How Many Dates Should You Have Before Having Sex? All Your Burning Questions Answered

It's a question as old as dating itself: When should you sleep with someone you're seeing?

Truth be told, there's no universal answer to: “How many dates before going to his place?” The only barometer you need to follow is you.

You're in the driver's seat.

But you should think it through.

So today, we're exploring the question from all angles.

Hopefully, by the end of this post, you'll better be able to wrap your head around the issue and do what's comfortable for you.

How Long Do People Date Before They Sleep Together?

How many people have sex on the first date?

Honestly, sex on first date statistics are all over the place.

According to one study, nearly 46% of men say they’ve gotten intimate on date one, while only 33% of women claim the same. 

Though it was a self-reporting study, a certain percentage of people likely lied.

After all, a study out of the UK said that 56% of women reported having sex after a single date.

That study out of England also reports that between 34% and 36% of people who have sex on the first date end up in a “proper relationship” with their early-onset copulation partners.

How many people have sex before marriage in the United States? Currently, the figure sits at about 95%.

couple kissing sunset how many dates before sex

So whether you have sex after the first date or 10th, there’s a better than average chance it’ll happen before you walk down the aisle.

Statistically speaking, what’s the average number of dates before sleeping together?

A 2017 study suggests eight dates.

What Is the Three-Date Rule?

If you’re 18 or older, you’ve likely heard of the three-date rule, which advises people to wait for the third date to have sex. 

Nobody knows where it came from, but the cultural critic and author of “The Future of Seduction,” Mia Levitin, says the three-date rule was “firmly in play in New York before ‘Sex and the City’ popularized it.”

In some ways, it’s a good guide; in other ways, it’s a bit antiquated.

Let’s look at the pros and cons.

  • Sexual Stereotypes: Imbedded in the three-date rule is the implication that it’s “unladylike” to have sex on the first date. It holds women to a sex-negative standard rooted in problematic Madonna-whore paradigms — relics of a sexist society. After all, if people enjoy intercourse and both parties are consenting adults, the “right time” is up to them — whether after one minute or one year, no matter their gender.
  • Gives Time To Assess: The three-date rule can be good because it forces you to wait. After all, someone may seem great the first night you meet them but turns out to be an utter windbag by the third date. Waiting allows you to suss out the situation.
  • Provides a Roadmap: Some people like the three-date rule because it provides a dating framework. You know what to expect — and what’s expected of you — for the first three outings together. You don’t have to stress about will you or won’t you. It’s a self-imposed boundary.
  • Disenfranchising: On the other hand, strictly sticking to the three-date rule can feel disenfranchising — like you’re giving up your autonomy. The choice of when to have sex varies from person to person. You may want to hop in the sack with Ted on the first night but wait till the fifth date with Brad. Again, it’s the 21st century. You call the shots for your body. And yes, you’re allowed to change your mind, depending on the circumstances.

How Many Dates Before Intimacy? 9 Things You Should Consider Before Having Sex

The choice of when to have sex and with whom is up to you.

But before jumping into bed, it’s wise to consider a few things.

1. Their Sexual Health

Have you been tested for sexually transmitted infections? Has the person with whom you’re thinking about sleeping? Do you feel comfortable having safe sex without knowing the answer? What about your mental health? Can you handle sleeping with someone if it turns out to be a one-night stand?

2. The Potential Consequences

For better or worse, sex comes with a set of potential consequences. You could get pregnant or contract an STI. You may fall badly for your partner, and they may not — or vice versa.

All of these things can affect your stress levels and livelihood — some more than others.

So before you choose to have intercourse, think it through and whether a potential consequence will get in the way of any goals.

Has the other person verbally expressed that they want to be intimate with you? Implied consent doesn’t work because it’s an objective matter. So before getting into bed with someone, ask for authorization — whether you’re male or female. Think of it as two-factor authentication.

Also, don’t make assumptions about people’s age. Better to be safe than sorry. Even if they lie to you, a court may find you guilty of statutory rape if the person you sleep with is under the age of consent for the jurisdiction.

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4. Use of Contraception

Protection should be your top priority. Will you use condoms or a dental dam? What about a diaphragm? Do you know the person well enough to use birth control pills without a barrier?

If there’s a possibility you may have sex after the date, bring contraception with you. Don’t assume the other person has it handled. Make like a scout, and be prepared!

5. Honoring Religious Beliefs

Are you religious? Does your faith mean a lot to you? If so, would you feel bad if you broke a central tenet of your belief system? When deciding whether to have sex, be true to yourself. It’s your life and your decision.

6. Knowledge of the Sexual Partner

Who is the person with whom you’re considering being intimate? Do you know them well? Can you trust them? Or are they a scoundrel who will secretly record you having sex and share it with their friends? Think about the quality of the person before becoming intimate.

7. Comfort with Sexual Creativity

What kind of sex do you enjoy? Does traditional lovemaking turn you on, or are you open to props and aids?

Before you commence a sexual relationship with someone, consider the type of sex you’d like to have with them and make the appropriate purchases.

If you prefer to use adult toys, make sure your partner is comfortable with the idea beforehand.

8. Location Where You Have Sex

Where will it happen? At his place or yours? Do you feel comfortable going over to his spot, or would you feel more relaxed at your pad? Do you plan to leave right afterward or expect him to skedaddle? You may want to have a quick conversation about these things beforehand — especially if you want him to giddy on out and not spend the night. Set the expectations.

9. Your Gut Feelings

And last but not least, honor your feelings. After all, they have considerable control over your emotions and mental well-being.

If your gut says it’s not a good fit, listen to it! If a one-night stand would improve your stress levels, go for it!

These days, most folks don’t think of sex as a sacred taboo. Society is more accepting of casual sex than it was just 20 years ago. 

So how many dates before sex is up to you. Do what feels best.

Have sex on the first date or wait till the 10th. The decision is yours. Just stay safe and only act within the boundaries you set for yourself.