Sex On The First Date? Not So Fast …

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When you start dating someone new, how long should you wait before hopping into bed? While generations before us have generally accepted that sex on the first date is taboo, lately the lines seem a bit blurred — we’re still driven by the “take it slow” mantras of our parents, but we’re also heavily influenced by the liberated Samantha Jones-types who figure that sex is no big deal. Does it matter when you sleep with someone? Is there any point in waiting?

Maybe, according to recent studies on relationships. In surveys of nearly 700 heterosexual adults done by Anthony Paik and colleagues from the University of Iowa, they found that people who held off on jumping into bed right away had a better connection with their partner. “There’s something about the characteristics of people who wait before sex that is linked to higher-quality relationships,” Paik told Reuters.

The researchers found that 56 percent of people who waited to have sex reported having a high quality relationship, compared to 27 percent for people who’d slept with someone while dating casually. Think having a “” is the way to go? Only 17 percent claimed to have quality relationships when having sex in a non-romantic relationship.

Paik believes it all boils down to simple economics: What you invest in a relationship has a big impact on what you get out of it. “On average, the more costly the process leading into the relationship, the more likely it is to work. That’s what the data would suggest,” he said. He also points out that some people find relationships less rewarding and are therefore more likely to engage in casual sex behaviors.

But while it’s true that statistically speaking, waiting to sleep with someone is linked to more success in the relationship, that’s not to say that all other relationships are doomed for failure — the researchers are quick to point out that they don’t think . “The study suggests that rewarding relationships are possible for those who delay sex. But it’s also possible for true love to emerge if things start off with a more ‘Sex and the City’ approach,” he added. “It’s possible for two strangers to lock eyes in a bar, and go home together, and actually end up in a long-term relationship.”

So what’s the answer? Is it better to delay sex, or should you just go for it right off the bat? In the end, it seems that the type of relationship you find yourself in is mostly determined by one solitary factor: Your personality. “The question is whether it’s the type of relationship that causes lower quality or whether it’s the people,” Paik said of his research. “The finding is that it’s something about the people.” Bottom line? The message here seems to be to do what feels right for you.

Of course, it’s vital to protect yourself when hooking up with someone you hardly know, both from sexually transmitted diseases and potentially dangerous situations, so sometimes it pays to get to know someone first, don’t you think?

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