a-z of millennial dating

i-D talks about what defines dating in this generation: trust us, Gen Z are doing it better than ever before.

by i-D Staff
|
08 December 2015, 8:40am

Asexuality
Newsflash: people can be asexual and still wanna date! There's as many different types of of asexuality as there are asexual people. Conceive of asexuality as a spectrum, not a hard and fast orientation. Gray-Asexuals feel like they fall somewhere between asexuality and sexuality. Plus, even if asexual people don't feel sexual attraction, they can still experience romantic, intellectual or emotion attraction: and date away.

Blue is the Warmest Colour
We see this as one of the greatest romantic films of the decade. A portrait of two women falling in love, Blue Is The Warmest Colour painted a more intimate portrait of a lesbian relationship than any mainstream film that came before it. Adèle Exarchopoulos, the film's lead, told i-D "I still feel very moved when people come to me in the street to thank me. To me Blue fights for freedom."

Photography Chloe Nour

Consent
You can't go without it. Consent is the most crucial thing in any romance, and it's easy to confirm with simple questions-without ruining the mood. Try asking "can I kiss you?" or "do you like this?" We hate to sound like a high-school sex ed class, but maybe and later also mean no.

DM's
Don't pretend you've never slid into them. Twitter and Instagram DM's are for two things: sending memes to your friends, and hitting up your internet crush.

Photography Imogen Wilson

eHarmony
It's making a comeback. No joke. As Tinder--our old faithful--floods with more and more men crouching by sedated tigers, people are returning to the OG dating sites to find love.

Femme
Femme people have a hard time dating. Femme girls who like girls are often read as straight, just because they don't 'look' like lesbians are presumed to. That means the queer community ignores them, and straight dudes hassle them: it's a dating nightmare. But we're not saying femme is about womanhood: gender non-conforming people can be femme too.

Photography Freja Esders

Grindr
Grindr was the first dating app to use geolocation, so you knew how close by your fellow users were. By now, the format is standard, but back in 2010 (when the app first arrived on the market) people were awed by the concept of sex-in-an-app. The Guardian sincerely asked "could it work in the straight market?" Obviously, it can-and does-but we'll get to that later. For now, it's fair to say Grindr began our first smartphone sexual revolution.

HIV
Thankfully, fewer and fewer people with HIV are developing AIDS, but HIV diagnoses themselves are on the rise, and stigma surrounding isn't going away. This year, Mykki Blanco came out as HIV positive, and a new wave of contemporary artists pushed to demystify the pathogen. We might think HIV is a thing of the past, but STIs are part of climbing into bed with anyone, albeit one that's easy to avoid. Rae Sremm nailed our outlook in one song: Safe Sex, Pay Checks.

Instagram @-Couples
There are irl it-couples, and then there are online @-couples. You know the ones: the beautiful pairs who show up in each-other's Instagram feed all the time. Think Charlie Barker and Rebecca Fox, or Joana Kutcha and Joe Fahy. They're a uniquely millennial phenomenon-which we love to fawn over. When it comes to social media and your own relationship, there are no hard and fast rules. You can turn your profiles into shrines dedicated to your significant other, or keep everything totally offline. As with so much of Gen Z dating: anything goes.

Photography Imogen Wilson

Justin Bieber
You must remember the first celebrity crush you had. If Bieber came a little to late, maybe you fell for Gordo from Lizzie McGuire, Carmen from Spy Kids or any Hanson brother. There's always going to be a place in your heart for the the pop star that introduced you to love, and if Bieber wasn't raising your pulse then, he probably is now.

Kissing
No matter the generation you were born in, some things are always special.

Love
See: Kissing. Some things never change.

Photography Charlie White

Money
Footing the bill isn't a man's job anymore, and it hasn't been for a long time. Kids these days shout each-other's meals and drinks when they can, but never feel like they have to.

Orgasms
Essential. Nicki Minaj told Cosmopolitan "I demand that I climax. I think women should demand that," and she's right.

Nude
Take a nude every day. If you've got a smartphone, there's no excuse not to. Don't even send it to anyone, just hold onto to it remind yourself of how hot you are. Or, send it to your mates and let them revel in your beauty.

Photography Chloe Nour

Polyamory
Monogamy isn't dead: it's still something plenty of Gen Z kids are into. But more and more people are falling for Polyamory. There's plenty of different ways to practise Polyamory, but the one thing they all share is being about more than just fucking: Polyamory is about being open to romantic relationships with more than one person at once. For some people, that might mean having a primary partner and secondary lovers. Or, it could look more like a three-way relationship. Either way, Gen Z are experimental with shapes and traditions.

Queer
The Gen Z dating pool is full of amazing Queer kids, though that's a word which means something different to every single person who claims it. It's more than a sexual orientation, it's an identity in and of itself. It might suggest who you're attracted to, but it might just refer to who you are: something that doesn't quite fit into the binaries. Nowadays, love stories do without the gendering of 'boy meets girl'.

Romance
Don't act like Gen Z have ruined romance by using Snapchat or dating a couple people at once. If anything, we've got more love going around than ever before. And those truly romantic gestures aren't deadened by the internet, they're enhanced: you can deliver flowers to someone in a different country and sing somebody to sleep over Skype.

Photography Chloe Nour

Star Signs
Gen Z kids know their sign, and they'll probably ask what yours is too. Astrology has come back into vogue lately; it's no longer the domain of your bohemian great aunt. We know people who won't go on dates with anyone whose sign is incompatible with their own. Two best friends even made an astrological dating app, so you can find the sign that's right for you.

Tinder
We had to put this here: it's a millennial must have, and not just for sex. People have met their spouses on this app, so at this point, making jokes about Tinder is beyond passé. Much like making fun of the Kardashians, it's just plain boring. Both are cultural phenomena people engage with without irony: make sure you didn't miss that memo.

Umbrella
If Blue Is The Warmest Colour is the film of this generation, Rihanna's Umbrella is the first song on the Gen Z ♥ playlist. We'd also add All The Things She Said by t.A.T.u, If I Were A Boy and Someone Like You to that mixtape. Plus,we'd wager you kissed somebody at a party while the Arctic MonkeysorThe XX were playing and fancied yourself a character on Skins. When the sun shines, we'll shine together.

Photography Charlie White

Vibrators
Theses aren't a secret anymore: they're conversation starter.

Weddings
Despite the expanded possibilities for relationships in the 21st century, some people still wanna settle down with somebody. We know plenty of hot young couples who are wearing ring. Take creative power couple Chloe Nour and her husband James Freeman, or photographer Elizabeth De La Peidra and her producer husband Josh Young.

XOXO
Some combination of those letters closes your emails and texts--unless you're more of a cheers or an ily kind of person. Obviously, emailing and texting are an inextricable part of modern relationships, because they're part of modern life. Fights, heart-to-hearts and a whole lot of stuff in-between will happen over text. Of coursing, sexting gets our blessing.

Young Love
We're young, not dumb. First loves feel big because they are, and falling in love when you're young still means something.

Z
Gen Z don't have dating figured out: but nobody will. It's messy, but it's more fun than ever before.