The loss of bodily autonomy isn’t very sexy.
Ask any single 20- or 30-something about dating, and there’s a good chance they’ll give you an answer that’s more or less the same: It’s rough out there. Ghosting and are-we-or-aren’t-we situationships plague almost every dating experience — and now, single people are also taking the overturning of Roe v. Wade into consideration.
What can only be described as an attack on women everywhere, the June 2022 nullification of the landmark 1973 decision put an end to the federal right to abortion access, making the matter a state-by-state issue moving forward. The overturning of Roe has not only left a disheartening mark on the future of reproductive rights, but it’s also impacting the daily lives of single people.
According to Match’s 12th annual “Singles in America” study, which surveyed 5,000 U.S. singles between the ages of 18 to 98, singles have been shying away from dating and sex since the Roe decision. Among those of reproductive age surveyed, nearly 80% said the Supreme Court’s decision has impacted their sex lives, and 13% of those actively going on dates shared that they’re more hesitant than ever to meet someone new. The study also found that two out of three women will not date a partner with opposing views on abortion.
"Singles are no longer shy about their political and cultural views, with a range of issues that are impacting their sense of security in all aspects of life," study co-author Dr. Justin Garcia, an evolutionary biologist, executive director of Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, and a scientific advisor at Match said in a news release. "We're also beginning to see the profound effects the overturning of Roe v. Wade has had on daters as they seek and form new relationships. … Today's singles are demanding a new era of socially responsible dating."
There is a silver lining to these findings. While we’ve taken a large step back as a country, the overturning of Roe has empowered people to become more politically active, per CNBC. The number of women who registered to vote shot up 35% in 10 states post-Roe, and in an October 2022 survey from Kaiser Family Foundation, 50% of voters said the ruling increased their eagerness to vote in this year’s midterms. According to Match’s findings, having a political opinion is vital to singles: 31% of those surveyed said not having an opinion on key issues is a dealbreaker, up from 16% in 2017, while 58% said it's a deal breaker if a potential partner isn't open-minded on key issues.
At the end of the day, pleasure is inherently political; it makes sense that, especially now, single people would rather have meaningful conversations with partners who are informed and emotionally intelligent (another finding from Match) enough to understand as much. The issues playing out in court rooms and government buildings go beyond heated headlines. They impact everyday lives — even dating.