Love

The hottest love and sex trends of 2013: The end of online dating, coregasm workouts, pinning porn and more!

July 30, 2014 at 4:38 PM ET

From the end of online dating to the rise of sex toys, we talked to the experts to figure out the hottest—and oddest—love, sex and dating trends for 2013. Consider yourself warned!

The end of online dating
Traffic for the 10 most popular dating sites flatlined last year, according to the analytics firm comScore. That's not all: AskMen.com's 2012 Great Male Survey show that just 9 percent of men would prefer to meet a woman online. "People are realizing that chemistry is the most important factor and are extremely frustrated with fake or inaccurate profiles," says Rachel DeAlto, a flirt and relationship expert. And a recent study from Northwestern University found that it isn't any easier to meet someone online than it is at a bar, which may be why many online dating sites like Match.com, HowAboutWe.com and OkCupid.com are now planning mixers to help singles get face-time (the kind that doesn't require an iPhone—remember that?).

We're exercising—and orgasming because of It
The newest exercise trend should give you all the motivation to get to the gym you need. In a recent study from the Kinsey Institute, 45 percent of women say they've experienced either an exercise-induced orgasm or exercise-induced pleasure—proving that the "coregasm" is more than just a rumor. "When I wrote about our coregasm research in my book, I described the kinds of exercises women reported having orgasms from," said study coauthor, Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and author of Sex Made Easy. What followed: a slew of workout routines from places such as Women's Health, TheFrisky.com and the TV show The Doctors designed to improve your odds of orgasming while working out. Moaning like Meg Ryan in the middle of the gym isn't your style? Crunch Gym also added KAMA Sensual, a class that's supposed to strengthen your pelvis and boost your sex drive.

The rise of sex toys and bondage
This is the year you'll be brave enough to experiment with kegel beads, rope, binding tape, spanking paddles —and who knows what else. The reason? The now-ubiquitous Fifty Shades of Grey. The naughty trilogy by E.L. James has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide, inspiring several companies to sell toys similar to the ones Anastasia Steele uses in the books. Lelo, the manufacturer of Kegel beads (what Christian gives to Anastasia to use in the book) is reporting a whopping 400-percent increase in sales this year. The beads—small, weighted spheres held together by a string or exterior structure—are inserted vaginally for added sensation during sex or just as a kinky connection with your partner when worn at other times, since the movement of the beads inside can be arousing. Added bonus: Kegel beads can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles!

And it's not just interest in Kegel beads that's picking up. "I'm also seeing a sparked interest in toys and sexual accessories generally," says relationship and sex expert Ian Kerner. "Many companies are making them more readily available and without the cultural taboo." Condom maker Trojan has a new line of vibrators while Fifty Shades of Greysex kits are also available, featuring toys and, of course, a silk gray tie.

Porn? Now you can pin it
Women across the country spent countless hours on Pinterest in 2012, drooling over food and fashion porn. But—to the dismay of men everywhere—actual porn isn't allowed on the site (the terms say users agree not to post "profane" or "otherwise objectionable" content). Enter a bunch of new knockoffs that look like Pinterest, but with NSFW pics. On Snatchly, users "snatch" photos of flesh from across the web to save it to different "pornboards." Sex.com re-launched in May as a place for users to pin scandalous pictures and videos to share with other porn-lovers. There's also a PinPorn.com. Since recent Nielsen/Net ratings show that about one-third of the people looking at erotic websites are now female (almost 13 million women in the U.S. checking out porn online each month!), more ladies will be logging on to get off this year.

Getting dating advice online from strangers
Even the best of friends can get a little annoyed when you ask them for the third (tenth or 100th) time to analyze a text message from your crush. Now you can skip the eye-rolling with a new crop of services that give you crowd-surfed dating advice. The most famous example: HeTexted.com, which lets women post texts from men so its community can vote on whether he’s into her, not into her or the verdict is still out. The site launched in October and had 1.4 million people visit within five weeks. "No matter who you are or what kind of relationship you're in, you've thought twice about a message from a significant other," says Carrie Henderson McDermott, co-founder and CMO of the site. But HeTexted.com isn't the only place where you can let online strangers weigh in on the relationship questions. 

More fakeups
You've seen it with Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, and also with Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. But celebs aren't the only one obsessed with fake-ups: According to a new Match.com poll, 50 percent of women have given an ex a second chance (compared to 43 percent of men)—and 27 percent of people in their 20s have gone through more than three rounds of being on-again, off-again. Why is getting back with your ex so alluring? Social media! When a relationship ends, it's easy to remember the happier times—especially if you're constantly reminded of your ex on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and everything else, says Diana Kirschner, relationship expert and author of Find Your Soulmate Online in 6 Simple Steps. Social platforms also push updates about your ex's relationship status—so it's easy to be drawn back into the drama if you see your ex has possibly moved on to someone else or is happy without you. It also doesn't help that women are more forgiving than men. In a recent survey from online dating site OurTime.com, 46 percent of women said they would be willing to try to work things out after a relationship fell apart because of cheating, whereas only 37 percent of men said the same.

Monthly sex subscriptions to spice it up
Following the trend of sites like Birchbox that send you beauty swag each month, subscription-based sex kits are now showing up in mailboxes across the country. Déjàmor.com offers monthly gifts, each one containing two boxes filled with sultry props and instructions: one "for his eyes only" and one "for her eyes only" (starting at $34.95 for one month). Bedroom Chemist sends out a "Chemist’s Kit" to subscribers every six weeks with sexy products like massage candles or a balm designed to spice up foreplay (starting at $49.99 for one month). And if you join Boink Box, you can pick between the Make Out Box for $25/mo (includes lube and small sexy items), the $50 Monthly Box (lube, sex toys and other fun items) or the quarterly Luxury box for $85 (luxury toys, lube and surprises). Bonus: They all come in unmarked boxes, so you don't have to worry about any awkward run-ins at your mailbox.

The rise of the proud single girl
Women will be way more focused on their careers in 2013 than tying the knot. "Women have risen in power, and when they have their own economic means for survival, there is less pressure to combine resources with one man for life," says Wendy Walsh, author of The 30-Day Love Detox. According to data released last year from the National Center for Health Statistics, 38 percent of women today have never been married—compared to 33 percent in 1995. And A-list starlets are setting the flying-solo example: Baby Kimye's parents haven't announced plans to get married and ScarJo is the latest celeb to put off marriage: "To me, being in a functioning relationship doesn't mean you have to be married," Scarlett Johansson recently told Elle UK. "[Marriage has] no relevance to me right now. I'm not having kids any time soon, I'm in a nice relationship, I'm working a lot and, like I said, it's not important to me."

Cougars are NBD
Demi and Ashton might not be together anymore, but their legacy is still going strong: Season four of Cougar Town just kicked off on TBS, 67-year-old Priscilla Presley was recently seen smooching 40-year-old BBC star Toby Anstis and 43-year-old Jennifer Lopez is dating 25-year-old Casper Smart. The more women we see dating down when it comes to age, the less of a stigma there is attached to the idea of being a cougar, says Patti Stanger, star of Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker and author of Become Your Own Matchmaker. In fact, the dating site CougarLife.com saw a 53 percent jump in users from 2011 to 2012. "It's going to be more of a trend now because women are taking better care of themselves than men," says Stanger, who's currently dating David Krause, a mortgage broker who’s 8 years her junior: "Men will be more and more likely to approach older women because we look just as good as women their age."

Finding love via Facebook
Some of the latest matchmaking services use Facebook as a way to vet members: Grouper, for example, is a site that sets up drinks between two sets of friends—three men and three women. But before members can go on a group date, an employee checks out their Facebook profiles to help make a better match. Sites like Yoke.me and Coffee Meets Bagel take a different approach: using members' Facebook accounts to search for single friends of friends that might be a good match. And another app called RelationBook sorts your Facebook friends based on their relationship status so you can easily see if that guy you met once and friended is on the market. Of course, you don't need any of these to click through your friend's pics in search of potential mates. "More singles are looking at Facebook as a way to expand their network of matches," says DeAlto. "They are seeing a picture of a friend of a friend, and either asking the mutual friend to connect them, or reaching out themselves." Let's just keep the poking offline.

We're saving our v-card
Late bloomers are a recurring theme in books and TV shows these days: There's Shoshana from HBO's Girls, Sophia Swanson from MTV's Underemployed, and Bliss Edwards from The New York Times bestseller Losing It. But waiting until your 20s to have sex for the first time isn't just a fictional trend. According to recent reports from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the percentage of sexually-active teens is on the decline: The most recent stats show that only 43 percent of teenage girls have lost their virginity, compared to 51 percent in the late 1980s. "Women are holding onto their virginity longer because there’s been more thorough sex education in schools and parents are finally talking to their children about sex," says Emily Morse, sex and relationship expert and host of the Sex with Emily podcast. "With sex being so pervasive in pop culture, it has forced parents to have 'the talk' with their kids at a younger age, while in the past they might have waited or not have had the conversation at all." Add a lessening of the 'stigma' attached to virginity and new research that shows that people who lose their virginity later than average tend to be happier with their relationships during adulthood—there's a good argument for not giving it away.

More women are cheating
While men are still more likely to cheat than women, the gap is closing: 19 percent of women fessed up to cheating, compared to 23 percent of men, according to a study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. That falls in line with the uptick in female users on the adulterous matchmaking site AshleyMadison.com. "When women started entering the workplace in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, we saw a big increase in infidelity because for the first time women were interacting with other men regularly and had the opportunity to cheat," says founder and CEO Noel Biderman. "But now that sites like AshleyMadison.com and Facebook are making it easier to stray, there's been another spike—to the point where we're seeing female infidelity approach male levels. Women are even seeking out male 'mistresses' to fulfill their sexual aspirations—whether it's a firefighter, a cop, or a younger man."

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

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