In the urban dating landscape, there seems to be a rising consciousness about sex, intimacy, and capitalism. Last year’s trending words, ‘goblin-mode’ and ‘permacrisis’ point us to a cultural shift; we are less hesitant to reject claustrophic and problematic societal expectations. So, it's no surprise that dating trends for 2023 show a rising inclination toward ethical sex-ploration, love-life balance, and modern masculinity.
India’s homegrown dating app, QuackQuack, surveyed 15,000 users, between 25 and 35, from tier 1 and 2 cities to gain insight into the dating trends expected in 2023. Some new terms with a twist of familiar ideas have entered the dating playground.
Did you know that the beginning of a new year is known as the ‘cuffing’ season? I didn’t, and I was quite happy that. The survey states that the new year begins with the highest number of singles looking to get into relationships, even if they aren’t particularly interested in committing. It’s like as the ball drops on New Year’s Eve and the popular (read: annoying) 2022 song, ‘Maybe my soulmate died’ suddenly seems a bit too scary. More than 22% of men from tier 1 and 2 cities say that this search mostly stems out of loneliness and an attempt to improve their quality of life because ‘new year, new me’ is a clingy idea.
The popularity of expressions like ‘no means no’ and the many campaigns about consent are probably leading to a much-awaited shift in the dating world. The survey showed that 19% of daters, men and women between the ages of 28 and 32 are approaching sex, intimacy, and dating in a more open and exploratory way. They don’t consider sex a taboo and emphasise the importance of discussing intimate desires and needs in the early stages of the relationship. Can we all chant ‘finally’?
Capitalism is probably doing a big eye-roll right now. The hustle mentality, embedded in a solid foundation of the fear of not doing enough, is losing its grip. Research from QuackQuack finds that 22% of daters from tier 1 cities stated that they no longer consider job titles as a status symbol and young daters are more focused on a healthy work-life balance. So, turns out, it’s no longer uncool to prioritise relationships, rather than treating love as last-minute comfort food. There is also data-backed understanding of taking more mental health breaks. Moreover, 12% said they would unmatch with someone if their job was very demanding and schedule was too packed.
Men no longer want to be ‘sakth-launda’, they would rather be decent human beings. According to the survey, 34% of men from tier 1 and 2 cities expressed that they had taken a step back to examine their behaviour and found that they were projecting toxic masculinity involuntarily, which they consider unacceptable. They are actively working on changing that, and this self-awareness has made it easier for them to express emotions and do away with the imposed gender roles in dating.
You might see more of ‘looking for someone to travel with’ on dating apps. The many lockdowns have made people crave travel. The survey shows 3 out of 7 daters between 25 and 30 prefer ‘wanderlove’, that is, they are looking to date people who are not from the city and setting up their location preference beyond the city walls. They are more open to long-distance, to travelling together, and exploring new places.
It is important to point out that the dating survey by QuackQuack (in addition to a similar one late last year by Bumble focuses on binaries: men and women. Perhaps in 2023, these popular dating apps and websites can consider being more inclusive in the people they survey.