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Trojans wear Trojans: Students navigate sex, dating and hookup culture amid the pandemic

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(Arielle Chen | Daily Trojan) Isabel Castillo was looking for some excitement in her life. It was February, the height of cuffing season, and she had just gotten out of a long-term relationship two months prior. Castillo, a senior majoring in journalism, had never tried dating apps before. But she figured: Why not give women-friendly Bumble a shot?

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, the online dating market was shrinking. However, as people were driven indoors in March, increased feelings of isolation led to a spike in online dating, with Dating.com reporting that 82% of its single members have turned to virtual platforms for romance to boost their well-being.

After a few weeks of swiping, Castillo wanted to meet a match she had been chatting with, but it was March and pandemic restrictions were already in place in Los Angeles. They agreed to what felt like a safe date — a socially-distanced, outdoor walk where they could wear masks the whole time.

“Then we decided to hang out in his apartment,” Castillo said. “We kind of maintained social distancing. But obviously that didn’t happen [after] like 10 minutes.”

College has long provided an apt environment for young people looking to explore their […]

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