What dating and marriage trends did we follow in the 00s?
It's hard, in the midst of things, to see our romantic interactions and feelings as mere trends. But our love lives and how we conduct them are, like everything else, conditioned in part by the time in which we live. Here are the top 10 love and relationship trends of the decade.
1. Online Dating Took Off
Ten years ago, online dating was pretty much just for losers. But last year, 80 percent of singles had gone online to find dates, according to Cosmopolitan.
2. We Wondered If We Were A Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte Or Miranda
Sex and the City was such a phenomenon in the early 00s, we had to ask ourselves: am I a Carrie (seemingly together, but really clueless), Samantha (sex-crazy and confident), Charlotte (optimistic and WASPy), or Miranda (fragile beneath a skeptical veneer)? Of course, many of us were more than just one.
3. We Grappled With The Concept Of "Friends With Benefits"
So you wanted to get it on, but you didn't want to deal with the hassles of courting or wooing or falling in love with another person? Enter "friends with benefits," the hottest way to get physical if you were a noncommittal young(ish) person in the 00s.
The scientists figured it all out: For guys (hetero- and homosexual guys), that meant simply sleeping with all the hotties in your friend circle, while avoiding the irksome hassles of jealousy and expectation. For heterosexual gals, more often than not, it meant convincing ourselves that a lot of our more subtle emotional needs were less important than our physical needs (but we often thought differently after we'd done it).
Sure, these are generalizations, but clearly many of the-so-called "friendships" that went down over the past decade left one half satisfied and the other still longing.
4. Porn Went Mainstream
We were on our way to the porn store when we came across Jenna Jameson at Barnes and Noble. And Ron Jeremy on network TV. And Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks making a low-budget skin flick. And our copulating next door neighbors getting it on on our computers. In the 2000s, porn became as commonplace as high fructose syrup (and, thanks to food watchdogs, we came to know that stuff was everywhere). Porn: When It Helps & When It Hurts
5. We Overshared
We texted, emailed, and IMed our dates. We Friendstered, Facebooked and Twittered every feeling we had about them afterwards. We posted pictures of ourselves hugging men on Flickr and videos of ourselves kissing women on YouTube. We wrote revealing blogs about all the people we slept with and boring songs that we then posted on MySpace. Maybe we communicated a little TOO much in the 2000s. Yes, we probably did. Facebook Manners And You
5. We Learned He Just Wasn't That Into Us And That A Bunch Of Losers Thought We Were Part Of Their "Game"
Self-help books were as popular as ever in the 2000s, with one biggie offering up a dose of tough love and the other supposedly teaching men how to romantically manipulate us. Were their messages better or worse than what came before, or were they a lot of the same old same old? We're not sure. And for that matter, the authors might not be sure either. We'll figure it out some day—or we'll be too distracted by living life to worry about it. Top 10 Relationship Books Of The 00s
6. Cougars Came Out Of The Closet
Cameron Diaz taught us we could get it on with a much younger man, while Demi Moore and Mira Sorvino showed us we could marry one. Televisions were graced with shows like The Cougar and Cougar Town. Websites cropped up for both cougars and cougar hunters. And bookstores saw multiple printings of Cougar: A Guide for Older Women Dating Younger Men. But, hey, older men have been doing it for a long time; what took us so long? 5 Reasons Being A Cougar Rocks
7. Webcams/Skype Made Long-Distance Relationships Easier
Where once the old love letter or phone call was all that kept long-distance couples in contact, in the 2000s, every separated Smith, Brown, and Johnson became a visually connected Jetson. Thanks to webcams and Skype, couples on opposite sides of the world were suddenly able to have face-to-face conversations. Sometimes those conversations were erotic, sometimes just chatty. In any case, phone sex took on a whole new meaning. How To Make Long-Distance Love Work
8. We Were Bored By Sex Tapes
When Pam and Tommy's sex tape first leaked in 1998, the world was shocked. But by the time the 2000s rolled around, we were all pretty bored. Paris Hilton in night vision? Yawn. Dr. McSteamy and his Noxzema wife carrying on with a third party? Who cares? Sex tapes in the 2000s were like music videos in the 1980s: typically tacky, poorly directed and not always able to hold our attention. Make Your Best Sex Tape Yet
9. Same Sex Marriage Entered The National Debate
In the 1990s, it was all about "don't ask don't tell." But in the 2000s, it turned into "I do" or "you can't." Over the course of the decade, 31 states put same sex marriage on the ballot—and all 31 shot it down.
At the same time, five states legalized same-sex marriage (with only one, California, eventually overturning it), several cities and townships decided that gay marriage was legal within their limits regardless of what their states said, and over half a dozen nations around the world (ranging from Canada to South Africa) decided that vows were just as legitimate between two men or two women as they were between one of each.
10. Divorce Rates, While Still High, Continued To Decline
For much of the 2000s, we were told that traditional marriage was on its last legs, what with all the single ladies, gay couples (see #9) and, heaven help us, enormous divorce rates.
But here's the funny thing about the past decade. Despite all the hee-hawing we heard from "traditionalists" and "defenders of marriage," people who were married actually STAYED married in higher numbers than they had in years. In fact, by the tail end of 2009, divorce rates were the lowest they'd been in thirty years.
So, if you believe in love and marriage, that's at least one nice indicator we can put in our pockets as we head into the 2010s.