The 2010s revolutionised how we date and have sex. Grindr came out in 2009 and three years later, Tinder followed suit. You’d think with the ease of casual hookups, millennials would be having more sex than ever before, but a 2016 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that more than twice as many millennials born in the 1990s (15%) have no sexual partners compared to Gen Xers born in the 1960s (6%).
With dating apps, we’re struck with the paradox of choice. We have more options than ever before to meet, date, and have sex with people—yet having so many options might actually hinder our ability to find “the one.” We can’t help but think there’s someone better out there, so we ghost (or breadcrumb or fizz) and move on to the next victim.
Still, the 2010s were also great for sex and dating. The sex-positive movement exploded over the past decade, and there are more products and toys to help you have more satisfying sex than ever before. With that, we’re now looking at the 2020s–and more specifically, the six dating trends set to hit relationships this year, according to Bumble.
1. Open Casting
It’s time to do away with the tall, dark, and handsome requirements as the narrow search for our physical ‘type’ is not serving us. The opposite of type-casting, open casting refers to how 1 in 3 (38%) of people are now more open to who they consider dating beyond their ‘type’ – this is even more prevalent in South Africa at 42% – and 35% of us are placing less emphasis on dating people that others ‘expect’ them to. What are we looking for? The overwhelming majority of people (63%) are now more focused on emotional maturity than physical requirements.
With the return of office culture and busy social schedules, the majority of people are feeling overwhelmed right now. This has forced us all to prioritise our boundaries and more than half (52%) have established more limits over the last year. This includes being more explicit about our emotional needs and boundaries (63%), being more thoughtful and intentional about how we put ourselves out there (59%), and not overcommitting socially (53%).
3. Love-life Balance
There has been a shift in the way we think about, and value, our work and our partner’s work. Gone are those days when our job titles and demanding workdays are seen as a status symbols with a half of the people prioritising work/life balance (49%). When it comes to their partner, more than half of people care more about their work/life balance than their career status (54%). Over the past year, more than half of people (52%) are actively creating more space for breaks and rest and more than 1 in 10 (13%) will no longer date someone who has a very demanding job.
Looks like we’re after an eat, date, love moment with 1 in 3 (33%) people on Bumble saying that they are now more open to travel and relationships with people who are not in their current city. Post-pandemic WFH flexibility means that 1 in 8 (14%) of us have explored the idea of being a ‘digital nomad’, opening up how we think about who and where we date. In fact, nearly 10% of people on Bumble in Australia actually find it easier to date in another country.
5. Modern Masculinity
Conversations about gender norms and expectations have been front and centre. Over the last year, 3 in 4 (74%) of men say they have examined their behaviour more than ever and have a clearer understanding of ‘toxic masculinity’ and what is not acceptable. More than half of men on Bumble (52%) are actively challenging stereotypes that suggest that men should not show emotions, for fear of appearing weak. 1 in 3 (38%) now speak more openly about their feelings with their male friends, and a half (49%) of men agree that breaking gender roles in dating and relationships is beneficial for them too – this is even more prevalent in South Africa, where 59% of men on Bumble agree.
6. Dating Renaissance
Much like a well-known Queen Bey, many of us are having a renaissance with 1 in 3 (39%) of people on Bumble having ended a marriage or serious relationship in the last two years – this is even more prevalent in South Africa at 42%. These people are now jumping into their second chapter with 1 in 3 (36%) using dating apps for the first time, learning to navigate new dating language and codes.
*Words: Nikolina Ilic
*This article was originally published by Men’s Health Australia