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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Black

Modern love on lockdown

* Puts on Carrie Bradshaw’s sex in the city voice over voice * As I sat there, with impossibly made up hair and an artistically disheveled WFH vibe, I couldn’t help but wonder, did lockdown mean that Valentine’s day was cancelled?? Thankfully, NOT! Have no fear little lovebirds of London. We’ve found out how the world is doing with love on lockdown, and the truth is not that bad.

If you’re stress-ordering funny sex toys and lingerie from Amazon but still don’t know what to do to celebrate Valentine's [...] go low-key.

Despite the pandemic the majority of lovers (79%) will be together. Although a saddening 21% will not get to see their Valentine.

We found that even those who are single have found a reason to celebrate, and 6% will be treatin’ themselves real good and making a day of it with their friends. We’re in our third lockdown, we need every excuse there is to dress up, feel good and embrace being YOUNG and being ALIVE. Can I get an AMEN over here.

If Valentine’s day has suddenly ARRIVED and you’re stress-ordering funny sex toys and lingerie from Amazon but still don’t know what to do to celebrate on the day itself, the majority of respondents were up for keeping it low-key, a movie night with takeout was ranked the ideal way to spend Valentine’s. Only 42% are up for braving the cold for a camping trip in the garden, which frankly, considering the current temperatures and potential for (not super sexy) hypothermia is fair enough.

At the moment, most people are feeling the LOVE:

  • 61% of respondents feel that Valentine’s day is sweet as opposed to commercial.

The normal trappings of Valentine’s Day: an expensive dinner/ hotel room / excessive presents is a little less do-able in the current world we find ourselves in. Small, authentic gestures often mean most and lockdown could give people the opportunity to get creative, so go for sweet and meaningful instead of hopping on that capitalist merry go round this year.

  • Even though there’s a lot to miss during lockdown, one-night stands ain’t one of ‘em, with only 7% of people claiming to.

A pretty damning statistic for any players out there….! Most respondents are missing new people and partying the most. For those who are single, they’re split 50/50 on whether or not it’s a concern of theirs. Of that group 16% are more likely to be using dating apps than any other demographic, when we cross-filtered Q.5 and Q6.

Diversity, Dating & Self-esteem

This brings us nicely onto the other Love on Lockdown survey for this week (a sneaky segue hello there). The majority of people say that dating apps don’t make them feel good (68%). It’s a pretty superficial platform, you’re basing attraction off purely physical traits, and maybe a couple semi witty one liners, but it’s bound to make you feel a little like a piece of meat rotating on a rotisserie chicken.

Despite widespread reporting on BIPOC women in particular becoming victims of fetishisation or casual racism on dating apps, we found that BIPOC people are in fact slightly more likely (7%) to get a self-esteem boost than white people from dating apps. We gained this insight by cross filtering question 6, with question 4. However, when we delved deeper into this analysis, we uncovered that 20% of BIPOC also say they have been victims of sexual racism on apps. This is something, which many startups are trying to combat, any time you sign up to an app you have to agree to their terms of use (no abusive / racist / homophobic language etc.) but it’s still a widespread issue.

  • People who have a ‘type’ are more likely to want to filter matches by physical traits (60%).

We filtered and compared Q3, by Q2 here. Grindr came under fire last year for maintaining an ethnicity filter on their service. ‘Preference’ acting as a smoke screen for racism here. The filter has still been removed, but individual abusive messages are difficult to regulate cross platform.

Grindr came under fire last year for maintaining an ethnicity filter on their service. ‘Preference’ acting as a smoke screen for racism here.

Dating apps are powerful microcosms, with teams of people drawing up an analysis of your favourite kinds of matches (making notes of your preferences for peoples’ job / age/ height/ tone of responses etc.), and enabling them to spit out your ‘most likely matches’.

When we filter and compared Q7 by Q5 we could see that people who view dating apps as a self esteem booster are 10% more likely to think their profile resembles them.

There’s a terrifying Instagram profile called “siblings or dating”, which plays into this idea in which pairings of people submit images and ask the followers to judge whether they’re in a relationship or siblings, it’s preetty creepy. The idea that people are attracted to what is familiar or similar is openly attested but still problematic when it comes to filtering preferences by physical trait.

This week, we uncovered the complicated world of modern love in the midst of lockdown. Encouraging, life affirming data about couples embracing the confines of lockdown to celebrate a more intimate Valentine’s coupled with the complexity inherent in racism and the impact on mental health of dating apps. These two surveys painted a vivid picture of the current moment, how Gen-Z are feeling approaching Valentine’s Day, how they feel about love and most importantly, themselves. Now to finish off, remember RuPaul’s wise words this V Day “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?!” Can I get an AMEN.

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