Spring is in the air, could romance be too? A new survey has the answers

The coronavirus pandemic has made significant changes to the way in which we live, and none more so than in the area of dating and relationships. Together with dating app Inner Circle, we explore some of the behavioural differences that research has uncovered, and talk to people about how they plan to date in a post-pandemic world.

Spring is in the air, could romance be too? A new survey has the answers
Photo: Getty Images

2020’s State of Dating report, commissioned by Inner Circle, revealed that – perhaps unsurprisingly – our love lives have taken a hit. Government restrictions and public health measures led 55 percent of respondents to say that they dated less. A further 33 percent stated that they didn’t view dating as a priority during the lockdowns. Much of this sentiment can be tied to the fact that most respondents prefer to meet a partner face to face, with 47 percent of participants responding to that effect. 

Join Inner Circle today and learn more about their approach to dating. 

‘I got to know my sofa’

In interviews conducted by The Local, this sentiment was repeated. Miguel, a Canadian now in Paris found that dating came to a “screeching halt” and that he went from getting to know the city and its people, to “getting to know my sofa”. He continues saying that, “During the first lockdown we were only allowed to leave the house for exercise, or to get groceries – dating was not on the form we needed to have, trust me, I looked”.

Elena, an Australian comedian based in Berlin, found that dating fell by the wayside, as services sprung up to fill the needs of those locked down. As she told us, “All of our needs are met, we can order anything from Amazon, like food delivery or a vibrator”. Elena also reflected that lockdowns led to a significant restriction in dating options. “On first dates you normally would go to a restaurant, nightclub or live music gig. However, those options are not there, it’s either their place, or yours… or a walk in the park”.

Elena performing at a comedy club. Pic: Supplied

Light (and love) at the end of the tunnel

However, all is not lost. Research by Inner Circle showed that there is optimism, hope and a real desire for connection. In France, while 43 percent of respondents were optimistic about their love life, 70 percent have said that they consider their romantic meetings more important this coming year. Additionally, 67 percent seek to make more effort to meet this year and almost three-quarters of those surveyed are looking to commit to a relationship. If you’re single, now really is the time to get involved.

Meanwhile, in Italy – a traditional holdout against online dating apps – Inner Circle saw a 151 percent increase in users than at the same time last year, with a 47.8 percent increase in traffic over the first month of the year. It seems that spirits are improving and love once again is in the air, especially in romantic hotspots like Rome and Milan.

Join the Inner Circle, download the app and start meeting people today! 

(Pic:Inner Circle)

A helping hand 

For those looking for a partner, apps such as Inner Circle provide an enjoyable, direct way to meet people. Curated profiles, conversation prompts and friendly advice help users to make their best impression, and it’s easy to let others know how, where and when you wish to meet under Covid-19 guidelines.

Unlike many dating apps, Inner Circle also makes sure to screen profiles, to ensure that users have included good photos of themselves and rich information that helps others discover them. No more endless swiping – profiles on Inner Circle tell a story, one that you may want to be a part of.

Once restrictions are lifted, Inner Circle will recommence their popular events in France, Italy and Spain, allowing users to meet in a fun and flirtatious environment. They’re a consistent sell-out, so we’re sure they’ll be plenty of singles wanting to get their hands on tickets.

So how are those we spoke to hoping to date post-pandemic? Elena in Berlin tells us, “I think I will definitely know what I really want in a partner and won’t settle for people who aren’t all in. I think this time has given a lot of us a more focused approach to dating, rather than pre-Covid, when it was full of distractions.” Miguel in Paris has similar thoughts, “On a personal level, I think I’m going to be more direct and not waste any more time. If something isn’t working, I’m going to move on and keep looking”.

Ready to get out there and meet someone? Sign up for Inner Circle today, and see who the world has in store for you!


IN PICTURES: 7 of the French government’s sexiest public health adverts

An advertising campaign aimed at convincing young people to get the Covid vaccine has attracted international attention, but it’s not the first time that French authorities have sexed up their public health messaging.

IN PICTURES: 7 of the French government's sexiest public health adverts
Image: AIDES.

It’s an international cliché that France is the land of l’amour – or at least the land of le sexe – and that reputation does seem to be justified, given how often French public health bodies have turned to sex in an attempt to get their message across.

From the suggestive to the downright scandalous, here are seven examples of health campaigns which relied on that oh so French fondness for romance.

Get vaccinated, get laid

The Covid campaign in question was created by regional health authorities in the southern Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur region.

The poster which has got people hot under the collar features two very attractive and very French-looking people kissing, seemingly in the back of a cab after a night on the town. “Yes, the vaccine can have desirable effects,” it says.

The campaign has proved so popular that it will soon be expanded.

Promoting road safety

Earlier this year, the French Road Safety Delegation released a video ahead of Valentine’s Day, which showed a couple sharing an intimate moment in the bedroom.

The full 30-second video featured the slogan, “Life is better than one last drink for the road”.

Another image of two people kissing, seemingly without clothes, included the line, “Life, love. On the road, don’t forget what truly matters.”

Fight against HIV/AIDS

While the link between road safety and sex isn’t immediately obvious, less surprising are the references to intimacy in the health ministry’s HIV awareness campaign from 2016.

Each of the different posters shows two men embracing. Straplines include, “With a lover, with a friend, with a stranger. Situations vary, and so do the protective measures.”

The posters shocked conservative sensibilities, and several right-wing mayors asked for them to be taken down in their towns. 

HIV awareness campaign

Just a few days after the controversy over the ministry’s posters ignited, the non-profit AIDES launched its own campaign, and it didn’t hold back.

The posters showed scuba instructors, piano teachers and parachutists, all of them naked alongside their students. The slogan: “People undergoing treatment for HIV have a lot of things to pass onto us. But the AIDS virus isn’t one.”

“Even if we’ve been spreading this information since 2008, we realise that a lot of people don’t know that antiviral treatments prevent spreading,” head of AIDES Aurélien Beaucamp told France Info.

“People are still afraid of those who are HIV-positive.” 

Government-mandated pornography

It’s common for sexualised advertising campaigns to be labelled pornographic by critics, but in 1998, the French government went a step further and created actual pornography.

READ ALSO Language of love – 15 of the best romantic French phrases

The health ministry commissioned TV station Canal Plus to create five short erotic films to encourage the use of condoms and prevent the spread of HIV. The campaign featured up-and-coming directors such as Cedric Klapisch and Gaspar Noé.

“The only possible way to look at, to get people to protect themselves, is to show, show everything, show simply and without creating an obsession of the sexual act and the act of wearing a condom,” Klapisch said, according to an Associated Press story published at the time. 

You didn’t really think we’d include images of this one, did you? (OK, here’s a link for those who are curious).

A controversial anti-smoking campaign

It’s time to forget what we said about romance, because there is nothing romantic about this 2010 campaign from the Droits des Non-Fumeurs (Non-smokers’ rights) association and the BDDP & Fils communications agency.

The campaign featured several images of young people with a cigarette in their mouths, looking up at an adult man who rested his hand on their heads. The cigarette appeared to be coming out of the man’s trousers.

The slogan said, “Smoking means being a slave to tobacco”. The association said the sexual imagery was meant to get the attention of young people who were desensitised to traditional anti-smoking messages, but the posters caused outrage, with members of the government publicly criticising the choice of imagery.

Celebrating LGBTQ+ love

On the other end of the spectrum is this very romantic video from the national health agency Santé Publique France. It was released on May 17th 2021, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and was part of a campaign against anti-LGBT discrimination and violence. It is set to Jean-Claude Pascal’s Nous les amoureux

Showing a diverse range of couples kissing, holding hands, and healing each other’s wounds, the video ends on the word play: “In the face of intolerance, it’s up to us to make the difference.”