No, Beer Drinkers Probably Aren’t Any More Likely to Have Sex on the First Date
Back in 2011, online dating platform OkCupid published a set of stats on the site’s blog intended to give readers a fluffy, pseudo-scientific “code” by which to read their potential partners.
Most of the findings were forgettable — for example, the idea that if a person is chill about grammar, they’re probably religious never made it very far in the broader 2010s sex and relationships discourse. But one slice of OkCupid’s user-culled data stuck, spawning one of the most pervasive dating myths of the decade. According to OkCupid’s findings, both men and women, gay or straight, are 60 percent more likely to have sex on the first date if they like the taste of beer.
This dating factoid captured the attention of the early 2010s internet, and was subsequently referenced in countless other articles as fact. However, while OkCupid’s original findings reported that the stat applied to both men and women, selective memory plus gender stereotypes meant the fact was most often brought up in the context of female daters/beer drinkers, including in an early version of an oft-recirculated YourTango article first published five years ago called “5 Things You Should Know Before Loving A Lady Who Drinks Beer.” (One of the things you should know, according to the original version of the article, is that a woman who likes beer is “DTF.”)
Naturally, such a claim is bound to attract some skepticism. In a recent deep-dive, Vice unpacked the nearly decade-old theory, finding, unsurprisingly, that there’s probably little truth to it.
For one thing, it’s important to make it clear that the OkCupid finding never had anything to do with how drinking beer, as opposed to other alcohols, would affect your post-date decision making. In other words, while drinking alcohol of any kind may make you more likely to go home with someone on any date (duh), the OkCupid theory wasn’t actually about drinking alcohol at all, but rather had to do with a correlation between alcohol preference and self-reported first date behavior. So while people who said they were more likely to have sex on the first date were also more likely to say they liked the taste of beer, the study never claimed any direct cause and effect relationship between drinking beer on a date and having sex after that date.
Moreover, as data scientist Nick Adams told Vice, there are a number of oft-ignored factors to keep in mind when analyzing results from this kind of data, including causation versus correlation, a possible “omitted variable,” and a tendency to “ignore the baseline.”
Ultimately, this little piece of 2010s dating trivia is more or less just a fluffy factoid born out of some tenuous data correlations. It’s relatively harmless, but far from scientific fact. In conclusion, plying your date with beer instead of wine will not increase their willingness to go home with you, and if you want to know how someone really feels about sex on the first date, maybe just, I don’t know, ask them?
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