Dating apps hot despite pandemic, STIs also on the rise – The College VOICE | #tinder | #pof

Colleges have gone fully remote, social events have been canceled, and travel has been restricted, but young people aren’t taking the situation lying down. Subscriptions to online dating apps such as Tinder are soaring and the companies are seeing massive revenue spikes. 

An article released by the Dallas Morning News says Tinder, “known for swiping to like or dislike other users’ profiles, continues to be the [Match Group’s] key driver of growth, with a 15% spike in direct revenue in the three-month period ending June 30.”

With continually changing, and often confusing, guidelines about what type of interactions are safe and appropriate during a global pandemic, apps like “Bumble” now lets its “users add a badge to their profiles that signifies what kind of dates they’re comfortable with: virtual, socially distanced or socially distanced with a mask.” 

Dalia Badr a Psychology Professor at MCCC says, “It is ok if staying away is temporary” but explains there is a reason why young people might go on non-socially distanced dates anyway.

“Late teen and early adulthood brain development is very different in terms of priorities, expectations and fears. It’s very different compared to full adulthood. Risk taking differs from someone 20 to someone 35+.” Badr says.

Cameron Cox, a sophomore Biology major at Mercer says, “I haven’t changed one bit. I’ve been working so haven’t had more time to do anything out of the ordinary.”  

Badr’s perspective seems to be borne out based on what Local gynecologist Maria Sophocles, Medical Director of Women’s Healthcare of Princeton (WHP) is seeing day to day. While the predicted glut of pregnancies that some said might result from so many people being stuck home together never came, she says she has seen a dramatic uptick in chlamydia and requests for the morning after pill. 

Sophocles says this is likely due to “the Laissez Faire attitude most are having right now.”

Paradoxically, while young people may have a strong desire for a hookup, Sophocles says the pandemic also leaves them “afraid to go to pharmacies or stores to buy condoms and get access to the necessary protection.” 

By contrast, there are a lot of people who are in committed relationships, living together who have lost the lovin’ feeling. 

Psychotherapist Dana Dofman says in an interview with the Washington Post that the lack of privacy plays a big role into lowered sex drive. 

Moreso now than ever, couples and families are forced to share and coexist in such small places that Dofman says we’re all “ aware of everyone’s presence” in the home. And with “so few boundaries to delineate us” while we eat, sleep, work and navigate the same space all day long, she says, “the idea of merging [physically] may no longer be of interest.”

While some Mercer students may fall into the romance rut, the average age of students is early 20s, so no surprise that they are more likely to be in the dating app group.

When asked about any changes to his sexual practices during the pandemic Mercer student Alan Lester a sophomore Biology and Chemistry major says, “I haven’t changed anything. [My ex-girlfriend] apologized for everything, so imma meet up with her soon and lay down that good pipe like usual.” 

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