Woman holding a cell phone with a dating app open that says, "it's a match"

STDs and Online Dating Statistics

Dating App Usage, Casual Sex, and the Transmission of STDs

The dating app industry experienced a surge of new users during the COVID-19 pandemic, as quarantined adults across the nation looked for what they craved most: human connection. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, in 2021, 30% of American adults, or approximately 77.5 million individuals, reported that they have either used dating apps in the past or were currently using one. Furthermore, 11% of adults reported having used a dating app within the past year, equaling roughly 28.4 million adults in the United States. Although dating apps facilitated much-needed human interaction during a time of uncertainty and isolation for many adults, their continued increased use by new and regular users could have increased the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Dating Can Be Casual but Safe Sex is Serious

Dating apps allow users to date outside of their friend groups, workplaces, and the regulars at their favorite coffee shops or bars. While the opportunity to date “outside the pond” is a perk for most users that want to avoid messy breakups or awkward blind dates, the lack of real-life strings attached to matches online results in a more casual approach to dating. Casual dating can be great for some, who, for a variety of reasons, may not be looking for serious and long-term commitment at the time. However, one of the downsides of casual dating is the tendency for participants to omit or gloss over serious conversations about safe sexual practices and histories of STDs or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Do Not Blindly Trust Strangers with Your Physical Health

Dating apps allow people to be more anonymous than in real life, which can be a serious problem for users looking to report harassment, assault, or threats from other users. While certain apps require users to verify their identity with their phone number, email address, or Facebook profile, these identity verification methods are not airtight. The average adult probably does not have multiple phone numbers or Facebook profiles. Still, predatory individuals looking to exploit the security weaknesses of dating apps can easily create various forms of identification to swap between accounts when one account gets reported or banned. This anonymity factor directly impacts the accountability individuals feel about disclosing STD or STI status information and prevents users that contracted an STD or STI from another user from being able to inform the person they were with or inform the app that a specific user is knowingly giving partners STDs or STIs.

High-Risk Behaviors to Avoid

A review published in the BMJ reported that users that found sexual partners through location-based apps tended to have more sexual partners than non-users in the same amount of time. As a result, users were more prone to participate in the following high-risk behaviors:

  • Failure to discuss STD status with sexual partners
  • Decreased time between partners, leading to a shorter transmission time for STIs
  • Decreased safe sex practices such as:
    • Sexual intercourse without a condom
    • Anal intercourse without a condom
    • Group sexual intercourse with varying degrees of protection

Have you contracted an STD from a Sexual Partner?

If you or someone you know has contracted an STD from a sexual partner and are considering pursuing legal action, having a lawyer that will protect your privacy while advocating for you is critical. At KMD Law we are committed to fighting for victims of sexual assault & sexually transmitted diseases and understand that these lawsuits are sensitive and complex in nature.

Contact us today at (833) 456-3529.