What are the worst things to do on a first date?

Isabelle KirkData Journalist
February 11, 2022, 9:55 AM GMT+0

Meeting the parents, going to a wedding, dating on a video call and getting intimate – YouGov looks at how Britons feel about first date activities

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us again, and if you’ve already landed yourself a date, what should you do – or not do – to maximise the possibility of getting a second one?

Meet the parents? Not on the first date, say Britons

According to the British public, bringing your date to meet your family, or meeting their family, is the biggest no-no of the 14 date activities we asked about. Just 17% of Britons say it’s fine to meet your date’s relatives, or have them meet yours, on the first date. Around three-quarters (72%) of Britons say this is an unacceptable activity, including a third (35%) who say it is “totally unacceptable”.

Similarly, if you were planning on bringing your date to a wedding, romantic comedy style – you might want to think again. Only three in 10 (28%) Britons say this is an acceptable activity for a first date, with 60% saying unacceptable.

In pandemic times, many areas of life – work, school, socialising – have been moved online. However, according to Britons, you should still keep your love life offline. Just a third (32%) of the British public say it’s acceptable to conduct a first date entirely over video call, with more than half (55%) saying this is an unacceptable first date activity.

Unsurprisingly, there is a significant age difference – with those aged 18-24 split (44% acceptable, 41% unacceptable) on a video call first date and those aged over 65 firmly in the ‘offline’ camp (21% acceptable, 65% unacceptable).

Four in 10 of Britons say it’s acceptable to go to your date’s home for a first date (38%) or have them visit you (39%), with half (51% and 50% respectively) saying this is unacceptable. There is also a significant age break here, with just 29%-31% of Britons aged 65 and over saying it’s acceptable to visit each other’s homes on a first date, rising to more than half (55%-56%) of those aged between 18 and 24.

According to the British public, the most acceptable activities for a first date are going out for coffee (93% say this is acceptable on a first date), going out for dinner (93%) and going for a walk (92%). Nine in 10 Brits (91%) also say going out for drinks at a bar or a pub is an acceptable way to spend time with a first date.

History and art-lovers rejoice: 89% of Britons think that going to a museum or an art gallery is an acceptable activity for a first date, while cinephiles will also be pleased with the 86% of Britons who say a trip to the cinema is perfectly fine for a first date.

Further down the list of the activities which were voted as ‘acceptable’ by the majority of Britons are going shopping (58% acceptable, 32% unacceptable) and going on a double date with another couple (58% acceptable, 32% unacceptable).

Britons also tend to think that doing a physical activity, like a gym class or swimming, is acceptable for a first date. Half (49%) think it’s fine to get sweaty in front of your new date, while 39% think it’s not and 12% unsure.

Is it acceptable to have sex on the first date?

When it comes to intimate activities during or just after a first date, just a third (36%) of Britons say having sex is acceptable, with half (54%) saying it’s unacceptable and 10% unsure.

Britons appear to think that sleeping in the same bed with a date is on the same level as having sex - 53% of Britons say you shouldn’t sleep in the same bed as a first date, with 37% saying this is acceptable and 11% unsure.

The question of whether it’s acceptable to have sex on the first date has very different answers for older Britons than for younger ones. Just 15% of Britons aged over 65% say it’s fine to have sex on the first date, rising to more than half (56%) of those aged between 18 and 24.

Other intimate activities, like kissing, holding hands and hugging, are much more acceptable for the British public across all age groups. Eight in 10 (79%) Britons say giving your date a kiss is perfectly fine on the first date, while 81% are happy with holding hands and 86% think hugging is acceptable. Just 13%, 10% and 8% of Britons say that kissing, holding hands and hugging are unacceptable on a first date, respectively.

Women and men are split on whether you should take your date to a wedding, meet the family, visit each other’s houses or have sex on the first date

Understandably, women tend to be more cautious than men when it comes to first date activities. Men are twice as likely as women to consider visiting a date’s home (50%), or having a date visit their home (51%), an acceptable first date activity. Just a quarter of women think visiting a date’s home (26%) or having them round (28%) is acceptable, with 65% and 63% respectively saying this is unacceptable on the first date.

While a quarter (24%) of men think it’s acceptable to meet a potential partner’s family on the first date, or have them meet your family, this figure falls to just 11% of women. Similarly, a third of men (32%) say you can take a first date as a plus one to a wedding, compared with a quarter (25%) of women.

When it comes to intimate activities, nearly half of men (45%) say it’s fine to have sex on the first date, compared to just 28% of women, with two-thirds of women (64%) saying having sex is unacceptable on the first date. Kissing, holding hands and hugging are equally acceptable for both men and women.

Women are just as enthusiastic about more conventional first date activities as men: 95% of British women would consider going out for coffee or dinner a perfectly acceptable first date activity, with drinks at a bar, a museum or art gallery trip and a romantic walk all also scoring in the 90s.

See full results here

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