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Whishing you a beautiful day, Friend.
 

The new {dating} normal & a very exciting announcement!
 

Over the month of April, we’ve been exploring what defines dating culture in the 21st century, how technology plays a part in our partnerships, what our modern expectations are and if they’re too much or too little.

However, since our last newsletter, we watched as this “new normal” was flipped on its head with the rise of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We knew that if we were going to discuss dating and relationships, we had to address the effects that this world-wide lockdown has on the dynamics of these partnerships.

To add some extra excitement to this month, we also launched the production of My Sex Bio’s newest series: Carnal Theory. A show where we talk with experts from around the world to learn how taking command of our sexual story affects our personal wellness, sexual experiences and relationships with ourselves and others.

Last week, we had the chance to chat with Nicole Buratti (@sex_talk_with_nicole), a sex and relationship coach with over 30 certifications under her belt, for one of our first episodes of Carnal Theory. We took the opportunity to ask Nicole about how she is seeing the new [dating] normal shift dramatically since the start of the coronavirus quarantines.

More details on our first release dates will be announced shortly on the Carnal Theory Instagram page (@carnaltheory). Follow us there to keep up-to-date!
 

So . . . what WAS the “new normal”??


One of our beloved partners Chantel Porter (of Wild Love Nation) centers much of her work as a professional life coach around self-love and sexuality. When we asked her how she saw these concepts reflected in today’s dating scene she had many powerful insights that we felt were a great introduction to this concept:

[Today’s dating scene] feels a bit like a rebellious teenager to me. As in, people are tired of their sex and sexuality being controlled and now they are rebelling against the ‘system’ (church, parents, society, the patriarchy, etc.) and because we haven't been given safe, proper, inclusive sex education there is so much harm being done to ourselves and others. It's a free for all out there, every person for themselves...There are so many things at our fingertips that it's almost too much, too much access, too many options and it becomes overwhelming.

It also isn't all bad, there are so many great things it offers us, like...the chance to connect with amazing people we may not have otherwise...We know our values, understand our needs, boundaries and wants for our life and if someone doesn't match up with that, we can move on easier and without taking it as a strike against us. Spending less time with those who aren't meant for us and more time being available for the people and experiences that are.

 

But, wait, I’m not dating...


While we know it can be hard to believe at times, you’re truly not alone! According to a 2019 study conducted by LELO, 3 in 10 Americans are currently experiencing a bit of a sexual dry spell. These ruts can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years, but the average length of a dry spell was found to be around ten months for men and a year for women. (Check out the 31 Day Meditation Masturbation Challenge for finding personal fulfilment.)

That being said, even if you’re not currently dating – it’s possible that modern day dating affects your life. You might be scrolling through dating apps regularly, have friends who turn to you in need of relationship advice, or maybe you’re feeling anxious to start dating because you’re not sure what’s really going on out there.

That’s where we come in.
 

Some basic dating statistics:


In a study of 1,143 women, 68.4% said dating apps make it more difficult to meet people as opposed to 27% who said the opposite.

Twice as many people using dating apps identify as LGBTQIA+ according to a 2017 study by the Kinsey Institute.

Nearly 50% of Americans in a relationship feel that their phones distract them when they are with their partner(s).

More than 33% of marriages today stem from online dating.

Transgender singles are the most active population using dating apps at 65% according to the Match Mediaroom.
 
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, females start dating (on average) at age 12.5 and males at age 13.5.
 
Most people will have relationships with 7-8 people (2 that last over a year), go on 2-3 dates from online dating apps, have 7-10 sexual partners, fall in love twice before finding “the one” (whatever that means to you).
 

Technology & Dating: good or bad?


There are many pros and cons when it comes to the influence of technology on our dating lives. Perhaps most dramatically of all, technology has introduced the ability to remain anonymous, even when launching into a relationship with someone.

Ashley Fetters said it well in her 2018 Atlantic article when she said: “Some also believe that the relative anonymity of dating apps...made the dating landscape a ruder, flakier, crueler place."

Fetters goes on to suggest an example of this, saying that, “if you go on a date with your cousin’s roommate, the roommate has some incentive to not be a jerk to you.” But that’s not exactly the case with dating apps.

Dating apps and technology have also introduced the rise of “micro-cheating,” a term referring to, “actions that may not traditionally be associated with infidelity, but it can still cause turmoil in relationships. It can include everything from constantly looking at your ex’s Facebook page to making contact with a former partner to even sending ‘sexts’” (Patel, 2018).

There is also the rise of “catphishing.” This is when someone is tricked into thinking they are dating or flirting with one person online, who turns out to be someone completely different. Sometimes this is done with relatively harmless intentions. Other times, it’s a part of a larger scheme. The FBI has stated that, in 2018, there were over 18,000 people who were victims of catphishing with the intention of monetary gain. These victims lost a combined $362 million to their catphishers.

What’s worse? Often when you experience a poor interaction or abusive relationship with someone online, it is extremely difficult to file charges against that individual. According to Amnesty International, 23% of women in 8 countries have experienced abuse online. And it’s not just women who are experiencing it. 

At times, people may choose to report the behavior to the platform the abuse was taking place on, but what if it requires police involvement? Thanks to the anonymity of the internet, it can often be extremely difficult to locate the people doing the harassing.

However, there are certainly some PROS when it comes to dating technology. Megan Lierley (head of content for Cora and managing editor for Blood + Milk) offered us a great perspective on these pros:

I know this may be an unpopular opinion, but I actually love dating apps. I met my now-fiance on an app and went on countless app dates before meeting him. For me, using dating apps allowed me to be more present in other aspects of my life. For example, when I went out with my girlfriends, I was out with my girlfriends! I could focus on our conversation without looking around the bar for a cute guy because I knew I could just go home later and swipe before bed.

What’s more? Technology is accessible. It provides you – as Chantel Porter mentioned above – with a much larger pool of potential partners. The amount of removal people often feel from their conversation online also empowers more open communication about the level of commitment you’re looking for right from the start.

 

But technology isn’t the only defining factor in modern love.


Communication plays a tremendous role in the evolution of dating too!

In some ways, people (especially women) are being empowered to take control of their sexual encounters and communicate their desires and needs openly, even during one-time hookups. But, in other ways, there seems to be a failure to communicate or to overcome the gender dynamics and shame at play in these encounters.

People might be comfortable now asking for specific acts, settings or positions during sex, but not comfortable talking about STDs and protection.

“Sadly,” says Alex Grube of Same Day STD Testing, “there is so much stigma and shame associated with STDs. People often delay testing because they are embarrassed to tell someone that they may have been exposed to something.”

The idea of finding “the one” has also begun to change in the past decade. “I think the internet has played a huge role in spreading education about different relationship structures,” Sexuality Guru Shauna Williams told My Sex Bio staff. “And while I think there is a lot more work to do, the youth of today is definitely more aware of their options than previous generations.”

This might look like ethical non-monogamy or simply non-exclusivity. The idea of not wanting to settle down with one partner for the rest of your life is gradually becoming accepted in cultures all over the world – though there is still a long way to go in terms of total acceptance!

 

Expert Perspectives:


We asked our many expert and professional partners what words and concepts they felt defined the “new [dating] normal.” Here were the most common responses:




Thank you to Kathryn Ewers MFT, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin, the Sex Ed With DB Podcast and Shauna Williams for your support  in the research that led to crafting this image.

Writing prompt:
 

Don’t think, just write:

What are ten (or more) words I would use to define my own dating normal?

Once you have your list, take a few minutes to reflect on it. Did anything come out that surprised you? Is there anything on that list you feel is unique to your own context or that not many others likely would have listed? Why or why not? Is there anything you’d want to change on that list? How might you do so? Anything you are proud of? How can you expand and focus on that positivity?
If I were to listen to audio porn...what would be my ideal plotline?
 
This voluntary monthly prompt invites you to explore your sexual biography.
Tips on exploring this: Set aside 20 minutes with your phone on silent and relax yourself in a comfortable space with a pen and paper. Go slow. Start with what comes to mind from your first read of the prompt. Continue writing your stream of consciousness.

Mantra of the month


“A huge part of self care is not comparing myself to others.” 

                                                                                                          –Amanda Keohane
                                                     (Director of Content and Outreach at My Sex Bio)

Researching our sexual biographies:



Have you ever gone on a date via a dating app or website?
 
 
Yes          No
 
Each month we ask a question in support of our leading mission at My Sex Bio. As we grow we plan to help fund and supply research for sex education. The results of these questions may be shared on social media as well as the following month’s newsletter. These results will also help curate relevant content for our readers, like you, moving forward. Responses are voluntary and anonymous.

Thank you for your support, Patreon Community:


Janet Coderre
Billy B

Want to join our Patreon Community and support a sexually-empowered future? Click here!

—The My Sex Bio Team
 
@mysexbio
@mysexbio
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