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How Many Dates Should You Wait Before Having Sex With Someone?

30/03/2017 11:41 BST | Updated 30/03/2017 11:41 BST
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New YouGov research explores Britons' attitudes to the classic dating dilemma

How soon is too soon to have sex with a new partner? It is one of those intractable dating dilemmas. No-one wants to get it wrong and look, at best, a bit keen, and at worst downright lecherous.

Now a new YouGov Omnibus survey exploring how long British people would wait before sleeping with someone new, reveals they are happy to have sex early on in a relationship.

The results found one in five (18%) people would take the plunge after seeing someone for the first time and one in eight (12%) follow the classic "three date rule."

However, one in seven (15%) want to "wait until they are in love" before becoming intimate and one in twenty (5%) would hold off until marriage before having sex for the first time.

Attitudes change significantly depending on a person's age and gender. Men are four times as likely as women (28% to 7%) to be prepared to sleep with someone after seeing them for the first time. By contrast, women are twice as likely as men to say they would wait until they were in love before having sex with someone (21%, compared to 9%).

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Yet it is not actually young men who are most willing to have sex on a first date. While 27% of 18-24 year-old men would, this number increases to 35% among 35-44 year-old males.

Sex and love are tied together most closely among older women. Almost a third of women aged 55+ wouldn't sleep with a new partner until they were in love with them. By contrast, only 13% of men the same age would wait until they were in love before having sex with someone.

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Do as I say, not as I do

Despite not being the most popular option for men or women, the "three date rule" is more popular when Brits think about other people's romantic entanglements.

When asked how many times they thought a newly dating couple should go out before having sex for the first time, 16% of Brits gave three dates as the most appropriate milestone, including 18% of men and 14% of women.

Yet just 9% of men said they thought after the first date would be appropriate time to have sex with someone - less than a third the proportion of those who said they themselves would be happy to have sex on the first date.

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This blog first appeared on the YouGov website, and can be read here