The spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic has created long-term ripples across social and economic industries. Record unemployment, a failed government response and a constant stream of misinformation have caused devastating side effects. For many single folk, loneliness has sunk in, their only respite the world of dating apps.
While video dating has grabbed a foothold in the industry, apps like Match.com, Tinder, Grindr and Bumble are encouraging users to maintain physical distancing (not social, as that would defeat the purpose of dating apps). While the conversation always tends to lean into the current pandemic, love still finds a way. Yet, even with all the available technology, dating app users are still bucking government guidelines and meeting up to spread love — and the novel coronavirus.
According to a Pollfish survey conducted at the behest of ImLive, an adult camming website, 55% of those polled are still using dating sites during the coronavirus pandemic (good), and nearly 42% have physically met up with someone they matched with on a dating site since the stay-at-home orders began (bad). 12.5% admitted to being intimate with someone they don’t live with, possibly further spreading the virus (super bad).
Asking people not to date under any circumstances is a tough ask, but that’s exactly what ImLive is doing. The verbiage being used is not exactly polite. ImLive is more demanding than asking, condemning physical dating and even launching a Change.org petition called “Stay Home, Don’t Date”. It even comes with a social media hashtag in all-caps: #STAYHOMEDONTDATE.
ImLive has naturally wrapped an entire campaign (SFW link) around this anti-dating initiative, enlisting the help of celebrities and its own cam models. To new site users that commit to temporary abstinence, ImLive is giving away up to $50 million worth of site credits for users to purchase private camming sessions. ImLive hosts (cam models) have collaborated with celebrities such as actor Bella Thorne, rapper and MTV Wild N Out host Justina Valentine, adult entertainment star Riley Reid, and rapper Almighty Jay to promote the campaign.
Almighty Jay recently came under fire for ignoring social distance guidelines, but has obviously changed his position on that after angering Charlamagne. Don’t piss off Tha God.
“I got involved with the #stayhomedontdate campaign because I realized that a lot of young folks aren’t taking this pandemic seriously,” said Almighty Jay. “I saw how it was affecting my community the hardest, so when I was presented the opportunity to work with ImLive to encourage people to stay at home, it made sense. We all have to take this seriously…not worth the risk to date right now.”
From April 22nd to April 26th, ImLive will host parties on its site to encourage physical distancing. Hundreds of cam models will be available to chat about the petition, their lives and whatever else users want to talk about. Probably dirty stuff. ImLive will also be dropping a near $250,000 donation to the World Health Organization (WHO) to fund efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
Dating during a pandemic is not easy for many people. They need much more than video and text. The psychological toll of this pandemic will be felt in some way by everyone, hitting single people especially hard. The porn industry is doing what it can. ImLive is tackling singles and YouPorn recently launched a tool to help couples cope. Pornhub is making sure all hands are washed before any activity.
“It’s been a long time in quarantine and we’re all feeling disconnected from normal life. We know it’s tempting to go out and meet people, especially when you’re felling lonely. Now, more than ever, it’s time to stay home and not date,” says ImLive VP Adrian Stoneman. “Through our collective efforts, we know physical distancing works to flatten the curve. We at ImLive believe that our platform is best suited to assist people with their loneliness and horniness while in quarantine.”