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Nicole McNichols shares 5 Things to Consider When Dating in a Post-Pandemic World, in this Psychology Today article.

5 Things to Consider When Dating in a Post-Pandemic World

It's going to be a new world out there.

By Nicole McNichols

Key points

  • Gen Zers now report feeling "very excited" to return to more in-person dating and casual hookups.
  • Someone you've been dating on the Internet will likely be different in real life, but that could be a good thing.
  • Whether it’s a relationship or casual hookup people seek now, things will go better if they're honest with themselves and their partners.

 Source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Last week the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance, except where required by federal or state law or by businesses. After a year of quarantines and isolation, we are gradually returning to normal.

As a Human Sexuality Professor who teaches 4,000 students a year, I can assure you that a majority of young people who took a hiatus from dating during the pandemic are excited to get back out there. The question is, what will ‘getting back out there’ actually entail? Is it just going to be a sexual free for all? Will the old norms of dating and casual sex still apply, including the sexual scripts and gender norms we often judge people by? Will we all be more free, less judgmental, and more grateful? Or will dating and related social norms pretty much just return to normal?

Here are the five most common questions that I field from my students. These questions may have been generated by Gen Z individuals, but the answers apply to anyone who wants to effectively navigate a post-pandemic sex and dating scene.

 1. Will I be 100% safe from catching Covid?

No. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t hook up or date so long as you are vaccinated. Right now, about 49% of the population has been vaccinated, with experts saying we need to reach 60%-70% to reach herd immunity. If and when we do, the reality is that Covid will still exist in some form, including variants. How this should impact your decisions surrounding sex and dating depends on the level of risk that you personally feel comfortable assuming. Most of my students report that they would only feel comfortable hooking up or having casual sex with someone who was vaccinated. Asking a potential dating or hook-up partner if they are vaccinated is 100% a question I encourage asking.

 2. Will I remember how to flirt?

A year of isolation and quarantine has left many people feeling out of practice when it comes to socializing of most any kind. But it’s important to realize that almost everyone is in the same boat. It’s not as if you are Sleeping Beauty awakening into a world that has been carrying on for a hundred years without you! Everyone is likely to feel a little bit awkward at first. The best way to overcome these anxieties is to remind yourself that flirting is most effective when it is authentic. For example, express a genuine interest in getting to know a new person by asking them questions and showing that you are listening. This also has the benefit of shifting your attention away from yourself, which will make you feel more relaxed. Most of all, enjoy the process, and don’t be overly goal-oriented.

Read the entire article here.