'Ethical sex-ploration' and 'Wanderlove': Biggest dating trends of 2023 revealed

Couple dating in bar (Getty Images)
Those dating will be more 'open' to meeting people outside of their 'usual type' in 2023, found the survey. (Getty Images)

After a dating drought during lockdown, 2022 has been a year of romantic rediscovery as we finally revert back to normal life, but what are the dating trends we can expect to see in 2023?

The bleakness of the cost of living crisis clearly hasn’t dampened our desire to find love, as singletons seem keen to throw themselves back into the dating game. Some 70% of people said they felt “positive about the romance that lies ahead in 2023” in a new study by Bumble, which surveyed over 14,000 dating app users worldwide.

What’s more, it predicts a little bit of ‘healthy selfishness’ will be on the agenda next year, with people becoming better at articulating their needs and boundaries in new relationships. Read on for Bumble’s seven dating predictions for 2023…

1. Open casting

Not your usual type? No worries! Forget the past, next year we’ll all be into ‘open casting’ where our usual requirements fly out the window, the Bumble experts predict. Thought you were into tall, dark, handsome strangers? Well, maybe you won’t rule out those petite blondes next year, with over half of single respondents in the UK saying they’re more open to dating people outside of their ‘usual type’.

Read more: Guildford tops list of UK destinations where married couples are most likely to cheat

2. Love-life balance

Gone are the days when having an impressively powerful job title would automatically make you a great catch. In fact, half of the people surveyed are prioritising work/life balance for themselves (49%) and want their future partners to do the same.

In the past year, over half of singletons worldwide (52%) say they’ve been actively creating more space in their lives ‘for breaks and rest’. Interestingly, more than one in ten (13%) will no longer date someone with a very demanding job, presumably fearing they’ll be low down on the priority list.

Man doing yoga
A big pay packet isn't a priority for daters right now – they want someone with a decent work/life balance. (Getty Images)

3. Sensitive men

Had enough of alpha males? You’re not alone – in fact, many men themselves have been reflecting on gender norms and expectations. Three-quarters of men (74%) say they have examined their behaviour more than ever in the past year and have a clearer understanding of ‘toxic masculinity’ and what isn’t acceptable.

More than half of people on Bumble (52%) are actively challenging stereotypes that suggest men should not show emotions, for fear of appearing weak. One in three men (38%) now speak more openly about their emotions with their male friends, showing a shift towards embracing their more sensitive side.

Read more: How to break up with someone gently before Christmas

4. Ethical sex-ploration

Traditional sex-pectations are being replaced with a more open-minded approach. Many of us are approaching sex, intimacy and dating in a more exploratory way (42%).

We’re no longer shy about saying what we want in bed either, knowing good communication is key, with more than than half of us agreeing it’s important to discuss our sexual desires and needs early on in a relationship (53%).

Two women embracing in bed - dating trends survey (Getty Images)
One in five people have explored their sexuality more over the past year, found the dating trends survey. (Getty Images)

Over the past year, 20% have ‘explored their sexuality more’ and an adventurous one in eight of us (14%) are considering having a non-monogamous relationship. Don’t assume this means we’re all having plenty of sex though – 42% of people on the dating app aren’t having any sex right now and are fine with that.

5. Wanderlove

Long-distance relationships could be on the rise next year, with one in three (33%) of people on Bumble saying they’re now more open to travel and relationships with people from other cities. Post-pandemic WFH flexibility means 14% of us have explored the idea of being a ‘digital nomad’, giving us far more options in terms of who and where we date.

Mature couple on beach (Getty Images)
39% of people on Bumble have ended a marriage or serious relationship in the past two years and are looking for love again. (Getty Images)

6. Second-chance romance

One in three people on the dating app (39%) said they’d ended a marriage or serious relationship in the last two years. Those people are now beginning a new chapter in their lives with one in three (36%) of them using dating apps for the first time, learning to navigate new dating language and etiquette.

Read more: Speed dating: Best questions to ask when you've got mere minutes

7. Healthy selfishness

With the return to office culture and our busy social schedules, the majority of respondents said they’re feeling “overwhelmed” right now. As a result, we’ve become more protective over our ‘me time’, with more than half of people (52%) saying they’ve “established more boundaries” over the last year.

Woman on mobile phone (Getty Images)
With many daters saying they feel 'overwhelmed' by busy schedules, it's not surprising they plan to be protective over their time next year. (Getty Images)

This pattern of behaviour, also known as ‘guard-railing’, includes being clearer about our emotional needs and boundaries (63%), being more thoughtful and intentional about how we put ourselves out there (59%), and being careful not to overcommit socially (53%).

Read more: 'Online dating is lethal for the soul,' says author who has vowed never to do it again

“As we head into the new year, we’re encouraged by the many ways single people are challenging the status quo and taking control of defining what a healthy relationship means for them,”​​ says Naomi Walkland, Bumble Vice-President for Europe, commenting on the study's findings.

After all, by deciding what you want in a future partner, you’re more likely to find the right match. And if 2023 isn’t the year you find The One, you're bound to still have plenty of adventures along the way.