Between March 5th and 10th, OkCupid reported a 7% increase in new sent messages and its reported that ten out of the top 100 apps on the iTunes store were dating apps.
In a time of enforced social distancing, worldwide, dating apps have seem to present a solution to how romantic intimacy and connection can exist without physical contact.
Dating apps continue to serve public service announcements in-app, as well as encouraging people to use their chat and video functionalities to continue exploring potential relationships. Also people are changing their interaction patterns in dating apps, or dating app discussions are becoming ‘corona-centric.’
According to an article by Mother Jones, Tinder has seen a 15% increase in users, second to Bumble, which has seen a 21% increase. And in harder-hit countries, such as Spain and Italy, the increase in the use of these apps was as high as 25%.
The companies are also using this time to market, such as Bumble’s “Get Together While Staying Apart.”
Even Tinder made its Passport feature free for users until the end of April, which allows all users to swipe on people from around the world.
Normally, this is a premium feature, but Tinder recognizes how hard it is to connect with people in the same neighbourhood right now, so they have given this temporary gift to all its users.
While many dating apps already had video-chat functionalities, some have tweaked the interface to make it more relevant to the current climate, re-branding video-chats as “virtual dates”.
A notice about sex and coronavirus from the New York City Department of Health went viral last weekend. It included the statement “You are your safest sex partner”.
Simultaneously, there’s a steady rise in sex toy sales: sales are up 13% in the UK, 71% in Italy, and a whopping 135% in Canada. Australian sex toy brand Vush is reporting their sales are up 350%.
Connection is sought after in times of uncertainty, risk and crisis. However, for many, COVID-19 makes the navigation of these human intimacies certainly difficult and may historical refigure human understanding of romance, intimacy and sex.