College Students Dating During the Coronavirus Pandemic: 4 Ways To Be Safe•
Posted on June 16 2020
You've probably heard your college student use the phrase "hooking up". The term means different things to different people. For some, "hooking up" could mean sleeping with someone you haven't dated or sexual activity with someone you just met. One mother's interpretation... “Well, I think it’s two people who meet to have sex and maybe a one-night stand.” Whatever your definition, the hookup culture has been around since the 1920's. According to Lisa Wade, American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, this was the "first time in U.S. history that young people routinely socialized in mixed-sex groups beyond the supervision of chaperones." She goes on to say that the hookup culture of today is destructive, a problem on our campuses with only a quarter of the students thriving in this type of environment initially.
To counter the trend toward casual sexual encounters, colleges and universities have disbanded fraternities and sororities. However, nothing has caused a more drastic shift in sexual behavior among college students than the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Economist, last month, indicated that students today are well-positioned to lead the way to the next new sexual culture. We will see the return of slow courtship to the American dating scene. Under lockdown video courtship is beginning to replace the hookup culture.
‘Catch Feelings, Not COVID’ realized the importance of virtual dating, early on, and launched dating services for singles by setting them up on FaceTime, Zoom or Skype dates. On Bumble, users can indicate what kind of date they are comfortable with: virtual, socially distanced, or socially distanced with a mask.
As college students enter this next new phase of dating, there's still some things to consider when trying to date in a safe way. Here are 4 ways to be safe:
1) Check with mutual friends who may know your potential date...can they provide additional information about him/her that will help you decide whether or not to move forward with a video courtship?
If using a dating app, there are several red flags to watch out for. Not including a photo, a blurry photo or a photo that seems unrealistic are not good signs according to Julie Spira, CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert.
2) Get tested for the Coronavirus together
Astin Williams, Sacramento State’s healthy relationships health educator indicates that "going together is a sure fire way to know if you are COVID free, and know if (your) potential partner is too.” If you are looking for a drive through testing site click here.
3) Engage in outdoor activities when you do finally meet
Biking, hiking, golfing or throwing a Frisbee are all great outdoor activities that lend themselves to open spaces where it's easy to be 6 feet away. If outdoor sports are not your thing, visit a farmer's market or enjoy an outdoor art gallery or outdoor sculpture park.
4) Give hugs in opposite directions
If a potential date decides not to get tested and you have decided to see each other in person, it's okay to hug, but be cautious.The best way to hug is to turn your faces in opposite directions. In this way, both partners prevent the other from breathing in foreign particles. Julian Tang, a virologist and associate professor at the University of Leicester in England shares one more precaution when engaged in the pandemic hug, hold your breath for 10 seconds.
When you keep your date safe during the initial courting phase, you strengthen the bond between you. The trust you are building during this period of time increases the likelihood of creating a strong, healthy relationship. One that can survive the offline transition and flourish well into the future.
Rebecca Hastings is the CEO/Founder of hugabox, college care packages with a purpose (90% of the proceeds go to childhood cancer research). She is a huge advocate for sarcoma cancer research funding and works with others across the country to make childhood cancer a national priority. When she is not working, she is off hiking, skiing and playing golf with her husband. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram @ hugabox.