New Study Finds 68% of People Would Kiss on the First Date
Ever wonder if you’re going in for the kiss at the right time? Maybe you’re wondering if it’s normal to kiss on the first date, and if not the first date, then which date should you first kiss on?
A new study conducted by our team at The Match Lab, a dating profile writing service, surveyed 100 single people across the United States. The findings answer all of these first-kiss questions, including one standout statistic that 68% of people said they would be open to kissing someone on a first date.
Read on to find out more about what people actually think when it comes to kissing on dates — and how to have a perfect first kiss.
When to Have a First Kiss? Should You Kiss on the First Date, Second Date, or Third Date?
One taboo about dating that has been perpetuated in our society is that kissing on the first date is inappropriate. Indeed, as the number of dates you’ve gone on increases, the acceptance to lean in and smooch a date also increases.
We’ve all been there: you’re on a date, looking at the person you’re with, and you want to know for sure if they are into it. The inner dialogue of “Are they into me?” “Do they want me to kiss them? Do I even want to kiss them?” and “Is this going to go beyond tonight?” starts up.
The first kiss in a relationship can be an important marker of what’s to come, and to look back on, as it sets up a key part of how the relationship will develop. Kissing for the first time in a relationship can be significant for both people involved because it shows affection and attraction and breaks a first barrier to deeper physical intimacy.
When you feel a connection with someone and want to engage with them romantically, a kiss can sometimes express your feelings perfectly. A first kiss is also a good first test to assess the chemistry between you and your date.
Most people dream of the perfect, romantic first kiss with their future partner. So, we at The Match Lab decided to take out the guesswork and discover the ingredients of a perfect first kiss. The first kiss isn’t an art; it’s a science. And based on the findings of our study, we’d wager that most people don’t realize just how much goes into the ideal first kiss moment in a relationship — and how to have a first kiss the right way.
In this study, our team at The Match Lab focused on what attitudes and ideals single people have toward the first kiss. One of the main questions that the study focused on was “How many dates should you wait before having a first kiss?”
How many dates before a kiss? Here’s what our survey found:
- 45% of people say the second date is the ideal time to have the first kiss
- 26% say that the third date ideal
- 15% say the first date is ideal
The data show that the second date is the most popular date to smooch someone new for the first time, while the first date is the least ideal. Almost half of the people that participated in the study stated they would prefer to have their first kiss on the second date. The majority of participants agreed that there should ideally be no kiss on a first date. The consensus was that first kisses are just to get to know one another, before getting physical.
Are people open to kissing on the first date?
In our study, we also asked if participants would be open to the idea of kissing a potential partner on the first date. Looking at this question, the study found that:
- 68% of people say they would be open to kissing someone on a first date
- 80% say they would kiss on the second date
- 88% would kiss on the third date
So while only 15% of participants stated they would ideally kiss someone on the first date, 68% said they were open to the idea of kissing an ideal romantic partner on their first date. The more dates people go on, the more ready they feel to have a first kiss. But waiting too long to have a first kiss could be a turnoff: only 14% of people said that the first kiss should happen after the third date. If you wait too long, you might lose your date’s interest and miss your opportunity.
While the majority of people still agree that kissing on the first date is not ideal, these survey findings show a shift in our culture toward being more open to the idea of a kiss on the first date. Other survey responses have also indicated that first-date kisses are becoming more accepted by singles today. This could be due in part to the increased use of online dating apps and services where connections are made prior to a date and partners can establish comfort with each other before arranging a date.
Setting Up the First Kiss: Establishing Consent
Now that we’ve covered which date is ideal for a first kiss, let’s dive deeper into how the first kiss should start.
Before trying to kiss any sort of potential partner, it is important to establish consent. Do not make assumptions based on their actions or any previous conversations you have had, because opinions and feelings can change. If you match with someone on a dating app, and you both seem to be into each other enough to agree to go out on a date, this does not automatically mean that your date is comfortable with you leaning in to kiss them during the date.
Consent should always be enthusiastic and clear to both parties. It also should be given while both parties are of sound mind. For example, if you go on a date to a bar and both share several drinks, it may be smart to pass on kissing that night and wait for a future date when you’re both able to consent. If you lean into a kiss and your partner starts to pull away, do not push it. It is important to be aware of your partner’s comfort level and meet them where they are at. If they say “stop,” simply stop and respect their boundaries.
The study we conducted at The Match Lab asked people whether or not consent should be established before going in for a first kiss. The results of this question were that:
- 21% of people said you should ask someone if you can kiss them before going in for a first kiss
- 4% said to go in for the kiss, without asking
- 75% said it depends on the situation.
While it is important to establish consent, it is also important to pick a proper time to lean in for a kiss. There is quite a bit of debate over when a kiss should occur during the date. But the consensus seems to be that a first kiss should be near or at the end of the date.
When to Kiss on a Date
We asked those in the study when they thought a kiss on a date should occur. The vast majority of people interviewed (89% of them) say a first kiss should happen at the end of the date. A much smaller 11% of people say the first kiss should happen during the middle of the date. Not a single person we surveyed said that a first kiss should occur at the beginning of the date; that would likely make for a very unexpected and awkward first kiss.
Many people may prefer that a first kiss concludes the date because it creates a sense of anticipation and excitement of what’s to come next. When your date ends with sharing your first kiss and then you say goodbye right after, you part ways on a high note, having just reached what is likely to have been your first milestone in dating one another.
First Kiss Tips: How to Have a Good First Kiss
Because the first kiss is an important relationship milestone, we really want it to go well. We want to feel sparks and that instant connection. Almost all great love stories begin with the story of the first kiss. But the reality is that first kisses can be really awkward. While we idealize what our first kiss will be like with our dream partner, it is difficult to experience that in reality.
So how can you pull off the first kiss like a pro? According to the findings of our study, here are some tips for having a great first kiss.
How long should a first kiss last?
A big question on people’s minds when approaching the first kiss is, “How long should a first kiss last?” It can be difficult to know with someone you’ve never kissed before. You want to avoid awkwardness with a first-time kiss, but the reality is that you’re not a mindreader who knows exactly what your date wants. So let’s see what our study tells us.
Of those people who participated in the study, 98% stated that the ideal first kiss should be less than 10 seconds. More specifically, 67% of people say that a first kiss should ideally last a few seconds (between 3-5 seconds).
A smaller percentage of participants (16% of them) say a first kiss be just a quick peck, no more than one second long. The least popular response came from 15% of participants, who say that an ideal first kiss should last 10 seconds.
Should your first kiss be a makeout? Tongue or no tongue?
It’s not always like the movies. The first kiss can look like a lot of different things – a makeout, tongue or no tongue, a quick peck, etc. There are many options, and it can be confusing to know if the situation is right. For example, most people would probably be uncomfortable with a first kiss being a full-on session of making out on the first date but may be receptive to a peck on the cheek or the lips.
Again, it is important to establish consent with your partner and be mindful of their comfort level before attempting to push a kiss further.
How should you approach the first kiss to make sure it goes well? Should you deepen the kiss and use your tongue or have only the lips making contact? The participants of our study generally agreed that it depends on the situation, with 51% saying that you might want to use tongue during a first kiss sometimes and you might not at other times.
In our study, we found that 48% of people say you definitely should not use your tongue in a first kiss while only 1% of people unequivocally say you should absolutely always use your tongue. So generally, just use your best judgment and assess your partner’s comfort level when thinking about how deep and passionate your first kiss should be.
What If You Have a Bad First Kiss?
If you have gone on a date and leaned in for that first kiss and it ended up not going as well as you hoped, that is completely ok! It is important to just learn from the experience and view how you would ideally like future dates to play out.
A bad first kiss with a potential partner is not always a dealbreaker. In fact, only 9% of people in our surveys said that a bad first kiss is a dealbreaker. That means less than 10% of people hold the position that they would definitely not go on another date with someone after having a bad first kiss.
Most people are forgiving of a bad first kiss: in fact, 91% of people say that a bad first kiss is not a dealbreaker for them and they would go on another date with the person if they liked them otherwise. The mistakes leading to a bad first kiss are viewed as forgivable most of the time. Most people are understanding. We’ve all had a bad first kiss. Sometimes, it just happens.
First Kiss Tips and Mistakes to Avoid
There are many ways you can have a good first kiss. In fact, in our study, we pinpointed a few clear mistakes to avoid for your first kiss.
The most common mistakes people reported experiencing when having a first kiss with someone included using too much tongue (28% of people nominated this as the #1 mistake made), having bad breath (nominated by 25% of people), and rushing to go in for the kiss (nominated by 23% of people).
Some other less common mistakes people said happen during first kisses include trying to make the kiss last too long, keeping your eyes open, not using your hands at all, and pulling away from the kiss too soon (each of these were nominated as the #1 first kiss mistake by less than 10% of people).
Most people see these mistakes as forgivable, depending on the circumstances that surround them. As long as consent is established, boundaries are respected, and you’re both having fun on the date, it’s likely that you and your partner can look forward to planning another date ahead, no matter how beautifully or horribly your first kiss goes.
Your First Kiss Awaits
Your first kiss with any romantic partner should be your own unique experience. It should not copy a movie, book, TV show, or another individual’s story. The uniqueness of your first kiss is what makes it so memorable and important for you and your partner, as that first kiss helps to establish the start of your relationship. By following the tips we shared above, you can feel ready and confident going into your next first kiss with a special someone.
When you are looking for the perfect partner, it can be difficult to do it on your own. If you are currently using a dating app or online dating website, we want to help make your profile stand out from the rest so you can get more matches, get better matches, and go on great dates.
For more dating insights and for dating profile help, head to The Match Lab. We’ll help you select the best photos for your dating profile, write your dating bio, write your profile prompts, and more. We’ll provide you with an attractive profile you can use on any dating app, such as Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Match, eharmony, OkCupid, and more. Start using a dating profile that gets you more likes, more matches, and more first dates.