When it comes to dating and sex, three is the magic number for nearly half of American men. Men (47%) are nearly three times as likely as women (18%) to say that they would want to have sex within the first three dates once they began seeing someone they like.
But many Americans are waiting for marriage before heading to bed with their beau. One-fifth (20%) -- including 25% of women and 16% of men -- say they wouldn’t have sex until marriage. Another 14% say they would wait until the third date, while one in ten (10%) would have sex on the first date. Men (18%) are six times as likely as women (3%) to say they would want to have sex on the first date.
When Americans are asked about what they think a newly dating couple should do, the results are nearly identical: 20% think the couple should wait for marriage, 14% think it should happen on the third date, and 6% think it should happen on the first date. Men (10%) are more likely than women (2%) to say it should happen on the first date.
There are some generational differences when it comes to dating and sex. Millennials (13%) and members of Generation X (13%) are about twice as likely as baby boomers (6%) to say they’d have sex on the first date. But there are some similarities between generations, too: all three groups are roughly equally likely to say they would wait for marriage (17% of Millennials, 20% of Gen X’ers and 19% of baby boomers).
Methodology: Total unweighted sample size was 1,246 US adults ages 18+. Interviews were conducted online between April 30 and May 1, 2019.