How many dates would you go on with a love interest before sleeping with them? A few? A couple? One? Well, if you’re TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson, date one is the optimum time to have sex with your potential partner.
Jonsson said: “A good date is what? One that ends in sex? That is why people are hooking up. Let’s not pretend.”
For a generation of daters, particularly women, having sex on the first date was unheard of. Instead, they followed the “three date rule”, as exhibited by the character Charlotte York (as played by Kristin Davis) in the original Sex and the City series where she stated that the third date was the “appropriate” time to have sex with your new flame.
Two decades and the introduction of dating apps like Tinder later, and dating attitudes have relaxed enormously. But is there really a golden number of dates to go on before having sex with someone new?
“It’s not about one, three or 10 dates, it’s about when you feel comfortable to have sex,” dating coach Hayley Quinn tells The Independent. “There’s no rule for physical intimacy, and if someone tries to rush you faster than you want to go, be cautious.”
Choosing to have sex with another person is a personal choice and, as Quinn says, there’s no concrete rule as to when this step needs to be taken.
She explains: “For some people testing out the sexual chemistry is a natural next step, for others it would leave them feeling emotionally over committed to go there. Whatever side of the spectrum you fall on, accept your feelings and look out for dates who respect your boundaries.”
If we want to look at a general consensus on when is the “right” time to have sex with a new partner, a YouGov survey from 2017 found that one in five people (18 per cent) have sex after the first date. When it came to men and women, the data found that 28 per cent of men were ready to sleep with someone after the first date compared to seven per cent of women.
The survey also found that one in eight people (12 per cent) follow the three-date rule, while 15 per cent want to wait until they are “in love” and five per cent of those surveyed said they would hold off until married. Of those surveyed, 21 per cent of women would like to wait until they are “in love” compared to nine per cent of men.
“Old dating advice used to preach holding out on sex, in case the other person stopped seeing you as a serious option after ‘giving away’ sex so easily,” Quinn explains.
“Take a closer look, and the ideas behind this ‘rule’ seem deeply rooted in the idea that our ‘sexual market value’ falls with the more partners we have. If someone really did write you off as ‘easy’ would you really want to date them anyway?”
However, Quinn says that there is a “compelling” reason to wait to have sex: so you can get to know them a bit better.
“If you’re enjoying casual dating, and the other person is on the same page, there’s no need to wait,” she continues. “If you know you really want a relationship, and will feel disappointed if this doesn’t go in that direction, take your time getting to know someone.”
The joy of a first date is that it’s all about the unknown. It’s about seeing them for the first time (if you’ve connected on a dating app), getting to know their mannerisms and the way they talk. It’s about discovering if their personality is as attractive to you as their physical attributes, whether or not you can make each other laugh and feel relaxed, and it’s about trying to see who can fill those awkward silences the best.
“Even if you don’t want to tear their clothes off, do you think they’re quite nice?,” Quinn asks. “If so, take at least one more date to explore your connection further.”
For some, a “good” first date will end with plans to meet up again. For others, a kiss will be shared or they’ll wake up next to their date the next morning. What “success” looks like on a date is different for everyone, and that’s OK.
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