Ghosting, Sexting and Sliding Into Dms: The Dating Lives of Today’s Students

Voxburner Content Team

We all know the clichés of Millennial dating: endless swiping and anxiety-inducing situationships. With little research having been done yet into Gen Z’s dating lives, we decided it was time to find out what sex and relationships mean to them, and surveyed over 5000 Student Beans users around the UK and US. Here’s our guide to the trends dominating the dating world for today’s 16-24s:

Social dating

While apps are the go-to when Millennials are looking for a date, as the first entirely digital native generation, Gen Z are more likely to find a partner via social media. Our survey found that more students have had a relationship with someone they met on Snapchat or Instagram than a dating app. Students who do use apps are mainly just browsing, with only 56% of them ever having used an app to arrange a date or hookup.



Sadly, ghosting (cutting contact with someone you’re dating without notice) is prevalent among today’s students. 43% of UK students have been ghosted and 47% have ghosted someone. Interestingly, while each gender was equally likely to have been ghosted, females were more likely than males to ghost someone. This suggests they feel less comfortable ending things, whether from fear of how the person will react or anxiety about modern dating etiquette.


Gen Z are very comfortable sharing intimate photos, videos and messages via digital technology. 74% of UK students surveyed have received a sext and 68% have sent one. Additionally, 25% have had phone sex and 24% video sex. Rather than seeing a difference between the online and ‘real world’, technology runs through all parts of their lives, and sex is no exception.


Hookup culture

Hookup culture is typically associated with Millennials, but Gen Z are also open to one night stands. 20% have had multiple one night stands, 18% have just had one, and 25% haven’t but would consider it. Only 37% were against the idea. However, the average student is not vastly experienced, with the most common number of sexual partners being just one. Interestingly, males were more likely both to be virgins and to have had more than 30 partners.

Alternative relationships

Generally, Gen Z have a progressive, open-minded attitude to relationships, and this is reflected by the significant group who would consider an open or polyamorous relationship. While only 3% are in an open relationship and 1% polyamorous, only around a quarter of UK students see these as morally wrong. 21% are open to an open relationship and 14% would consider polyamory.

Interested in learning more about student lifestyle trends and how to market your brand to this exciting, forward-thinking demographic? Click here to find out more about Student Beans.


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