Research Shows That Power PDA Is Making a Comeback, But Where Did It Go?

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Through recent research done at Bumble, one of Australia’s leading dating apps, they predict that PDA will be back in 2022 in a big way.

With more than two in three (65 percent) of Australian Bumble users being more open to public displays of affection post-pandemic, it leaves me wondering why we’ve been so judgemental about PDA in the past?

It’s almost as though PDA went out of fashion for a while. Maybe we grew too cool for school, we got used to pretending that we didn’t need constant love and physical affection. But then Covid happened and we were forced into lockdowns and we were so starved of human touch that we decided to get over ourselves and PDA made a comeback.

IDK, just a theory.

“I think that as we breakdown the taboos around sexuality, sexual health and sex education, we are slowly opening all cultures up to a more open mind around PDA,” says Sexologist Chantelle Otten

“I’m not really surprised that after months of starving physical touch, for many single Australians, we’re emerging out of lockdown with a real lust for PDA in any shape or form.”

Chantelle also thinks that in Australia, as we start to become more open and empowered around sex, we’ll probably find that our tolerance levels for PDA are a little higher, in that you may be more open to receiving it, or even witnessing it. 

I’m definitely guilty of rolling my eyes at excessive displays of PDA before lockdown. Having worked in a cocktail bar for over five years, I was so used to seeing PDA that crossed all the boundaries that my instant reaction became “ugh”. I was also a self-proclaimed single babe, which meant that being into excessive PDA wasn’t very on-brand for me.

Thinking back on it, I just didn’t want to be vulnerable. Aw, baby Laura. There was so much fear surrounding my relationships not working out that I’d rather be sassy and single than open and affectionate.

My judgement of others showing PDA stopped me from showing any PDA. Whether it be with a friend, sex friend or new date, touching made me feel uncomfortable (unless we were literally naked or totally alone). I’d be in a bar, on a date, thinking about what the bartenders were seeing and thinking, rather than just focusing on connecting with the person in front of me.

“If you’re embarrassed by PDA, there may be multiple reasons for this,” says Chantelle.

“Maybe simply  it’s not part of your love language, or you were taught to feel ashamed by PDA.  You may prefer to show moments of affection in private, you may prefer to talk deeply with your partner when in public or really strong and connected eye contact may be your thing. 

“While power PDA is on the rise for some, it may not be something that is part of all relationships. “

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I used to think PDA was lame. Until I fell in love.

While Chantelle is right, some people don’t really have touch in their love language, but I think it definitely becomes easier for everyone — regardless of love language — when you feel ready to be vulnerable with someone.

We all go through things in our lives that make us feel guarded. Showing that you care about someone is a difficult thing to do, because it shows vulnerabilities that can be scary to reveal, as there’s always the chance of rejection.

Having collectively gone through Covid, which TBH, has been an emotionally and physically jarring experience for all of us in differing ways, I think a lot of people are more open to giving and receiving affection, because we have a new appreciation for how important physical love is.

 “It makes sense that in this new normal we are craving physical affection more than we were pre-pandemic,” says Lucille McCart, Communications Director of Bumble, “and that this desire is spilling over into our public lives.”

“Right now, there is a palpable sense of excitement about the future, especially over summer, so I think it’s really healthy that people are feeling more confident to express themselves physically with their romantic partners.

“I think this trend applies to friendships in a way as well. I’ve never hugged my friends tighter than I have since coming out of lockdown!”

If you’re reading this right now, this is your daily reminder to hug your friends, kiss that cutie at the bar in front of whoever you want and don’t underestimate the power of physical touch. A simple hand hold could make your day.

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