Is it a day, a month, or a week? We Dive into how long people REALLY wait to do it!
One question that plagues us once we reach dating age and, quite frankly, for the rest of our lives is this: How long to people really wait to have sex? Often we use the answer to define our relationships and even explain why some relationships work and others don't. Admit it: you've definitely had at least one conversation in your life where you were convinced if you'd waited longer or didn't wait at all, the relationship would've worked out better. And we've all definitely compared our own personal wait times with friends and even judged others, for better or for worse.
So what is that length of time? Is there even one magic date that can be applied to all relationships? Well, not really! But we are going to dive into some statistics and then some important factors to consider when coming up with your own length of time, like comfort level, the different kinds of relationships, what you want, and what your partner wants.
Across the board, women tend to wait longer than men to have sex. This is because on average, women tend to require or find value in developing an emotional bond with their partner. That is to say, women find an emotional connection sexy and a turn-on. The University of Michigan polled 5,000 women in a sexual informatics survey and found that 54% of women wait either a few weeks or until the third date, whichever comes first. Another interesting thing to note is that when comparing the current survey results to those from 20 years earlier, women are definitely having sex a lot sooner than they used to. The average in the 1950s and 1960s was to wait until marriage, after all! In the same poll, 22% of women said that if they feel a really great connection with the person, they generally want to have sex earlier. And 13% of women said they enjoy having sex on the first date to "get it out of the way."
It's common knowledge that men don't wait as long as women to have sex. It's often used as a stereotype but it's one that holds up because it's completely true. This is because men don't necessarily need an emotional bond or to get to know someone before feeling comfortable enough to have sex. Many men prefer anonymous or one-time sex as well. In the same University of Michigan study, 5,000 men were polled and over half of them said they preferred to have sex on the first date. However, those same men also stated that if they really got on with their date, they didn't mind waiting a bit longer. The same study found that men in general seek out casual sex. 72% of the men said that they don't expect anything long term out of their dates and enjoy hooking up. Only 13% of the men polled said they prefer to wait to have sex. Very few men polled said they would be willing to wait until marriage to have sex with someone.
When it comes to deciding on how long you should wait, or shouldn't wait, to have sex, it's important to consider some factors. What we're trying to say here is that it truly does vary from person to person. Yes, the above statistics are averages and they paint a great picture of the general population. But we can also guarantee that each of those people had very specific and personal reasons for waiting for as long or not-long as they did. That's why statistics can be very informative, as is asking your friends for advice. But at the end of the day, you really need to listen to yourself, your body, and your partner to decide what is best. And it will definitely vary depending on the relationship! We know that may not be what you want to hear—that you were hoping a magical number existed that would be the end all for how long to wait until having sex. Sometimes we wish there were just one answer too! But that would also imply each relationship is the same, which is ultimately sort of boring, right? Right!
It is important to approach each relationship or potential relationship independently. And in order to come up with the most informed decision about how long or not long to wait until having sex, here are four important factors to consider:
Like we've already mentioned, not all relationships are the same. Therefore, how long you wait until having sex also can't be the same. Are you looking for just a casual fling? If that's the case, it could be best to get right to the good stuff, AKA sex. That way you can get the most out of your fling before it fizzles out. Or what about if you are specifically looking for a one night stand? If that's the case, then obviously you are going to be having sex on the first date, since that is the whole point of a one night stand, after all! Women and men who are looking for something to potentially turn into a long-term thing might want to wait a bit longer to get to know the person first so see if they are truly compatible before having sex. So, think about the sort of relationship you are looking for and let that help you decide how long to wait!
Maybe one of the most important things to consider above all else is your own comfort level. Never mind what kind of relationship you are looking for, you always have to listen to your own body and mind most of all. Some people are perfectly comfortable with one night stands or short flings. Other people prefer to really get to know someone before doing it. Every person is different and their own pasts and experiences help to shape their comfort levels. That is why it is very important to always listen to your comfort level and try not to push it too far. It could have the potential to ruin a relationship or, even worse, it could make you feel rotten. And you don't want that! However, if you are looking to change your comfort level, perhaps to be more open to one night stands, we recommend practicing. After all, practice makes perfect! There's nothing wrong with wanting to change up your sexual preferences. However, make sure you are doing it for yourself and not someone else. If the pressure to move faster is coming from them, we recommend moving fast away from them! There are plenty of people out there who will respect your own comfort level when it comes to sex.
We've been talking about how it's important to make sure you respect your own comfort level so of course the same goes for your partner. If they're wanting to wait a bit, you've got to respect that! And with all this discussion about respecting each other, that also means that you need to communicate. Now, often you can read body language and signals about sex. For example, if you're both making out and excitedly taking off each other's clothes, chances are you're both ready to take the relationship to the next level! Despite this, sometimes verbally checking in with each other can be valuable too. The best kinds of relationships, even the flings and one night stands, are built on mutual respect and trust!
This one is sort of a combination of all of the above, but it's important to reiterate over and over again: what do you want? What sort of relationship are you looking for? Or maybe you aren't looking for one at all? Regularly asking yourself this question is important because sometimes the answer can change and also it's good to do regular check-ins regardless. What you want can help to dictate the sorts of relationships you pursue, and can also alter your own comfort level to a certain extent. Always listen to yourself! And, of course, always ask your partner too. It's good to be on the same wavelength with what you want. If you're wanting one night stands, it's obviously important that the people you are pursuing want the same!
One of the best things about waiting a long time is that you get to know your partner. And we don't just mean their favorite color either! What we mean is, you get to know their personality, their sexual history, and even their contact information. This can be important to staying safe in you sexual pursuits. One night stands have the potential to be dangerous because you don't always know who you are going home with or hooking up with. As well, the less you know about someone's sexual past, the higher the chance of potential contracting an STI or even an STD. But no matter what kind of length of relationship you are into, it is always important to be safe. We wish that everyone out there had great intentions but sometimes that is not the case. So at the very least, you can attempt to protect yourself and your body as much as possible. While statistically short term relationships or one night stands have the most potential for attracting unsavoury types, even long term relationships can be unsafe. Remember to use common sense and take all the necessary precautions!
In order to stay safe, you need to make sure you're collecting all the right information and asking all of the right questions. We don't necessarily mean sitting your partner down in a locked room and interrogating them for hours! But if you're engaging in sexual activities with another person, you have a right to know if they are clean! This can be hard to do in a one night stand, of course, which is why it is generally safest to wait to have sex. Even getting simple info like a name and address can help, as that can be shared with good friends for safety reasons. This is especially important for women.
Another way to stay safe is to protect yourself. There are multiple ways that you can protect yourself. The most obvious is to use actual protection, like a condom! This is especially important if you are having a fling or one night stand, as you may not know your partner's full sexual history. There are other forms of contraceptive to consider as well; be sure to pick something that works best for you.
No matter what anyone says, staying safe and protected is super sexy. It means that you can truly let loose and relax, no matter what sort of relationship you are pursuing. Being safe and smart can sometimes help you decide how long you are going to wait to have sex. It can be helpful if you are wanting to wait and get to know someone but the most basic form of protection, a condom, is the most important for one night stands.
And there you have it. Unfortunately there isn't just one easy answer. However, with the factors to consider and tips we provided above, we are confident that you can make the best decision for you and your body. Remember to listen to yourself and ask yourself what sort of relationship you are looking for and what your comfort level is. And above all remember to be safe and protected! By following these tips, no matter how long you wait to have sex, we can guarantee it will be amazing!