Tinder Etiquette: Is Sex on a First Date the Norm?

Even though it’s 2021, and we’ve all been dating via dating apps for nearly a decade (yes, Tinder has been around since 2012), there’s still some uncertainty when it comes to the norms and unspoken rules of online dating. This is where Tinder etiquette comes into play. From who should text first to the classic dilemma of when to have sex, these unspoken rules can help you navigate the often murky waters of the online dating world.

It’s an age-old debate – when to have sex with the person you’re dating. Historically, having sex on a first date would reflect badly on women in particular, but times are (thankfully) changing. Nowadays, casual dating, and casual sex, are just part and parcel of the modern crusade to find love. So is first tinder date sex a norm? Or does it complicate the dating phase? 

What is Tinder etiquette?

Etiquette? On Tinder? You might be thinking you’ve read that wrong. But yes, even Tinder, the infamous hookup hotbed, has some unspoken social rules to follow when it comes to online dating. You might think that if you go on a Tinder date it’s going to be a simple case of swiping right and hooking up, but, in reality, there’s a lot more to it.

It depends on how you use Tinder

While Tinder has become well known for being a hookup app, and most singles have a few Tinder sex stories of their own to share, there are still people out there using the online dating app to find love. So when it comes to Tinder etiquette, the way you interact with someone does vary from person to person. 

That being said, there are some ways to work out what your match is looking for. You can gauge a good amount of information from your match’s online dating profile. From the pictures we choose to the words we write in our bios, your Tinder profile can (and should) be used to make your dating intentions clear. 

Now, we’re not saying you should explicitly state on your profile that you’re looking for sex on Tinder, but there are certain tell-tale signs that can speak a thousand words. For example, if you’re on the hunt for some no-strings-attached fun, then you might choose more revealing photos for your profile, and include little information about your personal life. For this kind of user, having Tinder sex on the first date may not just be the norm, but a priority. This kind of Tinder user may not be looking for a life partner right now.

You should have sex when you feel ready

As we’ve said, it’s important to remember that Tinder etiquette varies, depending on the person and what you’re looking for from your online dating experience. So really there’s no one ‘right’ way to act or ‘right’ decision to make. At the end of the day, if you want to have fun with dating, you have to do what feels good for you. 

The bottom line is that if it feels right and you feel safe and comfortable, then you should go ahead and enjoy that first Tinder date sex. At the same time, if you want to wait to suss out your date and see if you’re compatible before getting jiggy, then go ahead and do that too. The beauty of modern dating is the sheer amount of choice you have – so embrace it!

Tinder first date etiquette

Just because you’ve met on Tinder, doesn’t mean you have to treat your first date any differently to a first date you’d meet in person. Whether sex is on the cards or not, first date etiquette very much applies still. We’re talking:

  • Dressing nicely. You want to make an effort, show your date that you care and want to make a good impression. 
  • Making conversation. Ask questions about your date to get the conversation flowing, but also to find out more about who your date is. This shows that you aren’t just interested in getting them in bed, but having a good time and making a connection. 
  • Being polite. No one is going to want to continue dating – let alone sleep with someone – who isn’t kind and polite. So brush up on your manners and show your date what a gentleman (or woman) you are, otherwise you could end up ruining your date.
  • Don’t expect sex – While having sex with a Tinder date is relatively common amongst modern daters, it’s important not to expect sex. Focus instead on enjoying the date and getting to know the person sitting across the table. If it happens, it happens, but don’t try to force things. Remember, while you may feel a connection and want to get intimate, they may not feel the same way.

Should you give your Tinder date sex?

There is a lot of debate around the right time to have sex with the person you’re dating. For a number of years now, the 3-date rule has become somewhat of a social norm, with many people withholding sex until they’ve been on 3 dates. However, with social attitudes constantly shifting, it’ll come as no surprise that we’re seeing more couples going for it earlier, and others delaying having sex until date number 8 or later! 

Sex and relationship expert Jessica Leoni from dating site Illicit Encounters says: 

The old three-date rule, whereby new couples were supposed to wait three dates before having sex to show that they are not ‘easy’, seems so old-fashioned these days when the whole dating scene has gone digital and been completely transformed.” 

And it’s true – the face of dating has completely changed over the years, and we’re now in a place where sex isn’t as taboo or strict as it used to be. 

When it comes down to it, the only rules about sex you should follow are your own. Every situation, date and couple is different – so how could we possibly have one strict rule for when to have sex?!

If you have a connection with your Tinder date and the physical chemistry is there, then having sex on the first date is totally okay. As long as it feels natural and comfortable, there’s nothing wrong with going all the way. If not – then you have absolutely no obligation or feel any pressure to have Tinder sex. It’s completely up to you and your date!