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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

IN Community: Sex, Love And Dating During COVID

Grindr surveys 10,000 users to find out how their behaviour and expectations have changed…

By Jumol Royes

Trying to navigate sex, love and dating during the best of times is far from easy. Add a global pandemic into the mix and things get a lot more complicated, fast.

While we’re physically separated from each other and cut off from the safe spaces and hangouts where we’re accustomed to meeting up and hooking up, LGBTQ2+ folks everywhere are finding ways to stay connected and build and maintain relationships.

Grindr, the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people, recently surveyed 10,000 users in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Mexico and India to find out how their behaviour and expectations have changed when it comes to romance in the age of COVID.

Five key themes emerged: minimizing risk, chat, virtual sex, mental health and sexual health.

Minimizing risk
Experts say the best way to stop the spread of the virus is to stay home and minimize contact with others. But we all know people are still choosing to meet up for sex and dates. If you decide to go this route, there are things you can do to lower your risk. 88 per cent of those surveyed say discussing COVID safety helped them make a decision about whether or not to meet up with someone; 64 per cent say they’re more likely to try new socially distant ways of meeting up; and 31 per cent say they’ve hooked up with a mask on. And while porn is still popular during the pandemic (69 per cent say they’re watching more), 58 per cent say they’re more interested in a long-term relationship now than they were pre-pandemic.

Staying connected while social distancing is hard to do. Even though audio and video chat use has increased, texting is still the preferred mode of communication. During the pandemic, the focus seems to be on getting to know someone on a deeper level (67 percent of respondents say personality is more important than it was before the pandemic) and widening your circle (60 per cent say quarantine led them to chat with folks they otherwise wouldn’t have).

Virtual sex
If having sex IRL is off the table, virtual hookups are the next best thing. 71 per cent of those surveyed say sharing pictures and videos on the app helped them get off during the pandemic; 59 per cent say their sex drive has increased; 51 per cent say virtual hookups are sexy; and 48 per cent say they’ve hooked up virtually during the pandemic.

Mental health
Prioritizing mental health and self-care has always been important; it’s even more crucial during a pandemic. Grindr users appear to not only be concerned about taking care of themselves (86 per cent of respondents say they’re focusing on their own mental health more than ever), they’re also taking steps to be kinder and gentler with each other (83 per cent say they’ve been more supportive and understanding of others online during the pandemic).

Sexual health
We’ve all been hyper focused on COVID over the past year (understandably so), but we still have to make time to tend to our sexual health. 82 per cent of those surveyed say they’re focusing on their sexual health more than ever; 67 per cent who were taking PrEP before COVID say they’ve continued taking it; and 63 per cent plan on making up for lost time by hooking up more than usual post-pandemic.

Whatever your love or sex life looks like right now, remember to stay informed, stay safe and stay connected.

JUMOL ROYES is a Toronto-area storyteller, communications strategist and glass-half-full kinda guy. He writes about compassion, community, identity and belonging. His guilty pleasure is watching the Real Housewives. Follow him on Twitter @Jumol and on Instagram @jumolroyes.

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