Kissing on the first date is not for everyone. But then again, there’s no real magic number!
Some say there’s no need to wait, while others say it’s smarter to test the waters first before going in for a kiss.
We partnered with Branded Research to conduct a custom poll.
They asked 14,537 U.S. consumers “How many dates should a couple go on before sharing their first kiss?“
Here’s the result:
Overall, over half of U.S. consumers think kissing on the first date is acceptable. An additional 33% of consumers say its best to wait until 2-3 dates for the first kiss.
Men were more likely than women to say that kissing on the first date is acceptable. Approximately 60 percent of men say kissing on the first date is acceptable versus 48% of women.
And surprisingly, younger consumers between the ages of 18-24 were less likely than their older counterparts to say kissing on the first date is acceptable.
To further expand on the topic, we also asked 6 experts “how many dates before the first kiss?“
Below are their insights.
Dr. Jess O’Reilly
Astroglide’s resident sexologist
People often ask me how long you should wait to kiss, have sex, sleepover and/or say “I love you”. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable doing and when you’re comfortable doing it. If you want to kiss on the first date before the appetizers arrive, go ahead and indulge. If you prefer to wait until you feel an emotional connection and have developed a committed relationship, that’s okay too.
I suggest you consider why you want to kiss a new partner or potential love interest. If you want to kiss them because it will feel good for you, then it’s probably time to go ahead and kiss them.
If, on the other hand, you want to kiss them because you feel pressure to do so or you’re worried that if you don’t kiss them, you’ll lose their interest, you might want to reconsider.
It’s important to note that kissing is not a long-standing intimate tradition. In fact, many cultures have prospered without locking lips which serves as a reminder that kissing is an erotic art as opposed to a reproductive imperative.
From a scientific perspective — even though it’s not innate — it’s likely that kissing may have been found to find its way into the mating game eventually. Not only does locking lips result in a flurry of feel-good hormones that promote relaxation and bonding, but from an evolutionary perspective, kissing may help us to gauge compatibility and other attributes of potential mates through our olfactory system.
One study revealed that women prefer men whose scents contain immune genes (histocompatibility complex) that are different than their own. Scientists believe that this instinctive desire for genetic difference serves the evolutionary function of ensuring stronger offspring.
Accordingly, the degree of chemistry you experience when you first kiss, may be an indicator of compatibility measured by your nose as opposed to your mouth or other body parts.
Kissing also involves the swapping of saliva, which contains testosterone, and this hormone is associated with libido. In conjunction with other research suggesting that men are more likely than women to seek and initiate deep tongue kissing, this may explain some of the gender differences in perceptions of kissing: while men tend to utilize making out as a means to an end (sex), women view kissing as a barometer with which to gauge their lover’s commitment and monitor their relationship status.
Divorce Attorney | Celebrity Relationship Expert | Entrepreneur | TV Personality
Kissing is very intimate. It truly is a sign of passion and connection that some keep closely guarded. Others feel more freely and can kiss without attachment. Most people do not kiss on the first date.
Some kiss on the second, while others wait until the 3rd date which usually means they are unsure of the compatibility and attraction.
Most people, if they are physically attracted, tend to kiss on the first date to test the waters. Others who are on the fence kiss on the second date to see if there is chemistry.
Kissing is a good indicator as to whether or not there is physical and emotional chemistry.
Sarah Rose Marcus
Ph.D. Candidate at Rutgers University
My research focuses on how young adults online date and the ways in which those experiences connect to their everyday, offline lives. I observed young adults for a year and a half and also have interview data related to your question.
Below is what I found in regards to the first kiss:
People in my study were often uncertain about whether their partner was “into” them, whether a relationship would make it to the next level, and whether they were interested themselves. These uncertainties all played into when and how they chose to approach that first kiss, which varied based on gender and sexuality.
I found that heterosexual men were turned off when women made a move on the first date, which made them think women were “aggressive” or “dominant” in their personalities. They were also very specific about the type of kiss that took place; for instance, they were turned off if the kiss was rough and not gentle.
Gay men preferred to kiss at the end of the first date, especially if they were unsure of whether it was a platonic or romantic date. Even when participants scheduled hookups on Grindr, they were still unsure as to whether it could be a date, whether it could turn into a romantic relationship, or whether it could turn into a friendship.
Relationships among gay men often shifted between being potentially romantic and being “friend zoned,” a signal which was given when there was not a kiss.
Lastly, heterosexual women preferred a kiss within the first three dates. If it was more than three dates and there was no kiss, they started to wonder if the man was not attracted to them.
Marni – Every Man’s Personal Wing Girl
Female Dating Coach for Men | Founder of The Wing Girl Method
It totally depends on the situation for a first kiss. Let’s say people have been talking online for weeks and FINALLY get onto their first date.
If the tension is there, the attraction is hot, and it feels right — so do it on the first date — even in the first 10 minutes!
For my clients, the only rule I put onto first kissing or anything sexual is to make sure that the person on the other side of the kiss wants it.
Certified Professional Love Life Coach | Founder of LoveQuest Coaching
The first kiss can happen at the end of the first date or second or third. The first date can end with a kiss that communicates interest as in “I like you and I’m attracted and would like to know more.“
The mistake adults make is regressing into teenage behavior such as having a full-on make-out session on the first date. The other problem is when people are too apprehensive or indecisive about the person, are unclear about what they want in a partner and the questions to ask so they end up dragging out dates and there’s ambivalence.
The other person is left wondering if they only are interested as a friend. This is why the first kiss is important and not something to delay on past the third date.
Ultimately, it really depends on the context. You can have two friends who decide to take their relationship in a romantic direction. In this case, a first kiss would have a different meaning.
If you’re not feeling it or you’re not interested, then don’t feel bad with a cheek kiss or even a handshake. People need to be upfront with one another and themselves.
Author of Random Notes (About Life, “Stuff” And Finally Learning To Exhale)
At my first permanent Air Force base in the early 70s, there were 25 women to about 200 men. Which meant I dated a variety of guys, who let’s say, weren’t gentlemen.
So, when the man who would be my husband and I went on our first date, I was a little anxious. At the end of our first date, he dropped me off at my dorm (men and women lived in separate dorms at the time) kissed me on my forehead and left. This was repeated date number 2 and 3.
On our fourth date, I asked him “What’s with the forehead, I do have lips.“
It appears he wanted to show me that he was different from many of the other guys I’d dated.
His strategy worked. I married him.
March 2018, we celebrated 45 years of marriage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my date is ready for a kiss?
Knowing if your date is ready for a kiss can be a bit of a challenge, but by paying attention to certain signs and being aware of the situation, you can increase your chances of having a great moment. Here are some tips to help you recognize the signs:
Observe their body language: Look for signs that your significant other is comfortable and relaxed around you. If they lean toward you, make eye contact, or touch their lips, these may be subtle hints that they’re ready for a kiss.
Connect: Good conversation and shared laughter can create a strong emotional bond. If your date actively engages with you, it’s a positive sign that they might be open to a kiss.
Gauge their level of physical touching: If your date is comfortable with casual physical contact, such as holding hands or touching the arm, it could be a sign that they’re ready for something more intimate.
Respect their personal space: Knowing your date’s boundaries is important. If they pull away or feel uncomfortable with close contact, wait for a better moment.
Pay attention to the environment: A romantic atmosphere can set the stage for a kiss. If your date enjoys the ambiance and seems to be in a good mood, it could be a sign that they’re open to a kiss.
Trust your intuition: Sometimes, you can just sense when the moment is right. If you feel a strong connection and believe the timing is right, trust your instincts and lean in for a kiss.
Remember that consent is key. It’s always better to ask if you’re unsure or wait for a clear signal that your date is ready to share a kiss.
What if we don’t kiss on the first date?
It’s perfectly normal and acceptable if you and your date don’t kiss on the first date. Many people prefer to take things slowly and get to know each other better before getting physically intimate.
It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dating and that everyone has their own boundaries and comfort level. Communication is key. So, if you’re unsure how your date feels, don’t be afraid to ask.
At the end of the day, it’s crucial to prioritize your own well-being and boundaries. Whether you’re ready to kiss on the first date or prefer to wait, stay true to yourself and do what feels right for you. The most important thing is that you both enjoy each other’s company and have a good time.
What if my date doesn’t want to kiss me?
If your date doesn’t want to kiss you, handling the situation with grace, understanding, and respect is important. Here are some tips to help you navigate this scenario:
Don’t take it personally: There could be many reasons why your date doesn’t want to kiss you, and it may have nothing to do with you. You could be shy or nervous or just not ready for that kind of intimacy at this stage of the relationship.
Respect their boundaries: Everyone has their own comfort level and boundaries regarding physical intimacy. If your partner doesn’t want to kiss you, it’s crucial to respect their decision without trying to pressure them or convince them otherwise.
Be gracious and understanding: Responding with kindness and empathy can make the situation less awkward for both of you. Thank your date for their honesty and reassure them that you understand and respect their feelings.
Redirect the conversation: To reduce tension, try redirecting the conversation to a lighthearted topic or something you both enjoy discussing. This will help you both feel more comfortable and maintain a positive atmosphere.
Give it time: Relationships develop at different paces, and it’s possible that your date may need more time to get comfortable with the idea of a kiss. Be patient and let the relationship develop naturally.
Does kissing always mean something?
Kissing can mean different things to different people, and the significance of a kiss can vary depending on the context and the people involved.
For some, a kiss can symbolize romantic interest or physical attraction. For others, it can be a gesture of affection or a way to show love and intimacy in a committed relationship.
However, it’s essential to know that not all kisses necessarily have deep meaning or lead to further physical intimacy. Some people may engage in casual or friendly kisses without romantic or sexual intentions.
The meaning of a kiss is largely determined by the people involved and their respective intentions and feelings. It’s important to communicate openly and honestly with your partner to ensure that you’re both on the same page and that any physical intimacy is consensual and respectful.
What if I’m nervous before the first kiss?
Feeling nervous about kissing for the first time is completely normal. To help ease your nerves and make the experience more pleasant, consider these tips:
Breathe: Take deep breaths to calm your nerves, and remember that it’s normal to feel anxious.
The right time: Choose a comfortable, private place to relieve the pressure.
Hygiene: Make sure you maintain good oral hygiene to create confidence and a pleasant experience.
Start slowly: Begin with a gentle kiss with your mouth closed and progress gradually.
Follow their lead: Pay attention to your date’s body language and respond accordingly.
Don’t think too much: Focus on sensations and feelings and let the kiss happen naturally.
Communicate: Share your feelings with your date, if needed, for reassurance or guidance.
Can a first kiss determine the course of a relationship?
While the first kiss can be a memorable and significant moment in a relationship, it’s unlikely to determine the entire course of a relationship. A first kiss can certainly set the tone for the rest of the relationship and help create chemistry and a connection between two people.
However, a relationship’s course is determined by various factors, including communication, compatibility, shared values, and mutual respect.
It’s important not to put too much pressure on the first kiss or use it as the sole indicator of a relationship’s success or failure. While it can be exciting and nerve-wracking, remember that it’s only one moment in a long journey.
What to say after a kiss?
After a kiss, it’s normal to feel a mix of emotions and excitement, and you may wonder what to say next. Here are a few examples of what you might say after a kiss:
“That was really nice. I liked that.” This is a simple but sincere way to express your joy at the moment.
“How do you feel about that?” This question asks your partner to share their thoughts and feelings about the kiss, which can help open communication and build trust.
“I’m really glad we had this moment together.” This statement acknowledges the importance of the moment and reinforces your positive feelings toward your partner.
“Is it okay if we take it slow?” If you’re not ready to move too fast physically, this statement can help set clear boundaries and expectations for the future.
“I feel a strong connection with you.” This statement can express the intensity of the moment and how much you enjoy being with your partner.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing you again.” With this, you show your partner that you’re interested in continuing to see them and value the time you spend together.
“I’ve been wanting to do that for a while.” This is a playful and flirtatious way to express your attraction to your partner and build anticipation for future intimate moments.
“I think we have chemistry.” If you feel a strong connection with your partner, this statement confirms that you’re on the same page.
“Thanks for a lovely evening.” This expresses your gratitude for your time together and shows your appreciation for your partner.
Remember that what you say after a kiss depends on your own feelings and the dynamics of your relationship. Whatever you choose to say, make sure it’s authentic, respectful, and in line with your own feelings.
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