31. Casual Relationships
There's no doubt about it: The 2010s were the decade of playing it cool, with everyone vaguely asking, "What are we?" With your next hookup a swipe away and Instagram and Snapchat providing you with 24/7 FOMO, relationships were presumed casual unless otherwise discussed through a “DTR” conversation. The past decade was obsessed with the shift away from traditional relationships and toward less structured connections that were all about living in the moment.
32. Galentine's Day
Celebrated on February 13, the day before Valentine's Day, Galentine's Day was coined in 2010 by Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation and is a holiday dedicated to the love you share with your lady and femme-identifying friends. Galentine's Day is now a widely-recognized holiday and beloved tradition.
33. Sharing Pronouns
Sharing your gender pronouns became a more widespread practice this decade. For trans and non-binary people, sharing pronouns in Instagram bios, on dating apps, in email signatures, and when meeting new people became a way to avoid being misgendered in conversation and subsequent dysphoria. And for allies, sharing pronouns helped to normalize the practice so the burden doesn't fall on the queer community. “They” was even named Merriam Webster Dictionary’s 2019 word of the year.
In 2014, when Nicki Minaj's released her ass-centric single "Anaconda," and Kim Kardashian "broke the internet" on the cover of Paper by baring it all, it became official: This was the decade of the butt. Women ran to surgically enhance their booties, with 227,000 Americans between the ages of 13-19 receiving cosmetic surgery in 2018. But let's be clear — the Kardashians did not invent big butts. The family’s collective aesthetic effectively appropriated black bodies, according to The Washington Post. “Why does a black butt only look good in white skin?” journalist Yomi Adegoke asked. Finally, according insights from PornHub, between the years of 2009 to 2015, search inquiries for anal sex videos went up by 120%. There's no ifs, ands, or butts about it — the last decade was full of American assteria.
35. Mainstream BDSM
The kink community also made its way into the mainstream over the last decade, with songs like Rihanna's 2011 banger "S&M," which featured lyrics like, "chains and whips excite me," and the E.L. James' 2011 book and movie trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Freed, and Fifty Shades Darker. Suddenly, discussing bondage and safe words over iced matcha with your friends didn’t seem so taboo.
What NPR dubbed "the new sexual revolution" unfolded over the course of the last decade: According to a 2017 survey of 8,700 single adults in the United States, more than 1 in 5 people have engaged in consensual non-monogamy at some point in their lives. Additionally, in a 2014 survey, 4-5% of Americans reported being polyamorous.
37. Advances In Sex Tech
According to The Guardian, as of 2018, sex tech is a $300 billion industry that's growing 30% each year. The 2010s witnessed a new wave in female pleasure-centered sex toys, like Dame's 2017 clitoral vibrator Eva II and Unbound's 2018 vibe Bean. Both are further proof that sex tech isn't just working hard — it’s working toward closing the orgasm gap.
38. Cuffing Season
In 2017, Collins Dictionary put "cuffing season" on its shortlist for word of the year — and for good reason. Ever since rapper Fabolous released the song “Cuffin Season” in 2013, the slang term has been synonymous with the trend of settling down during the colder months. And there's some truth to the phenomenon: According to a 2018 Elite Daily study of 119 participants ages 18 to 38, the best month to start a relationship is October — 60% of participants said they've met their partner between Oct. 1 and Feb. 14, and of those people, 48% said they met their partner during October.
39. Hookup Culture
According to a 2012 study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) titled "Sexual Hookup Culture: A Review," 80% of college students reported engaging in casual sex outside of relationships. Hookups defined the 2010s, with dozens of potential matches available at your fingertips, and ride-sharing apps making travel more accessible. Hollywood even glamorized the trend through shows like 2011’s Girls and 2016’s Fleabag. But while the 2010s was indeed the decade of destigmatizing hookup culture, it also asked a pertinent question: Do people really enjoy it?
40. Reclaiming Slut
It all started with 2011's SlutWalk in Toronto, Ontario, during which 3,000 women dressed in revealing clothing, proudly decrying that they "dressed like sluts." The purpose of the movement was to protest slut-shaming, a topic which further sparked conversation when Emily Wolfe published a controversial 2013 essay in Slate titled, “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk,” around victim-blaming which led to a debate over the reclamation of the word "slut."
41. Rise Of The IUD
A 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that between 2002 and 2017, IUD use increased from 2% to 14% of women who use birth control, and the number of American women taking oral contraceptives had dropped to 22%. Additionally, a 2018 survey of 2,000 women by Cosmopolitan reported that 25% of participants had an IUD or were considering getting one. From copper to hormonal, this decade saw the rise of the IUD.
42. Single Self-Care
Do you remember that scene in 2001’s Legally Blonde, when Elle sampled Godiva chocolates while wallowing to a rom-com alone in her dorm room after Warner broke her heart? Yeah, that's not single self-care looked like in the last decade. The 2010s witnessed a shift to wellness, whether that meant downloading a meditation apps like Headspace, doing a face mask while drawing a bath, deleting dating apps, taking care of plants, buying a new set of crystals, and setting positive intentions. This was the decade of celebrating and bettering your personhood, not your partnership.
43. Queer Visibility
The 2010s also observed a rise in queer visibility in pop culture, including shows like 2013's Orange is the New Black’s casting of Laverne Cox, a trans woman of color, and the overwhelming popularity of 2009's RuPaul's Drag Race, which brought drag culture into the mainstream. By the end of the decade, America had been blessed with revivals of Queer Eye and The L Word, non-binary representation on shows like Netflix's The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and the Politician, Hulu's The Bisexual, and more.
44. STIs Spike
According to a 2019 report by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the United States reported syphilis and gonorrhea cases at an all-time high since 1991. Additionally, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are disproportionately affecting young people, with the CDC estimating that Americans ages 15 to 24 account for half of the 20 million new STIs that occur in the United States each year. This makes sense: Only 13 states require sex ed to be medically accurate, contributing to the misinformation about sexual health.
From looking up your crush's chart so you can calculate your astrological compatibility to figuring out how your zodiac sign factors into your approach to sex, dating, and relationships, the 2010s were the decade of looking to the stars. With apps like Co-Star and The Pattern making astrological analysis more accessible and horoscopes getting a glam update from Instagram astrologers, love has never felt more celestial.