How long should you wait before having sex with a new partner? How many dates is the right number? One, three, however many it takes to fall in love?
The answer, of course, is that there are no should and shouldn’ts; it’s different for everyone and in every relationship, so in the vein of many a teen mag, you’ve just totally gotta do what feels right for you, you know?
But other people have more solid ideas on the ‘correct’ number of dates one must have before one sleeps with the new man or woman in one’s life.
And, perhaps not surprisingly, there’s an amusing mismatch between what people say others should do and how they themselves choose to behave. So what’s the magic number?
A YouGov Omnibus survey of 39,000 people found that most – an average of 16% of the men and women surveyed – believe three dates is the ideal number to wait before that move to the bedroom/sofa/pub toilet.
However, when it comes to personal preference there’s a big gender split, as well as a smattering of hypocrisy.
According to the report, most women surveyed (21%) said they would wait until they were in love before having sex (compared to 9% of men saying the same). Meanwhile, most men surveyed (28%) said they would have sex on the first date (four times the amount of women). This being despite the fact that only 9% of these very same men thought it was appropriate for other people to have first-date sex.
Similarly, though on a smaller scale, while 7% of women would have sex on the first date, only 3% thought others should too.
Asked about when other people should sleep together, while most people on average thought it should be on the third date and most of the men questioned (18%) said the same, the most popular answer among women was waiting until you’re in love – 15% answered this way, just edging out the 14% who said third date.
Age-wise, 27% of 18-24 year-old men surveyed said they would have sex on a first date, increasing to 35% among men aged 35 to 44.
And when it comes to sex before marriage, 4% of men and 5% of women surveyed said they would wait until they were wed.