Love in a time of Coronavirus COVID-19

We’re watching the stock market crash, talk of schools and universities being closed, and we’re being urged to stay indoors, alone in our houses, away from gatherings. So what does this mean for our dating lives?

Daily, in my country, we’re told of firstly, the new pandemic status, secondly, how it’s currently affecting our nation, and thirdly, what it means to the economy, specifically the world stock markets and workplaces.

There are scary facts to digest about how the unprecedented virus has affected other nations, like China, where it began in Wuhan, and Iran, and now Italy. Today the United States closed its borders to travellers from Europe. Large sporting and cultural events have been cancelled, there is still talk of postponing the Olympics – where will end?

Of course, we all hope that we or our loved ones don’t become infected and confined to our houses or a hospital, or even worse, that we are among the small percentage of people who have a serious or life-threatening response to COVID-19.

Coronavirus meme

But in the meantime, now and in the coming months, life will go on.

We will still want to eat out, meet people, date and get intimate. Or are we facing an unparalleled change to the way we meet and mate? Will it still feel safe to meet in a crowded bar or go see a band?

The world Novel Coronavirus Situation shows us the number of cases updated weekly. At the time of writing, there have been almost 128,000 confirmed cases, just over 4,700 deaths and 118 countries affected. Importantly, more than 68,000 have recovered!

There’s talk of the virus being spread through breathing the same air in the same room as someone with COVID-19, which is a vastly different scenario than the common cold or seasonal influenza that is spread through infected droplets and direct transmission.

If, as is currently thought, “multiple modes of transmission are likely at play, including large droplets, small droplets (or aerosols), and contaminated hands,” social and intimate activities like dating will pose even greater risks than usual.

So I did a quick Google on ‘spreading germs through kissing’.

It was never something I thought about in the heat of the moment on a hot date, and certainly not when I was lusting for someone via their profile on a dating app.

In Here’s How Many Bacteria Spread Through One Kiss, Time Magazine says that a 10-second French kiss can spread 80 million bacteria between mouths. And that’s not even considering viruses like the common cold, seasonal influenza and sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia.

Expanding on this theme, kissing can spread many germs including those that cause tooth decay and glandular fever – known as the Kissing Disease – and viruses considered part of the Herpes family including Epstein-Barr, varicella-zoster (Chickenpox) and Herpes Simplex (cold sores).

Kissing may also transmit Hepatitis B through saliva and warts. Euwww… 

If we want to get really scary, mention Meningococcal disease, “a potentially life-threatening condition that includes meningitis, inflammation of the membranes (meninges) that surround the brain and spinal cord, and septicaemia. These bacteria can be spread either through direct contact or via droplets. Studies show that…only deep kissing seems to be a risk factor.”

But on the upside, if you make it to ‘couple’ status, you can expect to have your germs merge somewhat:

“Apparently, being with somebody for an extended amount of time and having a relationship leads to a similar collection of bacteria on the tongue.”

Studies have shown that the more a couple kisses, the more bacteria they share. So kissing is actually a very healthy activity – I will be sharing that snippet with my beloved! “Kissing might also act as a form of immunization, he adds, allowing you to build up resistance from exposing yourself to more microorganisms.”

Passionate kissing is also known to create many other health and wellbeing benefits, like emotional bonding, stress reduction, foreplay – deep kissing your partner can lead to sexual intercourse, which “enhances a person’s physical and mental health”.

And kissing is said to provide a metabolic boost by burning kilojoules, plus it gives us a healthier mouth by increasing saliva, which contains substances that fight bacteria, viruses and fungi. Overall, kissing can increase immunity through exposure to germs that inhabit your partner’s mouth.

The Germy Truth About Kissing urges us to read up before we pucker up. “The human mouth contains more bacteria than there are people on the planet (that’s close to 7 billion,” the article declares.

Their upside is that “Germs exist throughout our bodies, not to mention all over the environment around us. And germs aren’t all bad.”

Is there such a thing as Safe Kissing?

Prevention is the key, which means looking out for signs of illness in your kissing partner – consider asking if they have a history of getting cold sores, if that can be done inoffensively – and then using common sense.

If you’re wanting to passionately kiss someone who’s ill, you’ll likely catch it too. Or they could be an asymptomatic carrier unbeknownst to them, like a recent ex who I suspect was a carrier of the Streptococcus bacteria, as over our two-year relationship, I regularly caught tonsillitis after a date with him.

Some definite no-no’s include kissing someone with an active cold sore, warts or mouth ulcers. Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential.

Lest we all become terrified of the potential effect of COVID-19 on our dating and social lives, best remember that the standard, ‘seasonal influenza’ has reached 29 million cases, with related deaths numbering 16,000 in America alone.

“While the numbers may seem incredibly high, they are not out of the ordinary. The CDC reports that the hospitalization rate is similar to that of recent seasons, and overall deaths related to flu have been low.”

I’d love to know your thoughts on whether COVID-19 has affected or is likely to affect your dating life!


PS – Keeping it light and if you get a chance to watch the hilarious ‘sex in hazmat suits’ video meme, take it!

Since I wrote this post there have been so many posts around the world exploring this strange and uncertain time. Here are a just few that have crossed my path:


Are Dating Apps Aligned to Personality Type a Good Thing?

This month a free dating app was launched that matches people based on their Myers-Briggs personality type. On the surface, this might seem like a good thing – but is it?

Apparently, the new app, called So Syncd, pairs you with your most compatible personality types, as defined by the Myers-Briggs system, one of several ‘tests’ that assign people with various characteristics based on their responses to – in this case – an online survey. Once upon a time, only licensed psychologists could administer the MBTI, but nowadays anyone can get their four letters in a few short minutes.

NowI’ve long been a fan of the MBTI, but even I take it with a pinch of salt. And do I want my dating choices determined by so-called best matches? Umm, no.

And here’s why: every single time I got the MBTI involved in my own self-match-making, it flunked.

So what if a potential mate is a compatible letter combo? The chances are they can also be a complete moron who doesn’t tick a single other box. These are the things that really matter, like their educational achievements, background and SES, their core values, age or political leanings.

And then there’s the completely rogue aspect of physical attraction and the secret pheromones that we exude. Those are the two most important factors for long-term success in my humble opinion. You can align on the education, age and values options, but still not find your potential mate remotely attractive or bonk-worthy.

There are benefits to aligning MBTI types though

So, I’m not completely canning this dating app concept, just cautioning you not to get your hopes too elevated at the prospect of deciding you really want to match with your twin. Euw, no thank you – but jokes aside, sometimes we are more compatible with personality types who share a lot of common ground.


Take the basic tendencies towards introversion or extroversion. As defined by the MBTI, introverted types are energised by alone-time and drained by people-time, whereas it’s the other way round for extroverted types. Of course, we’re all unique individuals but personally, acknowledging my basic introverted nature has deeply resonated. It was initially liberating and extremely satisfying to finally realise that I didn’t need to be ashamed for NOT being an extrovert. (Actually, I’m what’s known as a gregarious introvert!)

Authors and speakers like Susan Cain, author of Quiet Revolution: Unlocking the Power of Introverts, and Brene Brown have helped people all across the world to realise that it’s more than okay to be an introvert; in fact, we help the world go round, and we accomplish so much without beating our chests and banging our own drum. Introverts have marked and common traits, as do extroverts, keeping in mind of course that many of us are somewhere on this spectrum between the two.

Despite this, introverts the world over have flocked by buy Susan Cain’s book and watch the TED talks, read the many blogs on the subjects and yes, like me, even secretly relish all the memes flooding cyberspace!


It’s freeing and somehow comforting in a truly mammalian way to find your tribe and feel as if you fit in. For some of us, finding the MBTI and the ‘introverts’ movement has been both life-saving and an intellectual curiosity. But does it help when dating?

Jessica Alderson says, “dating is energy-draining for anyone, but even more so for us introverts…the thought of making small talk with a stranger …makes me want to crawl under my duvet.”

To help similar introverted types, Jessica and her sister set up syncd, which they claim is the first dating app and website that matches complementary Myers-Briggs types. “It’s also great for busy extroverts who have little time for dating,” she writes. (And let’s keep in mind that opposites also attract – sometimes a great relationship grows in the differences between extroverts and introverts.)

The So Syncd concept relies on the inherent matches in the MBTI system – that as an INFJ for instance, I am likely to be drawn to similar types like INFPs or ENFJs for example.

Jessica acknowledges though that personality isn’t everything – there are multiple factors that affect who we date and mate, or who we strive to meet at the very least.

But there’s no denying the vital role and generally great feeling when people just ‘get’ each other. Sadly, in my experience that doesn’t necessarily mean they are relationship material. It might mean that the date roars along with all the right signs, and then the next day you find yourself ghosted for no known reason! It happens – all the time. So, a reminder not to invest too much in the idea of ‘type’ compatibility.

Jessica also raises the importance of self-awareness (knowing your type and reading up on it can be fun and enlightening!) I guarantee some ‘aha’ moments, and if you’re anything like me when I discovered the wealth of content written about my type (INFJ), I spent many happy hours reading up on myself! Though I write that with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek, Jessica points out that self-awareness helps you to become the best version of yourself.

Hence on this app, much like OK Cupid – which began as a personality-type based concept – you’ll start with 40 questions to answer over 5 to 10 minutes. If you know your MBTI, you can skip this part and head to the action.

And on the topic of the MBTI, Jessica celebrates its power as a tool to help us understand our weaknesses, strengths, blind spots, how we act when we’re stressed and what we have in common with others. May moons ago in pre-internet days, my corporate workplace paid a hefty sum for all staff to be analysed for their Myers-Briggs type, and then workshop our commonalities and our differences! This can help you understand other people better too, especially your colleagues or family members.

Jessica also says that you’re more likely to meet similar people on her app, who are looking for a meaningful connection. Too early to tell, I’d say, but it’s a nice idea, especially if we can do away with superficial swiping based on looks alone.

Other benefits she cites for her new app is the ability to build resilience through understanding that different people find different traits attractive (ie, not to take rejections personally); and the ability to skip the small talk. On this point, they have available summaries of each type and suggestions for the ideal date. Hmm, intriguing.

The cynic in me says that, if the vibes aren’t right, I won’t want to dissect our MBTI crossovers and harmonies no matter how aligned our test results say we are!

One of the appealing aspects of this new personality-type based dating app idea is that you can let the system do the hard work for you. If you want to choose your ‘ideal type’ yourself that’s open to you, but you cal also click ‘choose for me’ to let the algorithms loose. “Either way, you get a compatibility percentage for each person, can search for people in any location and see who has liked you, or you can get a list of suggested matches,” Jessica explains.

If you’re intrigued by this concept and keen to give it a go, you might want to read up a little beforehand on your love language or check out their Facebook page.

Love to know your thoughts on this new development in the comments!