but it shouldn’t. Talking about any sort of contraception makes you come across sexually mature and aware.

Dr Dawn Says

There are two types of emergency contraception.
These include the intrauterine device, also known as the IUD or the coil, and morning after pills, an oral method of emergency contraception. There are two different types of morning after pill, one contains ulipristal acetate and the other contains levonorgestrel. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor about what is the best option for you.

There’s a time limit for taking the morning after pill or having the emergency coil/IUD fitted.
Check exact details with your doctor or pharmacist, as timings will vary depending on the type of emergency contraception you use. The sooner you take action, the better the chance of it working. If you are planning to get the IUD fitted, it is always worth consulting your pharmacist about the morning after pill while waiting for your appointment, to reduce your risk of pregnancy, especially in case of any delays.

It takes two

Traditionally it’s been a taboo subject, and left for the girl to sort out on her own. In 2018, this shouldn’t be the case. There shouldn’t be any shame around emergency contraception. Oloni provides advice on how to approach the subject with a partner.

Society has come a long way from the times when women quietly shuffled into the pharmacy and whispered to the pharmacist whilst looking over their shoulder, worried they’d bump into someone they know.

Now we can all agree that sex is enjoyable for all and it should not be frowned upon and neither should the need to use emergency contraception. If emergency contraception is required after sexual intercourse, you should feel comfortable enough to speak to your sexual partner. Remember – using emergency contraception after unprotected sex is the smart, responsible thing to do.

Encourage your partner to see it as a joint responsibility. Will you drive to the pharmacy or doctors together? Will you split the cost? Why not suggest you go together to collect it, and then come back to watch a movie with a takeaway?

Dr Dawn Says

Having ‘the chat’ needn’t be awkward.
Times are changing. A recent survey* showed that 69% of people felt emergency contraception is the responsibility of both parties, so feel confident knowing most people would be happy to discuss the options available.

Emergency contraception is easily accessible.
A fifth (18%*) of people wouldn’t know where and how to access emergency contraception. In most cases, you don’t need to visit your doctor to get the morning after pill. Oral emergency contraception is available directly from your pharmacist, without a prescription. It is available from most pharmacy stores, or you can order online. The IUD is available from contraception clinics, sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics and GP surgeries.

Breaking up *insert sad emoji*

Breaking up sucks but our experts are here to offer advice on dealing with break ups, how to break up with someone, what to say and how to move on.

Break ups are never easy, whether it be your first or your tenth, and everyone deals with it differently. If you’ve decided it’s time to break up with someone, face to face is always the best option, unless of course there are special circumstances.

Try to meet your partner in a neutral setting and come prepared with why you’ve decided to end the relationship. It’s hard to predict how someone will react, so try not to play it out in your mind too much.

Once you’ve broken up with your partner, it’s important to make sure you don’t feel pressured into over-expressing or hiding your emotions to please other people.

You may have a friend who swears by the half time rule – it takes half the time of the relationship to get over it. But since every relationship is different it stands to reason that every break up and healing time differs too. It may be cliché but after you’ve ended a relationship, it’s the perfect time to focus on you. Treat yourself, get back to doing the things you used to love doing or pick up something new. Meet new people and reconnect with friends and family. Whatever you do, take your time and go at your own pace. When you are ready to start dating again, you, and only you, will know!

Glossary of modern dating terms

Breadcrumbing; when the crush has no intentions of taking things further, but they like the attention. So, they flirt here or there, send DMs/texts just to keep the person interested, knowing they’re not wanting commitment.

Catfishing; is the practice of faking an entire online identity with the hope of making a romantic or platonic relationship with someone.

Cuffing Season; happens when new couples are formed just before the winter months, so they have someone to snuggle up with during the colder months.

Kittenfishing; the child of catfishing, kittenfishing sees people telling little lies e.g. about their height with the intention of creating an enhanced version of themselves.

Shipping; the true mark of a full-blown relationship is when it is endorsed or ‘shipped’ by the couple’s nearest and dearest.

Sidebarring; refers to when we are with our partner, or on a date, and we keep looking at our phone.

Stashing; is a dating trend in which someone is dating someone else, but has decided to hide them away from everyone in their life. You might notice that, you’ve uploaded lots of photos of you as a couple, but it hasn’t been reciprocated by them.


* Research conducted by Censuswide in June 2018 with
2,020 heterosexual 17-35 year olds who have had sex

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