How Many Dates Before Sex? Here’s What You Need To Know
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Have you ever wondered how many dates you should go on before having sex?
Let’s say you’re on a date with a man, and it’s quickly shaping up to be one of the best dates you’ve ever had. The sexual chemistry is off the charts. You’re thinking about what he might be like in bed. Hell, you think this guy could potentially be the ONE.
But then comes the snag.
You’re looking for something long-term and not just a casual hookup.
Will he get the wrong idea?
Will I ruin my shot at a relationship by sleeping with him too soon?
The short answer is, you should do whatever you want to do, and there isn’t a rigid set of rules you should be following when it comes to sex. The most important thing is that you (and your future self) feel good about the choices you make.
But chances are you found your way here because you’re not looking for the short answer. So I’m going to break this down for you in more detail in this article.
There is no “right” first time to have sex.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of mixed messages when it comes to sex:
Don’t have sex until you’ve been on at least three dates.
If you go home with him on the first date, you’re not girlfriend material.
You have to make him wait for a month, minimum.
If it feels right, have sex. Why deny your body what it wants?
So, which one is it?
Regardless of the different personal rules people have for their sex lives, remember you are not them. So don’t hold yourself accountable to other people’s rules.
And if you have your own rules regarding sex that feel right, that’s great. But if you end up breaking them, don’t judge yourself for it. If the chemistry is there and you want to have sex, go for it.
The truth is, there is never a “right” time to have sex with someone new. Every woman is different, every man is different, and every relationship is different.
Don’t worry about what other people might think or say about you. Your choices are your own. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone.
What I will say is, make sure you’re having sex for the “right” reasons.
Here’s what I mean by that.
You should only have sex if you really want to, and not because of ulterior motives.
That means don’t have sex in the hopes it will stop him from dating other people and commit to you. Don’t have sex because you feel like you’ve made him wait long enough already or because you feel pressured to.
Take that step when you feel fully ready, and make the decision together.
How many dates before sex?
Can I have sex on a first date?
There was a time when people used to wait until they were married before having sex for the first time. While some people still practice this, most people aren’t waiting this long to do the deed.
However, sleeping with someone on a first date is still seen as taboo by society, and most of the stigma is unfairly directed toward women.
“I think people avoid sex on the first date due to old, patriarchal ‘wisdom’ that women should make men work for sex and generally delay it,”—Jenna Birch, author of The Love Gap.
Birch says this is toxic because it perpetuates the outdated belief that men are the only ones who receive pleasure from sex. It keeps women disconnected from their sexual energy and encourages them to “safeguard” their sexuality.
The bottom line is, you can absolutely have sex on a first date—if you want to. And you shouldn’t feel any guilt or shame around that.
But remember, sex changes things.
As hard as you try and convince yourself that nothing will change after sleeping with a guy, it always does
And it’s not because of anything you’re doing (or not doing)—it’s because of the way your body reacts as a woman when you sleep with someone new for the first time.
Two major things happen:
- Your body produces the “bonding hormone” oxytocin.
This is the same hormone that gets released when a mother is nursing her baby. If the sex is especially good, you can count on your body to produce oxytocin. You don’t have a say in it!
In contrast, the guy you slept with will produce more testosterone, which is known as the “hunting hormone.” That means unless he is adamant he wants to be with you, he is likely to continue hunting, i.e., sleeping with other people.
- Once the bonding hormone kicks in, you are likely to stop trying to sleep with other people.
Perhaps it’s because of a subconscious fear of getting pregnant, but most women generally don’t like sleeping with multiple men at the same time. As a result, you may accidentally end up becoming monogamous to this guy you slept with.
This means you’ve essentially taken yourself out of the dating game for someone who probably hasn’t given you any indication they want to commit to you.
Chances are, this isn’t where you want to be!
In my seven little love steps to attracting a man and the relationship of your dreams, we show you the importance of keeping your options open and making sure he is the one pursuing you.
Tread carefully if you are looking for something serious.
If you are looking for a long-term relationship instead of a casual hookup, waiting to have sex may work in your favor.
A 2014 study found that waiting to initiate sexual intimacy in unmarried relationships generally had a more positive outcome in the long run, as opposed to having sex on the first date or shortly after.
Having sex on the first date can suggest that sex is more important to you than anything else, including the potential of creating a long-term relationship.
Plus, it doesn’t give you much of a chance to check if the guy in question is on the same page as you. If neither of you are looking for anything more than fun, that’s great. But if you want more than he does or vice versa, that’s where it starts to get messy, and feelings can be hurt.
On top of that, if you’re having really good sex, it can cloud your judgment and prevent you from seeing things clearly. It can make it more challenging to stop seeing that person even if you know they’re not good for you.
My approach? The 10-hour rule.
I always teach the “10-hour rule” to the women I coach. That means you should spend at least 10 hours with a guy (sober!) before thinking about sleeping with him if you’re looking for a relationship.
Because this gives you time. Hopefully, you’ll have been on a few dates with this person, probably around the course of a month (at least). You get a better sense of who this guy is and how stable and reliable he is.
That’s tough to do after meeting someone once or twice.
If you’re looking for a committed relationship, it’s important to think of sex more strategically like this. Not in a way to control the other person, but to increase the chances of this working out the way you want it to.
What if the best part of sex isn’t actually the sex?
What the f*ck do you mean, Adam?! Sex is AWESOME.
I know, I know, hear me out on this one, okay?
What if the actual sex part isn’t what makes sex so great?
What if it’s the sexual chemistry and the building of all that tension leading up to sex?
Maybe it’s the thought of sleeping with this person and the sexy anticipation and excitement that happens before?
My theory is, what makes sex so damn thrilling with someone new for the first time is the dance that happens before.
It’s getting to know them through deep, intimate conversations. The back and forth flirting and steamy makeout sessions. Peeling one more layer back every time you meet.
Sometimes, first date sex can be amazing, and dating apps have made it easier than ever to hookup in this way.
Editor’s note: Ready to attract love with a proven strategy? Watch this free video to learn the 7 powerful steps
But when you do this, you miss out on that build-up, that dance, and that special emotional connection with someone. It’s kind of like cheating yourself out of the full experience.
I think genuinely great sex comes from trusting someone, feeling comfortable with each other, and feeling it on all levels of your being rather than just in your physical body.
You know you’ve made the right decision when you wake up the morning after, and it feels just as good and right as it did the night before.
What’s the third date rule?
Sex and the City’s Charlotte popularised the “three date rule” for having sex with a new partner. The idea being, you have to go on at least three dates with a guy before taking things to the bedroom.
But a U.S. study found that the average person would actually wait until the eighth date before having sex. Men generally think sex is appropriate after date five, while women prefer to wait until date nine. Only 30% of men and 8% of women think sex should happen within the first three dates.
My advice? Have sex for the right reasons:
When you understand what sex means to you.
Empowered sex has nothing to do with the quantity of sex you’re having, how many orgasms you’re having, or how hot the man you’re sleeping with is.
Empowered sex is all about knowing your boundaries (physical and emotional) and having the confidence to share those with your partner.
Until you know what sex means to you, you’re not ready to have sex.
When you don’t have unrealistic expectations.
One of the biggest mistakes women make is having sex with a guy too soon in the hopes it will make him more serious about her. As I mentioned earlier, this won’t work and can often have the opposite effect.
If you’re praying sex will push your guy into committing, become exclusive, or falling in love with you, think again.
This is not a good reason to have sex!
When you know where you are.
Many women are afraid to admit to a guy they want a relationship or be the one to start the “what are we” talk out of fear of looking desperate.
But there’s nothing desperate about wanting to know where you stand. And the right guy will want you to feel comfortable and on the same page as him.
So, if being exclusive is important to you before sleeping with a guy, make sure you talk about it. Until you’ve had the talk, you should assume he’s dating other people—and you should be too!
If he can’t give you what you want and need, that’s okay. It’s time to say NEXT and move on.
When you feel comfortable with awkwardness.
It’s not sexy to talk about how awkward sex can be with someone new, but let’s be honest, it is TOTALLY awkward.
I’m not saying it can’t be great, but chances are there will be some fumbling and limbs flailing in weird directions. That’s because you’re still getting to know each other and figuring out what the other person likes.
This is where being comfortable with each other comes into play. It allows you to let your guard down, be vulnerable with this person, and be your authentic self.
If you’re still in the stage where you want to look perfect at all times and are presenting a polished version of yourself to him, then maybe you should wait before taking the next step.
When you’re ready to talk about practicing safe sex.
Did you know that one in every three or four adults has an STI?
I know, I know, this isn’t sexy either. But that’s why we’ve gotta talk about these things!
Practicing safe sex is so important. PLEASE prioritize your health. Whether you’re on birth control or you’ve reached menopause, ALWAYS demand that he wears a condom.
And don’t be afraid to ask him about his sexual history before having sex with him. If he’s not willing to have this conversation with you, then he doesn’t deserve to have sex with you. Period.
When you can picture the morning after.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when you’re having a good time with a guy. Maybe you’ve had a couple of drinks, the light is framing his chiseled jaw perfectly, and you think to yourself, “what the hell, let’s do it!”
But try and look past the moment. Think about how you’ll feel afterward. You don’t want to feel like you made a mistake or disrespected your boundaries.
If you think you’re not going to feel good after having sex, that’s probably a sign to wait a little longer. Remember, there are no rights or wrongs here.
When you trust him.
The act of sex requires deep vulnerability. This is why shared trust is vital.
You don’t want to feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or judged. Sex should feel good. It should feel thrilling, passionate, sensual, and safe.
If you don’t think you can trust this guy, then consider waiting. When you know you can trust him to treat you well during and after sex, the experience will be a much more positive one.
You can—and should—verbalize if you want to wait to have sex.
If you’re nervous or anxious about having sex with someone new for the first time, that’s normal. Society sometimes tries to tell us it’s not that big of a deal, but the reality is it is.
If you’re not 100% sure you want to have sex, then wait. And don’t be afraid to communicate this to your partner.
Say you’re in the middle of a makeout session, and things are getting pretty steamy. It’s obvious he wants to take things further, but you’re not ready to. Say something like, “I’m really attracted to you and like where this is going, but I want to take things a little slower and not get ahead of myself here.”
Trust your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right in your body, stop or slow things down a notch. Even if you said yes, it’s your right to change your mind at any point.
Like I said, if he respects you, then he’ll respect your boundaries and want to wait until you feel comfortable and ready.
Conclusion: Be true to yourself.
The only rule you should have when it comes to sex is to stay true to who you are and what you want and need.
That might mean you sleep with a guy on a first date, or you take six months or more before you feel ready. Don’t worry about what anybody else is saying or doing—your sex life is none of their business, and you don’t need to change who you are to fit somebody else’s expectations.
How many dates do you usually wait for before having sex with a new partner? And does this feel right for you?
Let me know in the comments below.
This was an exceptional article & came at the perfect time……Thank you Adam!!
Thank you Adam for discussing this. I have had sex on a first date, and it was amazing! But it was not my idea, I was drugged and he is a Narcissist.I
Great article, Adam. Perfect timing for my situation and it helped me think my decisions through with better perspective. Thanks!
I’ve had sex with a guy on the first date and we were together for three months. It was a wonderful and magical time. We broke up because he went back to Paris.We both cried at the airport when he was leaving. I cherish that time I had with him. It always puts a smile on my face when I think of him. I’ve also had sex with a man on the second date and after sleeping with him he decided he just wants to be friends with benefits. Since I’m looking for a long term monogamous, loving relationship I… Read more »
Adam, this is a perfect article on when to have sex. I have not come across anything better that sums this process up. The number one reason sex, most of the time, does not feel great with a one nighter-is because there is not enough touching. Not enough slowly moving through the steps that lead up to sex. It is anticipation, the waiting that makes sex so tantalizing. Sex is like dessert. Sure we would like to eat it before the actual meal, but how much better is the dessert when we have thought about it, imagined what it would… Read more »
This is a comprehensive artcle! When I go for an art history date ….I’ĺl keep all of this in mind…#valuesandvulnerabilry…lock down has given lots of “growth time”
Great information to keep in mind, especially when you’re so new to this chapter.
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I really understand what u r saying and I never thought of it that way so I’m happy i can wait and not feel bad in not doing the first thank u o much
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The main topic I found missing from this article is the topic of accidental pregnancy. Something a lot of people don’t take into consideration. I’ve observed a lot of drama around this because people don’t take that into consideration. The baby daddy that bailed… oh… didn’t think that one through, huh? Oh… turns out he’s married with a few kids already… oops! He’s a narcissist psycho that won’t leave you alone now… oof… that’s a tough one because they are relentless… good luck! You can’t possibly know a person’s true character or background from 1 date… or even 3 dates.… Read more »
Wish I would have read this first.