If you thought sleeping with someone before a first date was a no-go, but texting during a date was OK, think again.
While the rule of thumb may have been wait to have sex until a third date, 34% of singles have had sex before a first date, and Millennials are 48% more likely to have sex before a first date than all other generations of singles, according to the annual Singles in America survey, funded by Dallas-based dating service Match and conducted by Research Now.
Millennials especially are unencumbered by fears that may have held people back from having sex in the past, says Helen Fisher a biological anthropologist and chief scientific adviser to Match, who helped develop the representative survey of more than 5,000 singles.
“We have a real misunderstanding of Millennials,” she said. “I think they are very career oriented, so sex before the first date could be a sex interview, where they want to know if they want to spend time with this person.”
In many ways sex has become a less intimate part of dating, according to Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a certified sex therapist. With dating and hookup apps making it easier than ever to hop in bed, now the intimate part can often times be introducing a partner to friends and family.
“We used to think of sex as you crossed the line now you are in an intimate zone, but now sex is almost a given and it’s not the intimate part," Anderson said. "The intimate part is getting to know someone and going on a date.”
And while 40% of singles have dated someone they met online, they don’t want technology to spill-over to the actual dates.
Prior to an actual date, 42% of singles said they judge a date by their social media posts. But three in four singles is turned off if a date answers their phone without any explanation, and more than half are turned off by texting during the date.
"It’s sort of a mixed message because on one hand people judge potential sexual partners based on social media posts, but then they also want them to put (their phones) down," Anderson says. "It's kind of a love-hate relationship."
Oh, and that cracked phone you’re waiting to upgrade? Time to lose it, according to Fisher.
“Singles don’t like people who have a cracked phone, or an old phone or those who use a clicking sound when typing,” she says, citing the survey. “I think we will see more of these taboos as singles are leading the way in expressing new forms of politeness in the technological era.”
Will women and men ever understand each other?
Men and women may have come a long way in understanding each other, but the survey found the saying men are from Mars, women are Venus may still ring true.
While 71% of men find it attractive when a woman offers to split the bill, if a woman asks to split it may mean she’s just not that into you.
Sixty-five percent of men reported that they thought a woman offered to split in order to be polite, while 78% of women surveyed said they offered to pay because they don’t want to feel obligated for anything. That means no hug, kiss or second date.
So what does paying for a bill have to do with sex? Women on some level may still believe they are in debt to the man if they take his offering of food, says Eric Marlowe Garrison, a certified sex counselor and assistant director of Office of Health Promotion at William and Mary.
“Since the beginning of time, sex has never been just about two people … sex can be for emotions, for food, for housing, for comfort — for multiple reasons, so there’s nothing new in that sense,” Garrison says.
Fisher likewise notes that the concept of "food for sex" is common in other species, with male flies catching something and giving it to a female, who then copulates with the male, and a likewise scenario with birds.
But while many might believe having sex too soon equates with a population looking for a physical-only connection, that’s not the case.
Just over 80% of singles want to find romantic love, according to the survey. And Millennials, in particular, are starting to feel the press to settle down and marry, with 54% reporting that they feel pressure because they want a family, and 35% feeling pressure to wed in order to keep up with their friends.
And for those who believe men are the ones dragging their feet when it comes to relationships, that's not the case. The survey found that men are 43% more likely than women to believe that having sex helps to builds an emotional connection with a partner.
Society may in many ways still be getting it wrong when it comes to men and sexuality, though there have been some small dents in male stereotypes, according to Garrison.
Many are starting to see sex rules as more fluid instead of the male dominance and female submission models, though that still exists, he says.
“I think as feminism has become less of a negative word among those who identify as male, more people are embracing healthier attitudes towards sexuality,” he says.
The F-word has truly come a long way
The majority of men believe that feminism has changed dating for the better, with only 35% saying that the rise of gender equality has made dating worse.
Men reported that they want women to take charge, with a little over 90% of men are in favor of a woman making the first move when it comes to kissing and sex.
Thought you had to wait for a man to ask for your number? Not the case, with 95% of men saying it’s OK for a woman to ask for a man’s number, according to the survey.
But once again, while men may appreciate a more assertive women, the message is lost in translation, with only 29% of women reporting that they would initiate a first kiss, and only 13% asking for a phone number.
And while phone numbers and first moves are still confusing, single men and women can agree on something: The desire for more adventure in the bedroom.
Three in four single men and 64% of single women reported that they want more adventure in the bedroom.
And that may not be too hard to achieve. Anderson says many times the key to good sex is just getting into it.
"Virtually all men report that having an enthusiastic partner is a turn on and that being with a woman who is not embarrassed or shy about her body or her pleasure, but someone who owns their sexuality and celebrates it that is a huge turn," she says. "It's not necessarily about being in charge."
Take those reins, ladies!
Other findings from the survey:
► Quit it with the d*ck pics! Thirty-two percent of single men admitted to sending a picture of their genitals, but 90% of women reported they were unaroused by those NSFW pics. And gay men agreed, with almost two-thirds reporting they are unaroused by pictures of male genitalia.
► Big love? Almost 70% of singles approve of polyamorous relationships, or sexual relationships with a deep connection with more than one partner, but only 6% have practiced polyamory.
► Your cheating heart? The survey found that Republicans are 48% more likely to have ever cheated, closely followed by those who drink heavily, according to the survey. And Millennials are the most faithful respondents, but hey, maybe they just haven't had as much time to slip up.