You heard that right: Waiting to have sex is in vogue again

When it comes to the third date people usually stop counting (that is: If you even made it that far) at that point it just become dates.

What is so special about the number 3?

Three is the last one that’s significant, and according to dating folklore, the third date means sex. Yes, even in our current era of dating apps, one-night stands and “hookup culture,” the idea of a “third date” is still almost synonymous with sex.

For this, we can thank a little thing often referred to as the “third date rule.” Seemingly a relic leftover from a bygone era of less sexually liberated courtship, the “third date rule” encouraged singles (female ones, in particular) to wait until the third date to have sex with a potential new flame — especially one they were hoping to lock down on a longterm basis.

A new study found that two in three singles “want to wait until after the third date to have sex.”

The reasons offered up a handful of predictable theories as to why this may be, including a reasonable pandemic-driven reluctance to hop into bed with a bunch of possibly COVID-infected strangers as well as a reactionary return to “slow-dating” in response to the culture of instant gratification that dating apps fostered throughout the 2010s.

Why was the third date rule ever a thing to begin with.

While most cultural historians seem unclear on the exact origins of the three-date rule, many tend to associate it with the last decade or two of the 20th-century — though Mia Levitin, author of The Future of Seduction, says the rule “was firmly in play in New York before Sex and the City popularized it.”

“Whatever Carrie Bradshaw said was my new bible and roadmap.” This association with the third date rule, specifically, can be charted back to a first-season episode in which Carrie is debating having sex with Mr. Big on the first date.

The we have a book called “The Rules”, published in 1995. This book was presented as a modern woman’s guide to locking down a husband by following 35 simple rules that mostly amount to suppressing all wants, needs and other signs of autonomous personhood for long enough to trick a man into marrying you before he figures out you’re an actual human, which would be unsexy.

The rules mostly involve various forms of playing hard to get (“Don’t call him and rarely rarely return his calls”; “Don’t accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday”) paired with a healthy dose of downright de-humanization: “Don’t stare at men or talk too much”; “Don’t open up too much.”

Unsurprisingly, The Rules also features at least two whole chapters devoted to sex in the early stages of courtship: Rule No. 14, “No more than casual kissing on the first date,” and No. 15, “Don’t rush into sex.”

While The Rules does not explicitly enforce the third date rule, instead stating that the Rule, in this regard, “depends on your age and personal feelings,” it does gesture toward it. The Rules never officially sanctions the third date as a sexual green light.

What if you want to have sex before the third date?

But what if you like sex a lot too, and denying yourself us just as hard as denying him? Does that mean that you can sleep with him on the first or second date? Unforunately, the answer is still no. You will just have to exercise a bit of self-restraint and character building here and trust that if you hold off for a few weeks or months, you won’t be sorry.

Why? Because “if you play your cards right, you can sex with have sex with him every night for the rest of your life when you’re married!”