Definitions of bases — and we're not talking baseball

Originally Published: April 17, 1998 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: March 26, 2013
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Dear Alice,

Some of the girls at my school talk about how their boyfriends got to first, second, or third base with them. I feel kind of left out because I don't know exactly what they are. Could you tell me what the bases are for girls and guys? I'd really appreciate it.

—Wondering

 Dear Wondering,

There is no "official" definition of what the bases represent. However, the following is a general guide to what they mean:

  • First base = kissing, including open-mouth (French) kissing
  • Second base = petting above the waist, including touching, feeling, and fondling the chest, breasts, and nipples
  • Third base = petting and/or orally stimulating below the waist, including touching, feeling, and fondling the vagina, clitoris, penis, and testicles
  • Home run = sexual intercourse

These definitions are subject to change and can vary among different people, so don't be embarrassed to ask your friends exactly what they mean (and you probably aren't the only one who needs clarification).  It's great that you want to be informed — asking is the best way to find out.

Speaking of asking others, one crucial piece to rounding any of the bases is making sure that you and your partner(s) have mutually consented. Some thoughts to consider include: Have I expressed what I want? Do I know what my partner wants? Am I certain that consent has been given?   

And by the way, if any of you fans are going out to the ballpark, you may want to make sure you've got all your gear. For information about contraception and safer sex, search through the Go Ask Alice! Sexual and Reproductive Health archives.

Alice

December 17, 2012

520295
A good explanation, but flawed in one regard. By my own understanding, intercourse ranks as 4th base and a home run refers to a one-night stand.
A good explanation, but flawed in one regard. By my own understanding, intercourse ranks as 4th base and a home run refers to a one-night stand.

December 13, 2012

520136
Wouldn't it only be a 'home run' if you went straight to having intercourse without having to stop at any of the other bases? Otherwise it should just be a 'run'. :-)
Wouldn't it only be a 'home run' if you went straight to having intercourse without having to stop at any of the other bases? Otherwise it should just be a 'run'. :-)

June 26, 2012

512977
Thanks you for explaining that to me! I've asked some of my friends who are experts on this stuff and THEY didn't even know!
Thanks you for explaining that to me! I've asked some of my friends who are experts on this stuff and THEY didn't even know!