Is Therapy Now America's Biggest Turn-on?
Pure surveyed 1,000 Americans on their feelings toward the topic of mental health on a first date. Our advice? Ditch the awkward icebreakers. Name-dropping your therapist might just be the best way to get the conversation going.
When meeting someone new, it can be tempting to try and portray ourselves as perfect. But you’re probably not doing yourself any favors. Most people aren’t looking for perfection but rather authenticity, confidence, and empathy. A little bit of emotional vulnerability can be quite the aphrodisiac too. Just got off the phone with your therapist? That’s hot.
Where mental health was once taboo, society today is much more accepting. We all have our struggles, and we aren’t afraid to air them. In fact, opening up to your match could be your ticket to a second date (and maybe even some… “dessert”).
- Mental health is no longer viewed as a red flag in America’s dating scene, with almost three-quarters now comfortable discussing mental well-being and therapy on a first date.
- Americans are more likely to engage with those who mention therapy on their dating profile, with 92% feeling they make for a better date.
- However, therapy sessions don’t always translate into better dating etiquette, with daters divided on whether those in therapy display fewer unusual or unpleasant behaviors.
Forget small talk on a first date — Mental health is the new language of love
Long-standing stigmas around mental health can make it difficult to share with someone new. You spend so much time leading up to your date fretting about how they might respond if you open up. Then, when the time comes, your mind gets the best of you, and you keep it to yourself.
If the first date doesn’t feel like the right time, that’s perfectly fine — but you’re likely worrying about nothing. In fact, the therapy talk should be one of the last things giving you pre-date jitters, given that 70% of Americans are now perfectly comfortable discussing mental well-being with a new date.
Mental health simply isn’t the red flag that many saw it as in the past. While mention of therapy on a first date still leaves 4% wishing they had swiped left, half of Americans now find it a turn-on.
That’s not to say that you should trauma dump on your date the second they sit down, but there’s no harm done if it happens to come up in conversation. Attending therapy is a positive sign that somebody is self-aware, seeking self-improvement, and open to working through life’s problems — All great qualities to look for in a partner.
Swipe right for vulnerability: The growing demand for therapy in America’s dating scene
Your profile is full of photos that portray you in your best light. It mentions your exciting hobbies, your well-paid job, and the fact you’re a pet parent to the sweetest French Bulldog in the dating scene. Yet you’re hardly getting any interest. So what’s missing? Therapy.
Today, 53% of Americans are more likely to engage with somebody who mentions they have been to therapy in their dating app profile.
Chances are, being open about your struggles won’t just earn you a match. It could earn you a date too, with 92% of Americans preferring to meet up with people who have attended therapy in the past.
Last year, 23% of US adults visited a psychologist, therapist or psychiatrist. That’s a sharp increase from just 13% two decades ago. Evidently, more people are recognizing the importance of taking care of their mental health and the benefits of therapy. Our mental well-being is clearly important to us, so it’s no surprise that a vast majority are seeking somebody who shares this sentiment.
The dater’s debate: Is there a link between therapy and proper dating etiquette?
For many, the urge to date someone who has been in therapy is a result of their past experiences. Some 23% absolutely believe that those who have are less likely to engage in weird or unpleasant behaviors, such as ghosting. It makes perfect sense… Therapy provides us with the tools to talk through our problems and makes us more attuned to our emotions (and, subsequently, those of others).
That said, somebody having never visited a therapist isn’t a clear indication that dating them would be awful. In fact, three-quarters of Americans feel that it depends or makes no difference to a person’s dating etiquette, so if you’ve never felt the need for therapy, you’re not ready, or it’s simply not for you, your romantic prospects are probably just fine. The dating scene is full of different thoughts, feelings, and opinions — and there’s undoubtedly a perfect match out there for everyone.
Methodology: To create this study, researchers from Pure surveyed 1,000 Americans aged over 18 years old. The study includes participants of all genders, ethnicities, sexualities, and social backgrounds.