Dr. B's Weekly Roundup: Swipe Right

Jacqueline Raposo
Jacqueline Raposo
Dec 16, 2022
A color indoor photograph of a Black man with short brown hair wearing a long tan shirt and jeans and a white woman with long red hair wearing a long white shirt and jeans. They're on a bed with a bowl of popcorn, talking and laughing with each other.

Welcome to the Dr. B Weekly Roundup, a curated weekly healthcare email that cuts through the noise to deliver vetted reads on whole-body health. Remote work. The overturn of Roe v. Wade. Conversations about vaccination status… Healthcare issues have transformed how we date + have sex. So this week, let’s look at the technology helping us date safer + access related healthcare services faster. Plus, the latest news + to-do’s around this (oh-so dramatic) cold + flu season.

  • The Checkup: food + fun + safety
  • Swipe Right: dating + sex + tech
  • Healthcare: viruses + semen stoppers

The Check-Up: 

Healthcare issues rock sex + singledom

A color indoor photograph of young Black woman with an afro haircut laying on a brown couch, surrounded by a few plants. She's wearing a short silky robe, headphones and a face mask and looking at her phone.

80% of respondents in Match’s 2022 Singles in America study have altered their approach to dating + sex because of the Roe V. Wade overturn. They’re more hesitant to have sex + relying more on condoms to avoid accidental pregnancy. One-third say Covid-19 continues to affect their dating lives. But only 40% require a partner to be fully vaccinated—a 7% drop from last year. The pandemic changed some things for the better, though. Singletons commit to mental health practices, explore their sexuality + view sex as self-care more now than pre-pandemic. They’re more open to dating transgender and gender non-binary singles + traveling further for a hot date, too. Read the study for more.

Online dating is NOT killing your brain

A color outdoor photograph of a young white woman and man in New York City during Christmas. They're wearing winter jackets and holding bags, smiling and laughing as they cross the street.

According to biological anthropologist + Match chief science advisor Helen Fisher, not much about love, lust or commitment has changed in the last 3,000 years. Online dating is not eroding our brains. We’re not having more or less sex than the generations before us. And while we’ll feel cranky if we binge-swipe profiles everywhere from the couch to the gym, we’d be as exhausted if looking for love in a room with endless IRL options swirling around us. Fisher has contributed much to the science of online coupling over decades as the author of five books and co-author of that yearly Match report. But she believes a bit of the timeless intangible comes into play, too. So if you’re single and exhausted from the game, here's more of her scientific + soothing support.

Dating app or STD tracker?

A color outdoor photograph of a young white woman with long brown hair and a young Black woman with her black hair tied up. They're wearing long sweaters and black N95 masks, cuddling together as they take a selfie.

Nurses have found a new way to find patients exposed to an STD—Grindr. In the past, contract tracers would interview infected individuals + reach out to exposed contacts by phone. But when casual daters don’t get those digits, the nurses get creative. Using Grindr’s geo-tagging capabilities, they log in + keep an eye out for specific profiles. When one is close by, they send a message asking for a chat. 75% of the time, they make contact. The dating app most used by LGBTQ+ people, healthcare providers have also used Grindr to spread public health campaigns about things like mpox, meningitis and free clinics to the hardest hit communities. Historically attuned to STD vigilance, the info is usually well received. Will this approach spread to other dating apps? We can only hope.

Healthcare 411

In the hunt for a male contraceptive, scientists look to stop sperm in their tracks (NPR). Ovaries release one or two eggs a month. But every milliliter of semen contains 15-200 million sperm. For birth control to stop sperm from impregnating, that number has to get below 1 million. This makes birth control options for semen-wielding humans complicated to create. Scientists hope to perfect gel, pill and injection options.... in eight to ten years. So don’t hold your breath. (And keep buying condoms.)

Flu surged after Thanksgiving, as early season continues to worsen (CNN). All but seven states currently face high or very high respiratory virus rates. Covid-19 infections doubled last week. And hospitals average 80% capacity—but Covid patients fill only 6% of those beds. Here’s why the CDC hopes masking up again will soften the surge. And here’s how to spot flu symptoms in children.

Scientists finally figure out why you're more likely to get sick in cold weather (Healthline). When detecting a virus or bacteria, our nasal cells release extracellular vesicles that surround + attack. (This is why symptoms start in our nose and may not do much damage from there.) But new research shows that a 9°F drop in temperature can reduce that cellular response by about 40%. To fight the odds, increase your vitamin C intake—vitamin C enhances mucus membranes + boosts immunity. Hand washing, masking, covering your mouth while sneezing/coughing + isolating when sick make a difference, too.

Back to Blog

Sign up for the free Dr. B newsletter for a weekly report on the latest in healthcare + research-based advice for staying healthy and mentally well.