There's no denying that the last several months, defined by unprecedented time at home, has not only changed the way we work but the way we date. New research has shown that COVID-19, and the government restrictions that have played out over the last several months, has changed the dating game of single Aussies forever, with relationship priorities seeing a "seismic shift", according to new research.
The Bumble Intimacy in a Pandemic Report revealed that one in three single Australians have changed what they want from a partner as a result of the ongoing pandemic, with more than half wanting to "take it slower" and "seek more meaningful connections", with a similar amount also admitting to wanting a long-term relationship.
Bumble's own data support such findings, with the app's 'dating intentions' profile badge showing that the majority of users are looking for a relationship.
It's also people's attitudes and approach to sexual intimacy that has dramatically changed, per the report findings. The pandemic has resulted in new expectations around honesty and openness when it comes to a potential partners' physical health, but has also caused an increase in anxiety for users around navigating physical intimacy in the age of COVID-19.
As such, sexual activity has moved into the virtual space with 33 per cent of single Australians exploring phone intimacy during the pandemic.
Chantelle Otten, sexologist and relationship expert says there is a silver lining to some of the challenges we have faced this year.
“If COVID-19 has provided us with one good thing, it’s exploring the many facets of intimacy with others and yourself in the comfort of your own space. A lot of my clients believe intimacy is just physical, but it’s also creating an intimate connection with someone through communication," says Otten. “Virtual dating has become our new normal in many cases, and it’s great to see people are embracing and benefiting from it. Bumble’s video call feature in the app is a fantastic way to actually chemistry check, progress your conversation and ensure you feel comfortable if you aren’t ready to take the relationship IRL yet."
Singles also say that the virtual dating experience has had a positive effect on them, with almost two-thirds of single Aussie virtual daters saying it has boosted their confidence, with those aged 18-24 the most likely to say this is the case.
Lucille McCart, Associate Director, APAC, PR + Comms, adds that the pandemic has brought many new challenges to Australians, particularly those who are looking for love or who live away from their partner.
“When lockdown restrictions were announced, it essentially flipped dating on its head and we quickly saw Bumble users shift to creating more meaningful connections online rather than in person," says McCart. “What is really interesting is that the shift to virtual dating has seen singles' confidence grow, as many feel it has taken away some of the traditional dating pressures.”
“In 2020, a year of unprecedented social change, it’s hopeful to see Australians strengthening virtual connections. We want our Bumble community to take their newfound confidence and use it in their IRL dates as restrictions ease for Australians once again.”
The Bumble Intimacy in a Pandemic Report was conducted by Lonergan and spoke to 1,065 single Australians aged 18-50. The fieldwork was conducted between October 8 and 21, 2020.