Going on a First Date? Here Are the Questions to Ask

OkCupid finds the most revealing questions to ask on a date.

February 9, 2011, 11:03 AM

Feb. 9, 2011— -- Politics. Piety. Putting out. There are so many things you'd like to know on a first date but can't come right out and ask.

To help couples navigate those first date delicacies, the dating website OkCupid mined its database to uncover the most revealing questions.

Your budding romance might be over in a matter of minutes if you straight up ask if he has sex on the first date. But according to OkCupid, asking whether he likes the taste of beer might get you the answer to that question.

To figure out which seemingly innocuous questions correlate with the most revealing ones, OkCupid looked at its database of millions of answers to the more than 275,000 match questions it asks users answer when they first join the service.

The site flagged the questions that users ranked as the least significant (figuring those would be the least intrusive ones to ask on a first date) and then determined how they correlate with the more soul-searching, personal questions.

The site found that whether someone likes the taste of beer is the best predictor of if he or she will have sex on the first date.

"No matter their gender or orientation, beer-lovers are 60 percent more likely to be OK with sleeping with someone they've just met," OkCupid said in its blog post on the topic.

For women, OkCupid said the beer question was the only one with a meaningful correlation to first-date sex, but for men they found a few other key questions.

Asking, "In a certain light, wouldn't nuclear war be exciting?" implied an 83 percent chance of first-date sex.

Two other questions -- "Could you imagine yourself killing someone?" and "Assuming you were in the position to do so, would you launch nuclear weapons under any circumstances?" -- both implied an 82 percent chance of sex on the first date.

Sam Yagan, OkCupid's co-founder and CEO, told ABCNews.com that the trick to the project was to find "the low-stress question you can ask that reveals a sort of more intimate question that you can't ask on a first date."

Which Questions Indicate Long-Term Success for Couples?

Relationship experts say that on a first date, it's not necessarily the content of a conversation that matters but the chemistry generated by the couple.

"The chemistry happens more often in your brain than in your language," said Dorree Lynn, a psychologist and author of "Sex for Grownups." "You're either attracted or you're not attracted."

And you might learn more about a potential romantic partner by observing and letting conversation flow than by asking pre-set questions.

"Being a good listener tells you more about a first date than being a good talker because you're trying to find out the information to see if this person is worth going out with again," she said.

OkCupid also looked beyond a first-date romp in the sack to the questions that could predict a relationship's long-term success.

Yagan said that everyday a few hundred of the site's roughly 2 million active users delete their accounts, saying that they met someone on the site. When the departing users tell OkCupid who they ultimately found a relationship with, the site looks at how both users answered the match questions to see which ones might indicate long-term potential.

"For each couple, we looked through the questions and said, 'let's see which questions are predictive of success,' but not just any question," said Yagan. "Which are the questions that people are rating as very, very unimportant but are still predictive of ultimate success?"

Among the questions found to be most first-date appropriate, OkCupid said the following three were the ones couples most often agreed upon by users who ended up in relationships:

Do you like horror movies?

Have you ever traveled around another country alone?

Wouldn't it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat?

If you want to know if you and your date are on the same page politically, OkCupid recommends asking, "Do you prefer the people in your life to be simple or complex?"

Those who choose complexity are twice as likely to lean conservative, those who opt for simplicity are twice as likely to lean liberal, the site said.

Interested in your date's religiosity? Ask about grammar.

Tolerance of spelling and grammar mistakes correlated with being at least moderately religious, according to the site's analysis.

OkCupid's findings may not ring true for all couples -- the site has said that though it has members across the country, it skews slightly toward urban areas -- and, obviously, every first date is different.

But, if you're willing to have a coded conversation, the analysis suggests that asking simple questions might help you get the deeper answers you really want.

"It's this whole concept that the first date can be super-informative without being awkward," said Yagan. "You can have a whole conversation about do you like simple things or complex things and that could be a really interesting conversation and only you know in your head that you just asked a predictive question."

Ultimately, while it's nice to have a checklist of the qualities you're looking for in a partner, Lynn said that part of romance is being open to the unexpected.

"The trick is to have some idea of who interests you but be ready for a surprise," she said.

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