New Study suggests surge in use of dating websites during pandemic
Many people around the world have not been able to go on physical dates this year due to the lockdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic but studies show that thousands have turned to cyberspace to meet their dating needs.
Maryanne Fisher, a researcher from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, believes that dating websites have witnessed a massive influx of visitors during the pandemic as many people turned to the internet to fill their need for romance, dating and attention.
The Nova Scotia researcher is, therefore, conducting a study to determine exactly how the Covid-19 pandemic has potentially changed how people feel about themselves in terms of dating and romantic relationships.
Fisher has been studying similar issues since 2017 and is interested in tracking changes over time. Prior to commencing the experiment, Fisher predicted that the way people feel about themselves has changed such that some people may have increased how they feel about themselves via spending more on their appearance, learning new skills, or exercising more regularly.
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She says that others may have experienced what is commonly called "coronavirus burnout" whereby they feel less like themselves or feel less positive about themselves.
Fisher says she is particularly interested in how people now view their mating rivals (i.e., those who may be vying for the same mate as them), and whether people’s views of their mating rivals have changed with the recent lockdown measures caused by the pandemic.
The survey, which is currently available online, takes about twenty minutes to complete and asks respondents such questions as; “in everyday life, how often do you have spontaneous fantasies about having sex with someone you have just met?”
Options for answers ranged from “at least once a day” to “never”.
In an interview with Halifax Today, Fisher explains her reasons for asking some of the questions in the questionnaire,
“So, for example, imagine you are someone who is on the mating market and you’re usually seeking short-term casual (relationships), and then COVID happens and you’re self-isolating, what do you do?” Fisher said, quoted in the Toronto Sun.
“Do you start improving yourself to make yourself an even hotter commodity when you go out, or do you engage in some deep self-reflection and think: ‘Oh my goodness, I want to change my ways and find more of a long-term stable situation?”
In an interview with radio station NEWS 95.7, Fisher said the study is for everybody over the age of 19, married or single. She told the station that she hopes to reach even people who aren’t dating or involved in polyamorous relationships.
“We’ve made it as inclusive as we can for sexual orientation and gender,” she said.
Hundreds of people around the world have responded to the survey since its online launch. Fisher said she intends to keep the survey open for six months to see if people’s attitudes will change if a second wave of COVID-19 hits the world or when social distancing restrictions are relaxed.
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