Sex Ed

When Is The Right Time To Start Having Sex?

March 8, 2019 by Justin Lehmiller


When you start seeing someone new, when’s the right time to begin having sex with that person? According to a non-scientific survey of OK Cupid users, people are all over the map: 28% said between 1 and 2 dates, 47% said between 3 and 5 dates, 20% said 6 or more dates, and 5% said only after getting married.

This pattern tells us that the “three-date rule” is something a lot of people apparently subscribe to; however, it appears to be far from universal.

But does it actually matter when you do it? Does having sex earlier versus later have any bearing on how happy people end up being in their relationships in the long run?

I explored these questions in a recent column over at Men’s Health. I looked at the existing research on timing of sex and how it’s linked to relationship satisfaction and the results suggest that there really isn’t a meaningful difference in happiness based on when couples start doing it.

Timing of sex doesn’t seem to matter as much as your feelings on how sex and love are linked: do you see them as going together, or is sex without love OK? What this means is that the “right” time to have sex depends on whether you think you need to have an intimate connection with a partner first.

The way you feel about sex and love is known as your sociosexual orientation. To learn more about this concept and the research on timing of sex, check out the full article over at Men’s Health.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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