Communication, dating and intimacy at a time of social distancing.
By: Aleksandra Ponomareva
Photo: Dainis Graveris / Unsplash)
COVID-19 brought us to the new and extremely different life order, where we’re still communicating, working, and are even allowed to go outside (god bless Norway), but ought to stay quarantined. Practically it means constant home staying with the occasional time outside. It might be a difficult challenge for people in relationships but it affects those who don’t have a stable partner to a much greater extent. We’re still searching for the perfect match in social networks but the process and communication has changed dramatically.
ONS (One Night Stands) is a bold part of western and, particularly, Norwegian culture. Typical places to have connections are clubs, bars, and home parties. Covid-19 shut down pretty much everything and left only online spots to meet and get to know each other. Incidentally, this seemed to work fairly well and was very popular, and, finally, resulted in an oasis for fun-starving souls.
Additionally, many sex-coaches and relationship advisors usually love to give such pieces of advice as: “If the relationship works as a routine process and you don’t feel passion anymore, then it’s worth trying to create a ‘secret’ chat where you’ll send hot pictures, naughty messages and secret dreams to each other. It will help you to reignite the flame again and get back the joy of being together with your partner.”
I took this idea as a staring point. Among additional benefits is safety for your sexual health, as well as free access and respect to your biorhythms. I decided to put on an experiment with dating apps. My hypothesis was that if we’re not allowed to communicate as before, it would be easier to have more dialogues online that, maybe, will turn into something in the future. So I got a plan to match with handsome guys and start the adult talk.
I started with commonly known and extremely popular Tinder. At the beginning, it was more or less fine from the match perspective. Important to note, I put a 23-30 year age range for my purposes.
After a couple weeks of quarantine, Tinder allowed you to change your location for free. A lot of people across the globe definitely used the opportunity, which made the searching process very messy; usually full of 23-25 year old guys with questionable intentions and creepy vibes. Boring, predictable, and the most important – useless, since initially I had in mind to extend my online fun. Other sources such as Bumble were not as bad – but it has less active users, which results in fewer matches.
Overall reply rate was lower than usual. Sooner or later, I got a couple of nice guys who seemed handsome, open-minded and quite curious. My usual politeness and ability to conduct meaningless discussion changed to sincere interest with some; with others it was still conversation about mood and interests at the beginning.
Regrettably, I would say, it was maybe the most boring experience in my life. First bad news was that some stopped answering right in the middle of a conversation after my reply to their questions. Others stopped texting when I certainly showed interest to romance and sex, even though in their profiles they mentioned fun and “something casual.” I got confused and wondered if they suddenly started not liking my pictures right in a middle of the response. After this crazy selection I finally had two boys with whom I started my “secret” chat. I expected something interesting and fresh, at least. Something that I can learn or maybe a way to get new dreams and fantasies. Well, alas, I was disappointed. No fantasy, imagination or particular dreams.
Finally, even these romantic-boring talks finished after one or two days. People tend to prefer ONS even online, which is a crazy and ridiculous situation. Certainly, it might require more trust or know each other but we have time and features for it. Then what is the problem? My findings are supported by PornHub statistics worldwide and Norway, specifically. For Match, traffic increased per 5% daily compared to the previous year. While the most popular requests with “Corona” is 20% more than average in the world.
Probably, it’s more interesting to jerk off in front of a screen than to connect with a real person. To be honest, I started to read fairytales instead and dream of meeting the right man who can talk about any matter and have enough fantasy and experience to have good sex – even if it is on different ends of a digital screen.