There are a lot of people who wonder how many dates you should wait to have sex — or just want to know how many dates other people are waiting.
Remember the three date rule? The guideline (that still exists in some circles!) that claims the third date is when it's time to get down and dirty. It was really popular for a long time, but I don't buy it, and neither do others. It's time we say goodbye to that guideline, and challenge the question as a whole.
Because really, the question is a pointless one. Who cares how long other people are waiting? Why do you think what's right for them will be right for you? If you want to have a healthy and happy sex life, it shouldn't be by anyone else's standards but your own. Especially because, as you'll see, the amount of time that people wait varies so much.
We also need to rethink the language of how long people "wait" to have sex. It makes it sound like it's something from which we should hold ourselves back. It encourages the idea that it's an instinct we should fight. In reality, some people don't "wait" at all.
And why should they? If they want to do it, there's nothing to wait for. Here's why the idea of waiting to have sex doesn't matter.
When you look at the numbers, there is no clear picture of how long "most" people wait— and that's a good thing. One YouGov survey says that only 12 per cent of people follow the three date rule, compared to 18 per cent who go right for it on date number one. But another survey, this one from Glamour, says that a much higher percentage — 46 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women — have had sex on the first date.
The numbers don't add up because everybody is doing different things. People have such varying attitudes toward sex that when you ask one group you'll get a totally different answer than if you ask another. And that's a great thing. There's no right, no wrong, nothing you should do or not do. It really doesn't matter, as long as you're happy with your decision.
There are some signs that men are more open to having sex earlier in a relationship than women. A YouGov survey found men were four times as likely as women to be open to sex on the first date, with 28 per cent of men saying they were keen compared to just 7 per cent of women. But it's silly to think that this means the old gender stereotype that men want sex and women withhold it is true. Plenty of women get down on the first date, or have casual hookups without any date, period. And they love every second of it. Every person is different — and that makes a bigger difference than gender.
Here's what I never understood about the third date rule: what are you supposed to do on the first two dates? Like, is it a gradual increase in sexual touching or do you not touch at all for the first two meetings — and then suddenly jump right to penetration on date number three?
It sounds ridiculous, but sex isn't the same thing to everyone. Saying what date you "have sex" is really oversimplifying the topic. Some people might do everything but penetrative sex for weeks, some might not even go for foreplay and others may have different definitions of sex. Do we really want to boil it all down to a single thing you do on a single date? Sex is complicated. Sexual relationships are nuanced. Let's keep it that way.
One interesting part of the YouGov survey was that, though most people gave the number of dates that they would wait to have sex, others used a completely different metric. Nine per cent of men and 21 per cent of women said that they would wait until they were in love, whatever the number of dates.
More from Bellesa:
Now, that might sound cheesy, but it strikes on a much larger point. Different people have different markers on how they decide to have sex with someone — and it can even vary within the same person. When I've been seeing someone for just a casual hookup, I've totally had sex with them right off the bat. But when I was dating someone who I really liked, I waited longer. It's just not as simple as saying "X number of dates," and it doesn't have to be.
Trying to figure out "what date you should have sex on" is pointlessly limiting. You don't need to base it on anyone else, you don't need to follow in anyone's footprints — especially when the footprints lead you all over the damn place. You should have sex when you want to have sex and when a person wants to have sex with you. The end.
Also on HuffPost: