While the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly not over, this summer has seen promising milestones in our collective effort to return to some semblance of normalcy. As of August, per government health data, well over half of those eligible in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated, with over 60% having had at least one dose.
Our Bumble community has also been taking tentative steps back out into the world, hoping to start dating, meeting potential partners “IRL” again, and enjoying in-person hookups.
Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve provided advice and resources for dating cautiously and sensibly, from ways to get intimate virtually during the height of COVID to what safe sex looks like post-vaccination.
Now, we’ve asked you—the folks of all genders, ages, and backgrounds who use Bumble to meet and date—how you’re feeling about sex and intimacy as we look to put the pandemic behind us. The results have been heartening, showing both a spirit of intentionality and a sense of openness to new experiences.
We found that more than 40% of the Bumble community surveyed* in the U.S. have changed their approach to sex in 2021. What does that mean? Well, nearly one in five respondents told us they engaged in virtual intimacy for the first time, getting creative during lockdowns and quarantines. (This could mean anything from suggestive texts to phone or video sex.)
For many in our community, that shift in approach has manifested itself in a full reassessment of their sexual and romantic lives. Of our U.S. respondents, 22% said they plan to express their sexuality differently now compared to last summer, with 14% reporting a change in their sexual preference.
Half of the daters Bumble surveyed in the U.S. said they’re feeling more confident about what they want and need from a sexual partner, leading to an increased openness to sexual experimentation.
Still, the pandemic has taught us nothing if not the importance of safety, including when it comes to getting intimate. Of our U.S. respondents, 14% indicated they’ve added more steps than ever before to screen potential sexual partners.
For many, part of that screening process includes ensuring a Bumble match has been vaccinated. A full 30% of those surveyed in the U.S. described COVID vaccination as essential, saying they wouldn’t consider going on a date or getting intimate with someone who hasn’t had both shots.
If you haven’t added the Vaccination Badge to your Bumble profile yet, here’s how. For more on post-pandemic sex and dating, check out these resources. For advice on overcoming COVID-era social anxiety and getting back out there, read this piece.
*These insights are based on both a survey conducted in the Bumble app in July 2021 and on insights commissioned by Bumble and carried out online by Censuswide in May 2021.