Dinner and a Movie…And Sex?

[02.14.2013]

Dinner and a movie: it’s a classic combination. But on Valentine’s Day, does this romantic pairing also include sex? According to our new survey, men are nearly twice as likely as women to predict that their Valentine’s Day will include a dinner out, a romantic comedy, and sex. Meanwhile, among religious groups, the restaurant/rom-com duo is much more closely associated with sex for religiously unaffiliated Americans and minority Christians – and much less so among white evangelical Protestants.

In other words: for minority Christians and religiously unaffiliated Americans, dinner out and a romantic comedy are much more likely to be accompanied by sex (or at least the expectation of sex) than for white evangelical Protestants. And men who go out to dinner and watch a romantic comedy on Valentine’s Day are much more likely than women who do the same to expect sex to be part of their day as well. Meanwhile, women and white evangelical Protestants are much less likely to expect this romantic evening to include sex (although they are not, interestingly, more likely to go to bed early).

Part of this, of course, is that men (57%) are twenty points more likely than women (37%) to predict that they will have sex on Valentine’s Day, while religiously unaffiliated Americans are also more optimistic than other religious groups about whether they will have sex. But that’s not the whole explanation, especially for minority Christians (37%), who are much less likely than religiously unaffiliated Americans (57%) to say they will likely have sex on Valentine’s Day.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, Americans are, for the most part, on the same page. A majority (54%) say they are somewhat or very likely to go out to dinner, while nearly half (47%) predict that they will have sex, more than 4-in-10 (42%) say they will go to bed early, and one-third (33%) say they will watch a romantic comedy. But going out to dinner and watching a romantic comedy appears to carry very different connotations for some groups than for others.