“From Instant Sex to Endless Courtship”
Gendered Shifts in Mobile Dating During a Global Pandemic
Presented by the LGBT Task Force
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Zoom details to be emailed out to registrants in confirmation email and Friday prior.
Dr. Pani Farvid
Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology
The New School of Public Engagement, NYC
We are living in surreal and unprecedented times. Due to the global COVID-19 crisis, in just a few weeks, the world as we know it, turned upside down. As various shelter-in-place orders were mandated, the way we work, shop, take care of loved ones and socialize altered overnight. Dating app use saw a major spike and new platforms like “OkZoomer” and “Quarantine Together” sprouted. While anecdotal and descriptive media pieces sought to map shifts in mobile dating during “lockdown”, very little is known about what’s been going on with single people during this time. In this presentation, I draw on an international survey on mobile dating during COVID-19 to explain the ways in which people of diverse ages, genders and sexual orientations engaged in mobile dating during social distancing. Findings indicate that while the number of matches and conversations escalated, the process of mobile dating slowed down – offering greater capacity for intimacy-making. At the same time, a specific pattern of gendered conduct was identified, with reports of a cluster of men immediately requesting sexting, online sex, or in person casual sex (from both gay men and straight women). The new specter of the pleasures and pains of this mode of technologically mediated intimacy will be explicated, paying attention to the ways in which experiences varied across the axes of gender, race and sexual identity. In particular, the escalation of straight men’s demands on women’s immediate sexual labor will be teased out, as well as the ways in which the pandemic is pushing the limits of emotional coping for some individuals. The implications of this for re/shaping intimate conduct in uncertain times will also be discussed.
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