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LGBT dating sites shift to keeping in touch during COVID-19

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LGBT dating sites shift to keeping in touch during COVID-19

As the world adapts to a pandemic lifestyle of physical distancing, LGBT dating sites and apps in the UK report high usage and activity.

However, the members of these sites and apps aren’t looking to hook up. Rather, they want to keep in touch with each other, flirt, and even support each other.

LGBT dating sites go beyond dating

The Thomson Reuters Foundation reported that even as dating apps were down in terms of new users, operators were reporting higher usage by those on the site.

Robyn Exton, founder of the app HER, which is aimed at women and has 5.5 million users, said they’ve seen “a pretty heavy spike in usage.”

“The growth in communities reflects people looking for more social interaction and more connection with others–beyond just dating,” Exton said in an email.

It was reported that during the weekend of March 14-15, HER had its highest day of the year for “likes” on posts. Meanwhile, the overall number of likes rose by 16 percent over the weekend.

LGBT dating sites go for video

Similar dating apps reported relatively stable overall user numbers. However, they also reported a jump in activity with regard to the number of messages and photos or video swaps.

“What we have observed is that there are less logins per day, but much more activity than what we would regularly see,” said Abigail Gaskin, communications head at dating app and social network ROMEO.

ROMEO reportedly has around two million active users. Gaskin said their users were changing the way they used apps given that dating in real life was restricted.

“Since our users are now staying home, we see they are using the platform to chat, flirt, support and entertain,” Gaskin said.

No sex and dating during a pandemic

The LGBT community in the UK has also been warned off meeting up for casual sex during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, British HIV/AIDS charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) said the country’s current lockdown and advice promoting physical distancing “has to include not hooking up for sex.”

“I have never been an advocate of promoting abstinence,” said Dr. Michael Brady, THT medical director, in a statement, “but these are extraordinary and unprecedented times.”

Craig Chapple, mobile insights strategist and EMEA at analytics firm Sensor Tower, said, “On the one hand, people may be keen to connect with others during what can be a lonely time in lockdown.”

“But on the other, some people may be discouraged from turning to dating apps at a time when meeting up in person is impossible,” Chapple said.

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