Sexual Health

How Many Dates Before Sex? – Know the Ideal Timeframe!

A common topic of discussion between friends, there’s no real right answer for this one. But there’s a general time span that you can rely on.

Written by Manal Yahya

On Mar 30, 2023 – 6 minutes read

How Many Dates Before Sex Know The Ideal Timeframe

Between the incessant back and forth play of fretting over coming off as too desperate and the fear of being perceived as too old-fashioned, all of us are tripped by anxiety when it comes to questions regarding sex. Particularly the question of ‘how many dates before sex’, which weighs a ton and unloads right before a first date. Not to mention how overthinking gnaws away at the best-case scenarios you imagined.

Well, fret not, here I have addressed your question with a promising solution. This will hopefully clear your clouded head and help you come to your own conclusion. And this would hopefully allow you to enjoy a few relaxed dates. 

How Many Dates Before Sex? – Golden Rules!

For starters, every individual is different with their own distinct interests, values, and beliefs. Similarly, the way they hold relationships will also be different from one another. The difference of opinion from mine to yours particularly on the subject of sex must not be overlooked. Research reports cannot substitute this. After all, in the end, sex is a personal experience and a choice an individual must make on their own.

How many dates before you sleep together?

But if you are interested in what the studies have to say about the dilemma most, if not all, women and men alike fret over, here’s what the studies have reportedly shown. Before we get into that, let’s talk about the different socially and culturally constructed rules that we are supposed to follow before having sex. 

What Is the Three-date Rule?

The 3-date rule is a dating rule that dictates that both parties withhold sex until at least the 3rd date. At this point, a couple can have sex without worrying about being abandoned or considered too “loose” to be a good partner. In short, this third date rule is both parties withholding sex until the third date. In addition to this, there are other rules, namely, the sixth-date rule and the tenth-date. All of these rules put you under pressure to make a decision based on these rules rather than what you feel(1).

You cannot live by such steadfast rules and treat your sex life as a program. In fact, many adults consider the three-date rule as good as dead. You need to relax and enjoy the time with your date. But according to several studies, you need to consider the time before sex to evaluate the quality of the relationship in the long run.

Acknowledge the Dilemma of a Long Wait Before Sex

According to the studies, if you are looking for a casual sex, you can sleep together on your first date. You can leave it as a one-night stand. There’s no shame in hitting the sheets on the first date if you’ve felt the sexual chemistry and used your best judgment! Rather, it has more to do with your need for commitment. Because the key to a solid and healthy relationship is not just sex. How many dates before sex depends on your goals with respect to the particular relationship. If you are looking for a serious relationship, you may wait for more than a few encounters after the first date to suss out your dates’ true potential to be your partner. Here, you can think of sex more strategically. Why do you need to strategize sex?

Let’s take an example of interviews done by reputed companies for important posts. Companies interview exec-level candidates at least three times on three different days. This to determine their reliability and stability because acing one interview is relatively easy. Similarly, while hoping to get into a committed relationship, you need to truly know the person. Admittedly, this is hard to know by even the third date. 

Acknowledge The Dilemma Of A Long Wait Before Sex

How Many Dates Before Sex? – Know Your Priorities

Get to know the person well before sex. After the third date or so, you will know if you want to be with this person or not. You also need to make sure that both of you are on the same page. This will prevent hurting feelings if the end goal is different. For this, you need to keep the lines of communication open as they have every right to be aware of what you want and what you are expecting out of them.

You do not have to be afraid. Because it is empowering to know what you want and voice out your needs and expectations. Moreover, this waiting period will help you connect with them to build a strong foundation with trust. What’s better than that if you are looking for a long term relationship?

How Many Dates Before Sex? – Now, why does this matter with sex?

Why is this question relevant? Well, after the sex, your body will start to produce a bonding hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin will make you feel the attachment with them increase by tenfold. By waiting until you are ready, you can save yourself from post-orgasm blues, especially if you are not on the same page.

Besides, you don’t want to deprive yourself of the dance that happens before, during, and after sex, right? The intimate and deep conversation with suggestive flirting and long makeout sessions is the grant hints of what is to come! The wait and anticipation — however long — will certainly build up the sexual tension and energy whenever you meet or talk. 

How Many Dates Before You Sleep Together?

After observing four sexual-timing patterns, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that waiting to initiate sexual intimacy in unmarried relationships was generally linked with positive outcomes in the long run(2).

A 2017 Groupon survey that sought to find how many dates before sex in average found that it was night dates with women waiting for nine and men waiting for five. In conclusion, the ideal date for having sex is considered to be eight(3).

Having Sex Based on an Arbitrary Timeline

The obsolescent idea that a woman making the first move is considered as a huge ‘turn off’ is ridiculous. But no more absurd than how is it still disapproved by the societal norms, even in 2023. Also, coming out of the shell of ‘no sex before marriage’ has taken way too long for both genders. This is our society that props the value of an individual alongside their virginity.

If you have sex too soon, you are labeled as ‘desperate’. On the other hand, if you wait too long before having sex, you are labeled as ‘old-fashioned’. Regardless of how the choice is yours in the end, even now, sex is governed by a load of a rigid set of rules rather than what feels right at the moment. The question of how many dates before sex haunts you. And these antiquated dozens of rules come by disregarding your emotions as opposed to what you feel is right. 

how many dates before sex

Hence, you can either choose to abide by those rules to a certain extent or disregard it. Go with your gut feeling and make use of your better judgment. Because, between the episodes of swiping and ghosting, the modern era’s dating is largely at either advantage or disadvantage as it comes down to how you perceive it.

Either case, whether you choose to have sex on the first date or the fifth date, or the ninth date, how many dates before sex certainly does not determine or impact your eligibility as a long-term partner or detriment your dignity and value. The ‘when’ of physical intimacy of sex can only affect a relationship so much. So, rather than following an arbitrary timeline, have sex whenever you are ready.

  1. ReGain. (2020). What Is The 3 Date Rule, And Does It Always Apply?. [Online] Available at:
  2. Informa UK Limited. (2020). Differing Relationship Outcomes When Sex Happens Before, On, or After First Dates. [Online] Available at:
  3. Business Wire, Inc. (2020). Three-date Rule? Groupon Dating Trends Survey Finds Most People Wait for an Average of Eight Dates Before Hopping into Bed. [Online] Available at:

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Manal is a lifestyle influencer who has spent years delving into the world of beauty, fashion, and wellness- a pro when it comes to anything woman.

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