As our lives have been turned upside down by social distancing, the dating industry has also been transformed in unthinkable ways. We explore how to find love and satisfy your urges during the COVID-19 crisis.
While countries began to close borders and impose restrictions on seeing anyone outside of your household, people in the dating world have been limited to courting their suitors in the virtual world.
Against the odds, those looking for love are taking digital dating to the next level during the COVID-19 pandemic. The dating app Tinder received over 3 billion swipes on a recent Sunday, according to figures published in a recent press release. That’s the most it has ever recorded in its eight year history.
Physical borders seem to be increasingly meaningless while social distancing, as Tinder has made its paid-for feature “Tinder Passport” free during April 2020. It allows users to match with people all over the world. Grindr also opened up its similar feature to all members for a limited time.
Tinder Passport: Now free for everyone through April 30th with the latest version of the Tinder app. Because social distancing doesn’t have to mean disconnecting. pic.twitter.com/ibyEpkwcFL
— Tinder (@Tinder) March 31, 2020
Meanwhile, Bumble, the app where women make the first move, is encouraging people to embrace their built-in video and voice calling feature. According to the app, it has seen a 21% increase in video calls in April thus far. Hinge, the app “designed to be deleted” has also launched a new “dating from home” feature, which notifies matches when they are both online to video chat or voice call.
In lieu of arranging physical dates, many apps and bloggers are sharing ideas for staying romantically connected even while at a distance. HER, an app for lesbian, queer, bisexual and women and non-binary people, has seen a heavy spike in usage.
“HER runs a lot of in-person events which we’ve cancelled”, app founder, Robyn Exton told Forbes. “But we are running a whole series of online events in the app this week which have had an amazing response.”
In the modern age technology has made creating shared experiences online easier than ever with video calls, screen sharing and online gaming. What was once reserved for those with friends across the world or anyone in a long distance relationship has now become the new normal for anyone who doesn’t live with their significant others.
“We won’t tell you these things are the same as sitting within arm’s distance of one another”, Tinder says on its social distancing Q&A. “But they can help build chemistry and keep a connection until you are able to meet IRL.”
Among the masses of dating idea videos on YouTube, Hannah Witton suggests various ways that couples can connect. Those include playing online games like Jackbox or Portal 2 while simultaneously talking via audio, and using plugins like Netflix Party, which allows concurrent streaming across multiple devices. Hannah also highlights how sexually connecting over Skype, text or phone can satisfy certain desires between consenting adults.
Some dating app users have shared messages on social media from other app users encouraging them to meet in person, despite the social distancing restrictions being enforced in many countries. Many apps have been quick to release statements on the importance of social distancing during the pandemic.
“The best way to slow the spread of coronavirus and protect your community is to stay home and avoid meeting up in-person”, Grindr said in a recent Twitter post. “Staying safe at home can still be sexy. You are your own best sex partner, so take some time to practice self-care.”
To combat the desires of those who may consider flouting the government guidance, Pornhub is now offering its premium membership to users worldwide for 30 days during the pandemic.
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