The date went well, and when the two of you took things back to your place, that went smoothly, too. Or so you thought until you watched your date get dressed and slip out the door. You really hit it off with this person, though, so it breaks your heart to watch them leave. The possibilities race through your mind. Was it something you did, or did they just want to sleep in their own bed?
Popular culture tells us that if they make an exit right after the hookup, then they may just not be that into you. But is that what real people are saying? We surveyed over 1,000 actively dating single people and people in relationships to find out. Read on to learn if your lovemaking was bad, or if it was something else – maybe your hookup just wanted the familiar comfort of their own home and mattress.
Hit It and Bounce
Post-hookup etiquette is serious business; sometimes, what happens after lovers get naked is more telling than awkward first-date conversations. Long cuddles might indicate there’s a desire for a more intimate connection, but it’s not always a bad sign if someone decides to hit the road after they climax.
Roughly 56% of people reported leaving after a hookup because they had to work, either that night or the next morning. Of the people who used work as an excuse to leave, 35% were lying. The next most popular reason people packed up post-sex was simply exhaustion: 38.3% said they left because they were tired (although nearly 22% lied about this). Maybe they just didn’t want to waste time having pillow talk in an unfamiliar bed rather than sleeping soundly.
Although 37.2% of people had actually snuck out of a partner’s home – maybe while the other person was in the bathroom or sleeping – 17.2% pulled the honesty card and said they didn’t want to hang around. While the majority of our participants found this type of behavior rude, women and people who identified as LGBTQ found it especially disrespectful when a person left right after a hookup.
Legitimate Reasons to Exit
Most people in our survey tended to stick around at a hookup’s house for at least a few hours after sex. When we asked respondents about their most recent love connection, we found that they spent 5.7 hours, on average, at the person’s house. That’s definitely not a come-and-go situation!
When it’s time for your partner to head out the door, be confident in your lovemaking skills, and don’t fret – many people do have legitimate reasons. More than 60% of men and women said work was a good reason for a post-coitus exit, but it wasn’t the top reason women legitimized.
Although only 48.5% of men believed leaving a partner’s bed for their own was a good reason, that was the top justification among women (63.4%). Sometimes, a lady wants to lie in a king-size bed all by herself. Safety was also a priority for women in our study: 63.1% believed feeling unsafe in a partner’s home was a proper reason to leave, compared to 51% of men. Women (46.3%) were also more likely to think it’s legitimate to make a swift exit if the sex is unsatisfying, compared to 29.1% of men.
Just One More Hour
Whether it’s a dinner party guest or a hookup, people who overstay their welcome can quickly become a burden. But the truth is that most lovers want their partners to stay the night. Roughly 40% of people said it’s OK if their partner stays for a little while after having sex, but 54.3% said they wanted their lover to stay in bed all night long.
Those who wanted people to get up and go right after sex were in the minority (5.4%). If you think you’re getting “I want to bail” vibes, just ask your partner directly if they’d like to leave. And don’t make them feel guilty if they say yes.
When we asked people what they preferred to do after hooking up at their partner’s place, the majority (59.3%) revealed a sleepover was not in the cards. Once you stay the night, who knows how weird things might get. One man revealed a strange event that turned him off: “I saw a girl (whose bed I was sleeping in) wake up briefly and take a piece of chewing gum out of her mouth and stick it to the wall of her bed.”
Are You Comfortable Now?
With just two little words, “me too,” Tarana Burke sparked a dramatic movement: Women started coming forward in droves with their sexual assault stories, and the people responsible started facing the consequences. It’s clear that women do not always feel safe, which might be why most women in our study said feeling unsafe is a legitimate reason to leave a partner’s home after having sex.
Women also expressed taking longer to feel comfortable sleeping at a lover’s home. Men reported they’d be able to cozy up in a partner’s bed after 3.1 dates, but it would take women 6.4 dates to feel comfortable sleeping at a person’s house, on average. Women would feel comfortable letting a partner stay in their home after 5.4 dates, however. If you want to increase your chances of having an adult sleepover, accept the invitation to join your female partner at her home.
Although some of our respondents spent nearly every night with their partner, most lovers in our survey spent two to three nights together each week. We found that people waited three months after starting to date, on average, before having regular sleepovers.
And we can’t blame them for giving their partner space for the first few months. One woman in our survey said, “[My date’s] girlfriend showed up while he was passed out drunk, and I was beside him in bed, naked. I did not know he had a girlfriend.” Three months is probably enough time to weed out any secret girlfriends.
It’s Not You, It’s Your Bed
Opening yourself up to someone new is always a little nerve-wracking, so it’s OK to push a sleepover off until the third date – or the third month of dating. Our findings go against popular culture’s assumption that if a lover doesn’t stay the night, then the sex was bad. Partners part after sex for a number of reasons, and the desire to sleep in their own bed is a top priority.
If you find yourself choosing a lover’s bed over your own, but more for comfort than the company, you may need a new mattress at your place. Visit TheSleepJudge.com and discover our expertly reviewed and tested sleep products. Your partner may know the right moves to help you orgasm, but we know which mattresses and pillows will give you the best sleep afterward.
We surveyed a total of 1,079 adults for this study, using two separate surveys. One survey was specifically for single adults who were actively dating at the time of the survey, and we had 779 participants. The other survey was for adults in relationships, and we had 310 participants. Approximately half lived with their partners, and half lived separately from their partners.
In the single people survey, 52.9% were men, 46.6% were women, and 0.5% were nonbinary. 22.5% were LGBTQ, and 77.5% were straight.
In the survey for people in relationships, 51.9% were women, and 48.1% were men. 82.9% were straight, and 17.1% were LGBTQ.
The average age of single participants was 33.2, and the average age for people in relationships was 33.5.
For a majority of the single people’s survey, participants were asked to think about the most recent time in which they had sexual contact with someone they were dating or were acquainted with either in their own home or the other person’s home. We referred to this sexual contact as a “hookup,” which is the widely used colloquial term.
This was an internet-based survey; therefore, participation was limited to those with internet and computer access. The survey was also based solely on self-reported data, which could be influenced by telescoping, minimization, and other factors. This is based on means alone, and the data weren’t weighted or statistically tested.
Fair Use Statement
Adult sleepovers are a lot of fun, but if someone passes one up after a hookup, it’s not always bad news. The next time someone says only bad sex leads to a swift exit, show them our research. We encourage the dissemination of our findings for any noncommercial reuse. All we ask is that you link back to this page so that those you share with can review the methodology and access the complete study.