America's complicated view on who should wait to have sex

April 20, 2017, 3:08 PM GMT+0

US adults are twice as likely to want sex on their first date as they are to say that newly dating couples should actually do it

Having sex on the first date has long been considered one of the biggest social faux pas a singleton can make. Articles and self-help books tout that participating in this dating taboo, especially for young women, is a sign of weakness or insecurity — a stigma that many journalists are now trying to break. Yet, while a number of individuals have taken to the internet to argue that the first-date rule is completely antiquated, does the general public agree?

A recent YouGov poll illustrates that the answer might not be so clear-cut. Results show that while only 7% of US adults think it's okay for a newly dating couple to have sex the first time they go out, double that number (14%) say they would be happy to sleep with someone on their initial date. This is especially applicable to men, who are over three times more likely than women to say they'd be glad to have sex on the first date — 21% of males seem willing, compared to only 6% of females.

Despite shifting social norms and a burgeoning “hookup culture,” classic values regarding intimacy live on. Almost a third of Americans would either wait until they were in love (14%) or married (17%) to have sex. Women are twice as likely as men to say they'd wait until they fell in love, with scores of 20% and 9%, respectively.

Age also plays a significant role in attitudes toward sex. While those of the Tinder generation are generally regarded as more open to casual sex, young adults aged 18-24 are actually slightly less likely to want sex on the first date than 25-44 year olds. Similarly, 18-24 year olds are somewhat more likely than those aged 25-44 to say they would abstain from sex until marriage when dating someone new.

This data suggests that either youth brings about relatively high ideals when it comes to love and sex, or perhaps today's younger generation is rekindling a more traditional sensibility toward romance.