How Many Dates Before Sex?

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You’ve met someone new and exciting. Just the thought of them gets your skin tingling. You’ve settled on a date for the first rendezvous. You choose your outfit, and try to quell the butterflies in your stomach. But you can’t stop asking yourself: How many dates should I go on before we have sex?

We all ask ourselves this once we hear the exciting words “alright, it’s a date.” Should you wait? How long? Is it ok to get intimate on the first date? Three dates? Five? Kiss on the first date and sleep together on the third?

A recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research looked at how sexual intimacy prior to, after, and far beyond a first date impacted relationship satisfaction. Results suggested that waiting to initiate sex in unmarried relationships was generally associated with positive outcomes. 

Practically though, here are some tips about timing physical intimacy with your new crush. 

It All Starts with a Kiss

So you’re on a date with this new person – and boy, their lips look delicious. You start drifting off, imagining the softness of their face pressed to yours. You think “I just can’t wait to…” – but, whoa, hang on! Before you let it all get to your head, here are some steps you should follow to make sure you’re fully conscious and checked in with yourself. 

How many dates before kiss


  1. Take a breath. It’s always good to check in with yourself. Keep in mind, you are being pumped full of hormones and yummy juices. And that is a good thing. We advise that you just take a moment to re-center yourself and evaluate what you really want. 
  2. What do they want? Once you have realigned with your values and desires, it’s time to check in on what your date wants. Look for verbal and nonverbal signals of their intentions. Observe their body language, how they look at you – and of course, if they tell you how sexy you are! These are all signals. If you are unclear, definitely ask and never assume. 
  3. Do you align? Now that you have taken stock of everyone’s desires, it’s time to see if they line up. Are you wanting to wait more, but it looks like they’re ready to get to smoochin’? What does that mean for you? We want you to feel empowered to share where you’re at. This can be done in a sexy way, too. 
  4. Communicate. Whether verbally or with your sexy body, make sure your date knows where you stand in your desires. Look for their communication, too. Differing desires may require clearer and direct communication, but take this as an opportunity to show your truest self! That’s what you should be doing on a first date anyway, right? (And make sure to read our How to Flirt guide for some hot tips!)

Once you’ve checked in with yourself and them, it’s up to you to determine what is the best number of dates you should wait to play tonsil hockey. If you feel you know where someone is at in their goals (to the best of your ability), and you feel clear on yours, it’s time to kiss! Enjoy it fully and relax in knowing you took this step from a place of power. 

Figure Out What Type of Relationship You Want

When it comes to sharing your entire body with someone, the process of deciding when becomes a bit more weighted. We do recommend you follow the steps outlined above, but in more detail. When checking in with your own desires, account for what type of relationship you want.

If you’re dating to find your life partner, it’s best to take your time to decide if this person is worthy of you and your desires. This doesn’t mean you should deny yourself sleeping with them early on if this is what you want. But if you are looking to connect with someone long term, it’s in your best interest to vet this person. Get to know them and their relationship goals, and make sure you align. If they are also looking for a committed relationship, this time will be valuable to you both. 

Then it’s your job to communicate with them about your ideal sexy scenario. If you want to feel like you need to know them a little better, let them know that. It’s important to make sure you’re on the same page. If you’re just out for a one night super sexy escapade, your date should definitely know that up front. Maybe they’re also looking for some immediate skin to skin!

No matter what your intention is with your date, cueing them in is sexy, assertive, and powerful. And knowing their intentions will help you decide when you feel comfortable stripping down. 

Lesbian women in bed, wondering how long to wait before having sex

How Long Should You Wait to Sleep With Someone?

The important thing in considering when to get physically intimate is when you feel it is right. A universal number of dates rule will not function for every couple. Some things to consider are: 

  • Frequency of Dates – if you go on 3 dates in one week, does that mean you should jump into bed with them? What if it’s 3 dates in a month? Check in more with where you are feeling and aligning, rather than with a number of dinners. 
  • Different genders can and will have different needs, goals, expectations, and wants. Something to keep in mind across homosexual, heterosexual, and queer connections. 
  • Emotional Connection – Men typically are okay to connect physically without love. Yet women tend to want an emotional connection before stripping down. There are absolutely exceptions to these generalizations, and both are acceptable. The important thing here is to set your relationship boundaries and share them. 

How A Sex Coach Can Help

How many dates you go on before sex and how long you wait to share your body is absolutely your decision to make. There is no shame in kissing, or even having sex on the first date, or the 20th! It’s all up to you to decide.

Know your boundaries and vulnerabilities and lovingly share them. The most important thing here is to be true to yourself and have fun. Dating should be a blast and with a few check ins with yourself and others, you’ll be setting yourself up to get what type of connection you are seeking.

However – if you’re feeling unsure, or want more guidance in your life around dating, seeing a sex coach might be useful. Here’s a handy directory to help you find a sex coach near you, or a practitioner specialized onto gender, relationship types, or other issues.

Find a professional sex coach near you or by expertise now.

Danielle Harel
Danielle Harel
Dr. Danielle Harel is the the co-creator of the Somatica® Method and the co-founder of the Somatica® Institute. She has a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality (DHS), a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work (MSW), and a Bachelors (BA) degree in Psychology and Educational Counseling.

As a somatic sexologist, professor, and author, Danielle has devoted the last 20 years to resolving her client’s sexual challenges, training sex & relationship coaches, and empowering people. Harnessing her extensive training in sexology, psychology, and body-based modalities like Hakomi, attachment theory, character theory, and neuro-patterning, she guides people in reaching their fullest personal, professional, and sexual potential.

In addition to being faculty at Esalen and teaching the Advanced Somatica Training and Mastery Classes, Danielle has most recently embraced the adventure of co-producing the TV series Here She Comes – an episodic based on the Somatica Method (currently in production).

Before that, she published original research on Orgasmic Birth, and co-authored 3 books with Celeste Hirschman: Cockfidence, Making Love Real, and Coming Together.

She has also written extensively on sex, relationships, and dating, and is frequently quoted as an expert resource in publications.

To everything she does, Danielle brings her unparalleled passion, depth, intuition, and magnetizing personality.

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