Meeting potential partners is hard. There are so many false starts and dating apps especially can trap you in endless talking stages, mediocre first dates and ghosting.
It’s unsurprising then that we can get dating burnout.
The numbers don’t lie: two in ten people say it is harder to find a sexual partner post-lockdown.
Many of us turn to dating apps for help although we are still favoring the old-fashioned way of meeting people: through friends of friends.
Dating apps haven’t killed the ease of meeting people IRL, for obvious reasons. It’s impossible to know if you’ll have a connection with someone when you’re looking at their curated online profile through a phone screen.
Getting with friends of friends can cause some awkward encounters down the line if things go bad, but they are the easiest way to meet partners since people that you trust (your friends) have given them a seal of approval.
The findings come from a study commissioned by LELO, a luxury sex toy brand.
The team commissioned their latest sex census in February 2022, asking 4,000 UK participants about their sexual attitudes and lifestyles.
The aim was to find out how the pandemic has altered our sex lives, by comparing the results to the previous report from 2020.
LELO collected data on where we meet our sexual partners. They found that in 2022, 30% of respondents look for their sexual partners through friends of friends, compared with 42% in 2020.
This is still a bigger percentage than other avenues, with 24% looking for their future lover in a pub or club in 2022, compared to 37% in 2020.
Dating apps (27%) beat out the pub as a place to find the next hook-up in 2022, but the pub was a more popular place to look than dating app back in 2020.
We are also less likely to get with work colleagues in 2022 (14%) than we were in 2020 (23%) , potentially due to a shift to more permanent WFH situations.
Facebook was the sexiest social media platform, coming out on top above Instagram, TIkTok and LinkedIn, which still bizarrely made the list for 2% of respondents.
Top ways we meet sexual partners in 2022, and percentage of people who gave this answer:
- Friends of friends, 30%
- Dating apps, 27%
- The pub/clubs, 24%
- Work, 14%
- Facebook, 9%
- Instagram, 8%
- Gym/sports club, 7%
- Place of study, 6%
- TikTok, 4%
- LinkedIn, 2%
- Other, 24%
A meaty 24% of the 2022 respondents opted for ‘other’ when asked where they look to meet sexual partners.
While this very much could mean people are hooking up with exes, it could also reflect the rise in popularity of IRL speed dating, especially in bigger cities like London.
As well as looking at how we are meeting our sexual partners, the report looked at our wider sexual wellness.
The mental health fallout from the Covid-19 crisis has impacted our sex lives, with over half of the respondents told LELO that their declining mental health has affected their experience of sex.
Many others said they are contemplating their sexuality or gender expression and struggling with their body image – which is understandable as we all spent a long time locked inside with plenty of time to reflect on our relationship with our bodies.
We are also facing a sexodus, as less of us are having sex than we did pre-pandemic.
Reassuringly, casual sex is still in vogue, as eight in ten people claimed that they had a one-night stand recently.