The numbers, the non monogamy and the nuance of connection in the 21st century – things in little old Aotearoa might not be as they seem, a new report from Bumble reveals. Kelly Bertrand investigates in the second part of our series with Bumble (click here for our first instalment on how to set up your dating profile for success – and how NOT to be a beige flag!)
Capsule x Bumble
For decades Kiwis – and Kiwi women in particular – have been viewed as more on the conservative side when it comes to sex, relationships and dating. But is that actually true? We’ve taken a DEEP dive into Bumble’s Modern Romance Report and we can confidently say that we’re much more open-minded than we think.
Ashburton woman Tracey (38) certainly thinks so – she’s currently in a non-monogamous relationship, or a polyamorous relationship, with two others and says it’s been the most fulfilling of her life.
“I met my boyfriend Simon on Bumble, and after about six months we met Hannah in a bar in Christchurch. There was an instant connection, and we eventually and very organically entered into a relationship together.
“It’s not something I have ever experienced before – and some of my friends and family were like, ‘what the f*** are you doing’, but we’ve managed to find this gorgeous, beautiful balance and I’m so happy. I knew I was bisexual before this, but polyamory wasn’t something I had thought about before it was right under my nose, and I just decided to trust my gut.
“And since being in a non-monogamous relationship I’ve met SO many others who are also choosing to be in similar relationships. Trust me, it’s more common than you think!”
She’s right –recent research has revealed one of three Kiwi singles doesn’t believe in monogamy, or they believe in ethical non-monogamy.
To define it, ethical non-monogamy, also known as consensual non-monogamy, refers to romantic relationships that aren’t exclusive between two people, and it’ll look different in every scenario – like this story we recently ran of a Kiwi woman engaging in a threesome for the first time, and how it helped her confidence in the bedroom skyrocket.
The stats suggest that we’re becoming more sexually (and emotionally!) liberal as time goes on, with Gen Zs being the least likely to believe in monogamy (58% do) compared to 65% of millennials, and 80% of Gen X.
In what’s been dubbed ‘the dying myth of the soulmate’, it seems Gen Z’s take a far more liberal and practical approach to romance, in part, experts reckon, due to the sheer amount of information now available when it comes to dating and relationships.
What’s Your Number? How often do Kiwis have sex, and how many partners have they had?
Ah, maths that is finally interesting.
Just because we’re more open and accepting, it doesn’t mean that we’re not vulnerable -with 39% of Kiwi singles admitting they feel inexperienced in the bedroom, which impacts their self-confidence, and 20% saying their lack of experience makes them ‘vanilla’ in the bedroom.
In the same vein, 22% of us single folk have lied about the number of sexual partners we’ve had, and 20% feel judged about the number.
The cause? One in five admit to judging others about their number of previous partners – whether it’s ‘high’ or ‘low’ BUT it might not be in the way you think. Twenty one percent say too many is a turnoff, but 14% reckon a high number is a positive sign because your partner knows what they’re doing in the bedroom.
And in classic New Zealand fashion, the vast majority – 65% – don’t give a damn.
As for the ‘magic’ number? A 2017 study (in the US and Europe) suggested the average number for men is six, with women sitting slightly higher at seven – although more informal surveys of Kiwi men and women put the number in the teens.
And when it comes to the ‘how many times a week should I be having sex’ question – well, says Bumble’s resident sexologist Chantelle Otten, how long is a piece of string?
“This is interesting as a number one question that I get asked as a sexologist is how many times a week should I be having sex?
“And my answer is, I don’t know? It is an individualised experience and something you have to think about yourself. It will ebb and flow throughout the months and the years. And there will be periods of times where you don’t want to have sex at all, and that is completely okay. Really, as long as you’re having fun, consensual sex and having pleasurable experiences, and the rest is up to you and your sexual partner to work on together.”
Lucille McCart, Bumble’s APAC Communications Director, adds: “The truth is, not everyone wants sex all the time. This can be hard to swallow, especially for women who have grown up being told that all men want is sex, all the time. For women, who perhaps find it difficult to initiate sexual contact in the first place, learning to separate their sexual confidence or sexual worth from the experience of rejection is key.”
Sex and pop culture – does it play a part?
Short answer, hells yes. What we see, read and listen to has a profound impact on how we view sex and intimacy – and that’s before we get to porn. How many times have you seen ‘perfect’ sex in a movie where the woman and man achieve orgasm at the same time without ANY foreplay?! And why are they always white?!
Unrealistic depictions of romance, and those without any representation, can be hugely damaging for those of us on the dating scene – in fact 35% of Kiwi singles reckon it’s had an impact on their sex and dating lives. And more troubling, 16% think that those unrealistic depictions have had a large impact on their expectations around sex and intimacy.
Zeyna, a 26-year-old woman from Auckland, says that she’s been directly impacted by unrealistic dating expectations, with partners assuming she’d be “up for” things they’d watched on screen.
“I don’t know if it’s because I’m a member of the queer community – I mean, it’s the only way I know! – but I get this so much,” she tells. “I’ve had variations of “I thought you’d be up for anything” several times now and I’m just like, ‘why?’ and they usually reply, “I’ve seen it somewhere before’.
“It’s made me put my walls up when I’m dating, that’s for sure – I want to make sure they like me for me, not whatever label they think I am and whatever expectation they have in their head that goes along with it.”
Bumble, the women-first dating and social networking app, was founded by CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014. Bumble connects people across dating (Bumble Date), friendship (Bumble BFF) and professional networking (Bumble Bizz). Bumble is built on the importance of equitable relationships and how crucial they are to a healthy, happy life. They’ve built their platform around kindness, respect, and equality – and their community plays an important part in that. Bumble holds its users accountable for their actions and strives to provide them with an experience free from hate, aggression, or bullying. Bumble is free and widely available in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and the web.