Picking up and hooking up in 2020
Regardless of the pandemic, dating can be awkward. How soon can we text after a date? Do we wait for them to make the first move? Who should pay for the bill?
These days, deciding to date comes with a host of other questions like, “what are your social distancing practices?” The importance of practicing safe sex extends beyond the risk of STIs, STDs, and untimely reproduction, we now have to protect ourselves against the spread of COVID-19.
With bars closed, social distancing rules in place, and masks on, meeting a potential suitor can feel daunting. The ease of heading out in our sexiest outfit and brushing past our crush is no longer an option. Thankfully, applications like Tinder and Bumble have been hosting digital hookups since the early 2010s. According to BBC, in the UK alone, daily conversations between Tinder users rose by 12% between mid-February and the end of March. In the age of isolation, we have somehow managed to connect more than ever. Take this as a quick reminder that we are all feeling the effects of seclusion; a little bravery can go a long way. We suggest taking the chance and reaching out to a crush for a digital happy hour.
High on the list of the social activities that we took for granted pre-pandemic, is dating. Millions of us are hesitant to extend a hand or kiss a cheek, in fear of dire consequences. In addition, the economic impact of lockdown means people have fewer funds to spare on luxuries like courtships. Instead, people have gotten creative, doing things like having social distanced brunch dates in the park, or meeting in the local grocery; a food shop date while maintaining a six feet gap.
Tinder’s CEO, Elie Seidman said that the app is looking to rebrand itself in order to address it’s users’ new dating needs; “making Tinder less of a place to organize “hook-ups” offline and more of a place to hang out online”. Afterall “Your digital life is as important as your social life in the physical world.” We suggest sharing digital spaces to play games like Heads Up on Houseparty or taking a dance class together on Formation studio’s online platform.
When it comes to safe sex, communication has always been integral. These days even a hug and a kiss put us at risk of spreading a nasty virus. “When is the last time you’ve had your nasal cavity swabbed?” doesn’t just roll off the tongue, does it? It can be confusing and frustrating knowing where to set boundaries when getting close to someone new. Here are a few tips provided by the NHS:
- Avoid kissing, as the virus is spread through saliva. NHS goes on further to state that the virus has been found in semen and fecal matter.
- Avoid face to face positions during sex activities. We thought we would pass on providing an explicit diagram.
- Wear a face-covering during sexual activities – although this may seem like a scene out of a sci-fi film, wearing masks will drastically reduce the risk of spreading this potentially deadly disease.
- As always stay isolated if you have any symptoms. This can mean anything from a sore throat to a dry cough, to a fever.
As with any form of intimacy, consent is paramount. If someone is pressuring us to engage in unsafe practices, during COVID-19 or otherwise, we are fully within our rights to say “No”.