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, sleep over 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.