No money, no honey? Pure reveals the truth

No money, no honey? Pure reveals the truth

We’ve all heard the phrase: get paid, get laid. And whether you’d personally use such crude wording, there’s no escaping that many of us regard our personal finances as closely linked to our romantic and sexual pursuits.

But is there any truth behind the stereotype that more money results in more action? To find out, the sex-positive dating app Pure quizzed 2,000 Americans about money, sex, and everything in between. Here’s what they told us.

Key takeaways

  • Earning more money might not always mean regular sex. But it certainly reduces the chances of having to go without.
  • Low earners are much more likely than medium or high earners to say that their financial situation is affecting their sex life.
  • Most of us feel more attractive (and keener to have sex) when we’re feeling financially stable. Being broke is a passion killer.
  • Lower-earning men are less likely to pay for dinner. But women still expect them to do so.
  • Around 1 in 5 of us has been distracted by money worries during sex.

The big question: are the rich having more sex?

There’s no getting away from it: most of us spend a non-negligible part of our life thinking about sex – not to mention actually doing it. But how many of us are actually getting it?

Our survey asked our respondents two linked questions: how often are you having sex and how much money do you earn? That way, we could work out if there was any link between the two.

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As the chart shows, there wasn’t any stark correlation between earnings action. But there were some interesting patterns that can be observed. For example:

  • Lower earners were more likely to be sex-starved than average, but were also more likely to be getting it regularly.
  • Middle earners (i.e. those getting between $50,000 and $100,000) were typically the most balanced across the sex frequency brackets.
  • Higher earners are much less likely to be sex-starved. But they aren’t necessarily getting it super often either. 

Looking across the income brackets, then, it would suggest that the share of people not getting any sex begins to drop off as people boost their income. But as for getting sex more regularly? The correlation is less clear.

Sex and money: what do Americans think?

Whatever the truth about money and sex, our study confirmed one thing: most Americans certainly believe there is a correlation.

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Indeed 52% of those earning less than $20,000, and 59% of those earning less than $30,000, said that their financial status was stopping them from enjoying more action.

But could they give us specific examples of how being strapped for cash was holding them back in the bedroom?

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Overall, 58% of the lowest earners said they had missed out on sex in the past year as they couldn’t afford to go on a date, with the numbers declining steadily across the different income brackets.

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Likewise, 28% of the lowest earners, and 24% of the second lowest income group, said they had missed out on sex for a more simple reason: that they couldn’t afford contraception.

The bottom line: how our finances affect our sex lives

Being broke can certainly make it difficult to go on dates. But can it dampen our passion between the sheets too?

When asked whether money troubles dented their sex drive, the majority of low and medium-earners agreed that it did.

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On the whole 59% of those making less than $20,000 said they’d experienced losing interest in sex due to financial difficulties, as did 50% of those earning between $20,000 and $50,000.

By contrast, just 1 in 3 of those in the highest income bracket (over $150,000) recalled this happening to them. 

Our study also showed a deep correlation between self-worth and personal finances, suggesting that money troubles just make us feel less sexy.

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Across every income bracket, at least 4 in 5 respondents agreed that being financially stable made them feel more attractive. Interestingly, though, low earners were less likely to say this.

Were people feeling the strain of their financial difficulties when it came to the act itself? It turns out 28% of low earners reported thinking about their money troubles whilst in bed, with just over half of those saying it happened often.

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By contrast, 14% of middle earners said they had thought about money during sex at least once, but only 2% said it happened often. For the highest earners, the numbers were almost identical: at 15% and 2%.

Fake it until you make it: should daters exaggerate their wealth?

Our respondents said they felt more confident when they were feeling flush. But did they also apply the same standards when judging others?

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Across the board, a sizable number of respondents admitted that they had found someone attractive because of their financial status. However, high earners were significantly less likely to say this.

Could it be that those who already earn a lot of money are less worried about finding a partner who brings more to the table? Our study would suggest that could be the case.

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If having more money made them more attractive, had our respondents ever considered telling the occasional white lie to exaggerate their finances? It turned out that plenty had at least considered it.

As you might expect, it was lower earners who were more likely to admit that they had pretended to be better off in order to impress a potential date.

More money, more honey? The truth about money and dating

Do our finances change the way we behave on dates? According to our study, that certainly seems to be the case.

When we asked male respondents whether they always paid for drinks and dinner on dates, the pattern was clear: higher earners were much more likely to do so.

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Only 3% and 6% of the top two income brackets expressed a preference for going 50/50 on dates, compared to 26% and 9% in the lowest two brackets.

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Were men prepared to pay up even if they weren’t attracted to their date? Again, higher earners were much more generous, with 92% saying they’d still pick up the tab in such a situation.

Did paying for dinner mean they expected their date to ‘put out’ at the end of the night? Our study suggests that the old stereotype may have endured for a reason…

In several income brackets, around 50% of men said they would expect sex if they had picked up the tab. Interestingly, though, it was middle earners who were the least likely to say that.

And how about the women? Did they judge dates for being stingy with their money? Across the board, female respondents tended to agree that tight dates were a big turn-off.

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Why did our women expect men to be willing to pay their way on dates? Regardless of their income group, female respondents tended to have a clear answer: it just shows they care.

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Similarly, a sizable contingent of women said they found it sexy when a man paid for them: with roughly 1 in 3 agreeing with the statement.

And were women prepared to go on a date just for the free drinks and dinner? You might think that only low-earners would admit to such behaviour, but our survey revealed something more interesting.

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In fact, 43% of the highest-earning women admitted that they had at least considered going on a date just for the pleasure of a free night out. So the picture is more complicated than you might think!

Team Pure


When Gotham sleeps, Pure awakens

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