How Many Dates Before The First Kiss?

When to have your first kiss while dating is a veritable riddle to solve with all its whens and hows. We’re simplifying the issue once and for all.

By Monalisa Murmu
How Many Dates Before The First Kiss?

The rules with dates, first kiss, et al

Dates have never been a simple affair. Not in the days of Jane Austen, not now either. It feels like a battle to fight with all the planning and the maneuvering. And then there are rules. Those darned rules. Whoever made them has never rested in their coffins in peace. And it doesn’t help that, presently, there are millions of perpetrators of those rules who look to carry forward the idea that dates and rules go hand in hand. It is frustrating to say the least. First, you learn and master the rules of landing a date — going through all the sub-rules of dressing for and impressing your potential partner — and when you finally land that coveted date, there is barely any time to be thankful for being off the singles market. Congratulations, you now get to learn and master more rules. This time the rules catering to how you should behave on your dates, what you should wear on these dates, and most important of all, how many dates you should wait until you can kiss, hold hands or get intimate. Phew! With so many things to cram into that little head of yours, you can barely feel the romance bubbling. You’re a lover no more; now you’re a warrior set out to win at this game of love. Now while it’s completely understandable that the rule-makers on dates and kisses have been meaning well, sometimes it really gets too much. And that’s what you need to be aware of — when all the rules are getting out of hand and coming in the way of a perfect date or a perfect kiss or even a potentially perfect relationship.

Kiss on dates — the only rule to know

Take me to Hollywood 🎞

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I’ll cut to the chase and write the concluding sentence right at the beginning. The only rule about when you should kiss on your dates is whenever you want to. That’s right, you kiss when YOU want to. Keep in mind though, by “you” I mean both of you (I do hope you know that as kiss is a collaborative activity). This effectively means that all the rules about the number of dates you should be going on before you can actually kiss — you can fling them out the window. What’s with set rules anyway? How do rule-makers assume that one rule would apply to all kinds of people? It’s just plain silly. People are diverse and so are their wants and needs. The beauty of this diversity is that you get to customize your dating norms to suit your preferences and make your own rules. For someone, it might take weeks or even months before they can so much as talk about a kiss. For others, they might be ready and willing the moment they swiped right on that shirtless (or topless, whatever) picture on Tinder. So my point here is, to each his/her own. No one person can impose a rule about the right time for the first kiss on someone else. It’s for the two people who’re about to engage in that kiss to decide. How long or short your wait is going to be is something only you get to choose. There is no real rulebook for the “right time”.

Consent is important

As mentioned before, any rule that is applicable on you is also applicable on your date. It’s never just about one person (unless you’re a total selfish brat, which, for your own sake and your date’s, I hope you’re not) and both parties need to come together to a mutual craving for the kiss. It’s not just the most ethical way of doing it, but also the most enjoyable. The anticipation that both of you have towards it, renders the kiss more passionate and fulfilling. Which goes to mean that even if you’re ready and raring to go, but your date wants to wait, you’ll have to wait as well. You don’t want to either force your will on them nor do you want to manipulate them into doing so (fake promises of a forever future, for example). Because if you do, rest assured that your first kiss might end up being your last kiss. Now if that’s your kind of cheap thrill, by all means go ahead, but this post is looking at the kind of kiss that has a little more longevity than that. And being respectful on your dates goes a long way in achieving that. Now I know if you’re on this date and you really, really like the girl or guy, and can’t wait to kiss them goodbye (you also justify this to yourself, saying, “I swear I saw her fiddle with her house keys for a minute too long!”), but your partner doesn’t quite reciprocate with the same intensity, let’s just admit it — it’s not the greatest feeling in the world. Feelings of impatience, and worse, inadequacy in charming the other sex, will come to haunt you for the rest of the night. And that’s why, the rest of the post won’t be about how many dates you need to go on before you can kiss — we’ve already gotten that out of the way — we’d be talking about how you can make sure you both feel the same way at the same time, pretty much. So when the kiss does happen, it won’t be because one of you manipulated the other, but because you both wanted it — together!

How many dates do YOU need to kiss?

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First off, you need to be aware of exactly what you feel about the right time for the first kiss. Introspection, if you will. A journey of self-discovery. Soul searching. Okay, enough with the drama. The point is, it is important to be honest with yourself about what YOU think is right, or what works for you. Don’t be fooled into letting the other person tell you how long or short your wait should be. You are a very important part of this exchange (In fact, you’re the ONLY other part of this exchange) and therefore get to have a say in what pleases you and what doesn’t. Stay away from toxic people who try to impose their wants on you; they’ll never make great partners anyway. And in order to do that, you must be completely in tune with your own needs. Sometimes, our reluctance towards a kiss on the first date comes from a central moral system that we have. There is nothing wrong or right about it, that’s just who you are and how you’ve been raised, or the lessons that you’ve learnt along the way. And it’s OKAY to be that way. If that is what you really, really believe, then don’t think you have to give it up because someone else is of a different opinion. On the other hand, a lot of us might want to get going right from the first date because you’re just that much adventurous in life. You don’t like to overthink things and live for the fun that is to be had by making instant decisions. And guess what? That is all right too. Don’t feel threatened by labels that people throw around just because you are more sexually liberated than others around you. As long as it comes from deep within, your wants reflect your personality and individuality and that is something that can never be defined as right or wrong from another’s perspective.

How does your date feel about the kiss?

Collaborative activity, remember? Just as your opinion, thoughts and wants matter, so do your date’s. The onus is on you to be sensitive about their value system too. So if you want the kiss to happen, but your date hasn’t made up their mind, you know what goes. You have to be respectful of their choices too. But before that, you need to first understand what their feelings actually are and where they’re coming from. You don’t want to lean in on them and see them flinch, barely hiding their shock and disgust, just because you knew nothing about your date. Yes, a lot of things change in the heat of the moment, and if everything goes right, even the strictest “no kiss before three dates at least” purists will give it up in that moonlight night. But you need to know their thoughts in general first. Like whether they are the more conservative kinds or the liberal (sorry for making it sound like a political journal, but this is important). How do you do that? One way is texting. If you have been texting each other before the first actual date, which most of us kind of do these days, you could pop a question or two along the lines of a general discussion on physical intimacy. Don’t make it sound personal, even if you might be dying to do so, just hold a detached discussion on the subject that an adult person would with a friend or a colleague. If it is a blind date and you’re right in the middle of it, you can do the same here as well. Make a light, fun conversation on how you know someone who had done something. And then proceed to discuss on the subject with carefully constructed detachment. Their response will help you figure out what they think to a great extent.

How long have you known your date?

You might be gearing up for your first date still, but maybe you’ve known them on social media for a while. Or maybe you’ve been friends for some time, or have had common friends and hung out together in a group. It’s important to consider how long you’ve known the guy or girl you’re about to go on a date with because that reflects how well you know each other. As already discussed, knowing each other helps you get comfortable with discussions on the kiss issue. If you’ve known each other for quite some time now, you ought to be already flirting with each other and hinting at intimacy. If that is the case, it’s okay to go for the kiss right at the first date. You’re both kinda in the zone and chances are high you’re both in it together. But if you’ve only known each other recently and are still in the stage of trying to get to know each other, don’t rush the kiss. Be more interested in the person than the kiss. Talk, meet and do stuff (not the other kind of stuff) together. Once you’re familiar with the person, you’ll both know when to attempt the kiss because you’ll understand the other person well enough to know how they will receive it. Attempting the kiss without knowing about your date is likely to bring in some rude surprises. But the standing disclaimer is that there are no actual rules, right? Which goes on to mean that sometimes you’ll go on a first date with a person you barely know but will end up hitting it off so instantaneously that the kiss will feel like the most natural transition. In which case, don’t hold back!

How many dates to warm up to your partner?

The basic answer to the question of how many dates before you can kiss is, how many dates do you need to warm up to your partner? If you need about an hour, you’re ready for the kiss. If you need a year, so be it. It’s all a personal choice that stems out of your personal preference. Getting into each other’s comfort zone is crucial. You might think taking someone out to a romantic candle-lit dinner and a long drive back home with Elton John softly playing should be enough groundwork to lean in for the kiss, but you could be wrong. In spite of all that, if your date still doesn’t seem interested, don’t jump to judge them for being too snooty. Or, YOU could be the one not wanting the kiss right away. If that’s the case, don’t judge yourself either. You’re free to make your own rules about how comfortable you feel in your date’s presence as well as how you feel about the kiss. There is no singular numerical guideline on the time should need to warm up to your date. You might feel all the right vibes right from the start and decide that you can’t wait any longer to kiss them, or you might feel like you need some more (or way more) time to know and understand your date before you decide if it’s even worth kissing them. Both situations are completely acceptable.

Your dates have hidden signals

Reading an article written by an *ahem* expert love guru is great for guidance sake, but you have to know how to learn from real life too. Those are the best and the most accurate kind of lessons out there. As much as you wish to be pre-prepared for the worst situation by going through what other people have to say about the rules of a first kiss, you’ll know best what to do if you can just be attentive on the dates. Yep, your dates have all the hidden signs and signals that you need to know for sure exactly how long you should wait before you kiss (or if you should wait at all). How well or date is going, or whether it is a complete snooze fest, is something you learn only from the date itself. If you’re having a good time together and are laughing a lot, chances are you’re closer to the kiss than you would be if either of you were busy on the phone. If you both lose track of time and hang out until the bar needs to be shut, that kiss is on the cards sooner. But if either you or your date can’t wait to be back home to their Netflix without the chill, the wait is gonna be way longer than anticipated. Look out for these kind of signs to be sure of when to kiss, don’t just rely on bookish knowledge.

The body language is a key to the kiss

Snow White’s prince charming might not have had the patience to wait for her consent to kiss, but you have to because you don’t live in a fairy tale and because kissing someone without their consent sucks anyway. And the consent is given away by the body language. Like they say, the tongue might not always choose to be truthful but the body language often fails at covering the same. Your date’s body language is a dead giveaway of whether is kiss is going to happen anytime soon. Here are a few common body languages: 1. If your date makes eye contact all through the time you’ve spent together, you have their full attention. They’re likely enjoying what they see and hear and want more of it. In which case, a kiss is likely. 2. If your date has their body facing directly towards you right down to their feet pointing at you, instead of slanting sideways, they’re quite into you. They might or might not be admitting it vocally, but they’re looking forward to experiencing more of you. 3. If they laugh a lot at your jokes, no matter how basic or lame they are, don’t think they have a bad sense of humor. It could likely be because they already care enough to not make you feel bad about making a dumb joke! 4. They make casual body contact — and often — like brush your hands with theirs or take your arm before you could even offer it, or even proceed to touch your face or hair, they’re really into you. The kiss is very likely to happen.

Have you prepped for the kiss?

Sometimes, a kiss will happen out of the blue, but only sometimes. Most often than not, especially if you aren’t a Jack Dawson or a Rose DeWitt Bukater, you need to build up to it. This piece of advice is not for those who want to wait, of course, this is for those who’re ready but find their date unwilling. One of the reasons could be that you didn’t lead your date into it. You went out, ate, drank, dropped them home and hoped that the kiss would just magically happen. Sadly, that’s not how it works. You need to make it happen. What you do during the date and what you say on the drive back is what decides whether it’s going to be goodnight or a goodnight kiss (with a possible invitation inside). You could have a great time talking about Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, but if you don’t at least make subtle hints that you find your date extremely attractive, you’ll most likely be fist-bumping at the doorstep instead of kissing. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, in fact, they are great conversation starters and can make your date laugh a lot, eventually helping them lighten up and feel comfortable in your company, all of which is actually a great plus to the plan of ending the date with a kiss. But for it to finally happen without fail, you need to turn the sexy on a bit. The way you look at them occasionally — that intense gaze should make them know what’s on your mind, so they too can think about it and decide if they want it too.

Live and act in the moment

If you’ve taken care to know and understand your partner as well as communicate what you want, you’re pretty much in that ideal zone of being able to decide when you want to kiss, how long you should wait and how many dates you need to go on. But alongside being prepared for it all, also learn to live in the moment. Because the kiss is between the two of you (unless you’re kissing in a place with cameras), you need to be, more than anything else, fine-tuned to each other’s needs in that moment. Maybe your date is a very shy conservative girl who you’d been texting with for a while and she’s always maintained that she doesn’t want you anywhere near her face before you’ve been on at five dates, but on a moonlit night at that Spanish restaurant by the river, she might be insanely impressed by your stories about fostering homeless dogs. At that moment if she snuggles close and looks up at you meaningfully, for goodness' sake, don’t wait for the rules to kick in. Or, if YOU are that shy girl and find yourself impressed with this charming man who’s also incredibly kind, don’t find the urge when you know you want to kiss him before someone else does. Living and acting in the moment opens up doors to the most wonderful experiences and you shouldn’t be afraid to seize them.

Dates are not a battleground

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Get over the ‘I need to win’ mentality. You neither have to win nor do you have to prove a point. Yes, the world can get weird sometimes, and you sometimes kiss people you wish you hadn’t and you sometimes also DON’T kiss people you wish you had. But put it down to experience, because dating is an experience to cherish, not a battleground to fight. Don’t limit these experiences by sticking staunchly with rulebooks written by people who only had their own perspective and experiences to live by. Make your own! How soon or later you want to kiss is something only you and your date get to have a say in. Figure it out together. Don’t decide for yourself that you need it sooner or later and leave their choices out. And then when you find an answer that suits your needs best, maybe start writing a new rule book!