Sex and Dating During the Pandemic

The pandemic has taken a lot from us. Few aspects of our lives have been spared—that includes sex and dating. But as one of the few animals that do this stuff for fun, we’ve certainly not given up.

In October 2020, we asked 2,000 unmarried millennials and Gen Zers about their sex and dating lives during the pandemic. One in five people never blinked, they just kept their heads down and stayed in the game. We salute you. And of all people who have dated or hooked up during the pandemic, 61 percent have seen multiple people in that time.

One of the biggest wins of the pandemic season? Less bullsh*t: Seventy-nine percent of people report there’s less game-playing and people are more straightforward about what they want or don’t want.

Of course, there have been challenges. Seventy-three percent of people have at some point been separated from the person they were seeing, and 44 percent who have tried going on in-person dates are frustrated by limited options for things to do.

One of the most interesting developments is the rise of virtual dating and virtual sex. Of those we polled, 45 percent have kept everything in-person, 22 percent have gone fully virtual, and 33 percent have enjoyed a mix of both.

Not surprisingly, in-person dating hasn’t looked the same. Fifty-four percent have continued trying to meet new people in person, but with the limitations of quarantine, it’s tough. For those who have gone on dates, 70 percent have chosen to do different things than they normally would. For the first time ever, “Hey wanna walk around outside?” doesn’t sound the least bit weird.

Of those who have found themselves on unorthodox dates, 56 percent say they like the change of pace and 44 percent are anxious to get back to the old standards like getting a drink or seeing live music.

Then there’s virtual dating. While we’re certainly used to finding people on our screens, we’re not used to relationships remaining on those screens. But we’re trying.

Before the pandemic started, it was well-established that millennials and Gen Zers, on average, have less sex than their parents did at the same age. Could it get any worse than that? Apparently yes.

Seventy-three percent are slower to get intimate with people because of Covid-19 and 72 percent have felt sexually frustrated at some point during the pandemic. On the whole, young people are having sex less and masturbating more. Vibe check.

If that portrait of pandemic sex seems grim, don’t worry, virtual sex is here to the rescue! Broadly defined as any kind of sexual expression through a phone or computer, there’s no question, it’s the safest way to smash.

 

Fifty-eight percent of people who have been sexually active during the pandemic have done something virtually at some point. For three out of four of those people, it was the first time having virtual sex.

This got us wondering: Is this a temporary trend born out of necessity, or something new that’s here to stay? Will there be a “digital first base” in our future; a virtual hookup that happens before the first real one? According to our poll, 77 percent of people who hooked up virtually did so with someone they’d not had sex with in-person.

Another important question: what exactly are people doing when they have virtual sex?

Most important? Ninety-four percent of people who had virtual sex enjoyed it. In a year that’s otherwise been a completely depressing sh*tshow, you can’t argue with that.

Methodology

From October 5-7, 2020, we surveyed 2,000 unmarried Americans under the age of 35. Respondents were 54 percent male, 45 percent female, and 1 percent unspecified. Ninety-one percent of respondents identified as heterosexual and 9 percent as LGBTQ+. The average age was 29 years old.

For media inquiries, contact media@digitalthirdcoast.net.

Fair Use

Feel free to use this data and research with proper attribution linking to this study. When you do, please give credit and link to https://drinkbasic.com/.