Prudish Brits are a thing of the past as research reveals we now secretly love public displays of affection

published on 9. Dec 2020

After a difficult year, where lovers have been forced apart and physical contact is taboo, Brits have set aside their own prudish stereotypes as 34 per cent admit they’re now happy to see public displays of affection and a further 37 per cent would encourage it, according to new research from dating expert, Match.

Traditionally, overtly lovesick couples would have made Brits recoil, but after one of the worst years in modern history, one in five (19 per cent) say they’ll be less afraid to display their own love more publicly in future. Therefore, to encourage Brits to celebrate unadulterated love in the wake of a period of separation and isolation, Match has launched Made to Match – a limited-edition range of matching tracksuits and face masks so you can coordinate with your other half.

Despite being determined to be more open to it, there are still some signs of affection that’ll take time to get used to. Speaking to each other in baby voices (30 per cent), passionately kissing in public (21 per cent) and feeding each other (20 per cent) are the top three things we love to hate. However almost one in five (17 per cent) say that although they cringe seeing PDA, they secretly wish it were them.

When asked about the most iconic public expressions of commitment, the royals reign supreme. King Edward VIII abdicating the throne to marry his lover (29 per cent) and Prince Harry stepping down from his royal duties for Meghan Markle (20 per cent) top the list. These beat more modern examples, such as Kanye West showering Kim Kardashian with 1,000 roses on Valentine’s Day and Jay Z surprising Beyonce with a $1 million Rolls Royce for her birthday.

Across the UK, it would appear those in Bristol are most comfortable with displaying their commitment to one another as 73 per cent admitted to partaking in PDA, followed by residents of Plymouth (73 per cent) and Nottingham (71 per cent). In an act of love, couples in Cardiff are most likely to use “we” instead of “I” (34 per cent), whilst you’re most likely hear couples in Sheffield (29 per cent) calling each other pet names.

About Made to Match

The Made to Match collection has been developed in collaboration with Swedish retailer Aeryne and will be available to order from Wednesday 9th December. When a couple sports the tracksuit together, the design forms a perfect heart shape, while the face masks make the ideal coordinating accessory. All pieces are made out of leftover fabric from Portugal, composed of 100 per cent organic cotton and are produced in a female run factory in Hungary with limited impact on the environment, so you can match in style and also show some love to the planet. The tracksuits come in five different sizes – XS, S, M, L and XL. Match members will also receive £10 off any order.

Match’s dating expert Hayley Quinn says: “Brits have long been sticklers for a more stoical approach to affection, however this could be changing! 2020 hasn’t been the easiest year for love, but one positive is that it’s galvanised people’s desire to express their affections. So, next time you see a happy couple, be positive and celebrate the return of physical affection into our lives.

“In the case of public displays of affection, it’s also important not to judge another person’s version of happiness. PDA may not be for everyone, but you only need to take one look at Instagram to recognise how many couples love to communicate this way. If people love to call each other baby names, or share a passionate kiss in public, whilst you might find it cringeworthy, it’s probably time to be thankful to see a bit more love in the world!”


The top 10 signs of affection we love to hate

  1. Speaking to each other in baby / cute voices – 30 per cent
  2. Passionately kissing in public – 21 per cent
  3. Feeding each other – 20 per cent
  4. Ask each other’s permission before they do anything – 18 per cent
  5. Smug photos and gushy messages on social media – 17 per cent
  6. Wearing matching / coordinating outfits – 16 per cent
  7. Constantly texting each other when out with friends – 16 per cent
  8. Tattoos with each other’s name on – 14 per cent
  9. Compare themselves to celebrity couples – 14 per cent
  10. Going everywhere with each other and not doing anything separately – 10 per cent


Top 10 cities where you’ll find the most PDA

  1. Bristol – 73 per cent
  2. Plymouth – 73 per cent
  3. Nottingham – 71 per cent
  4. London – 69 per cent
  5. Sheffield – 68 per cent
  6. Edinburgh – 67 per cent
  7. Cardiff – 67 per cent
  8. Norwich – 66 per cent
  9. Newcastle – 64 per cent
  10. Leeds – 63 per cent

To find out more about the Made to Match collection visit:


Notes to Editors


Research based on a survey of 2,000 UK adults (1,396 in a relationship and 594 single) undertaken by Opinium between 3rd – 6th November 2020.

Media Contacts:

Jennie Williamson / Jessica Monty Brands2Life  – 020 7592 1200 and


About Match: 

As the ultimate dating service in the UK, almost 1 in 3 online daters* have used Match and almost 1 in 5 singles who met their partner online, met on Match. Match continues to empower singles to meet exciting and interesting people that you would not otherwise have met- almost 1.6 million people in the UK met their partner on Match**.

As a founding member of the Online Dating Association (ODA), Match is committed to providing a safe and confidential community for its members.


* Survey conducted with Research Now in April 2018, among a representative sample of 10,671 persons aged 18+ in the UK.

**Data based on an extrapolation from Research Now survey conducted in April 2018, among a representative sample of 10,671 persons aged 18+ in the UK, which has been combined with the total population of this age group (Source Eurostat 2018). Three per cent of interviewees have ever been in a relationship with someone they claim having met on Match.


About Hayley Quinn:

Hayley Quinn is an internationally recognized dating expert, TED speaker and start-up Founder. Her

membership websites, social media platforms and signature live training events teach her unique approach to love and dating to thousands of men and women.

Her expertise has been featured weekly on 4music, as well as on Celebs Go Dating, BBC 1 (expert on season Finale ‘The Apprentice’ 2015), Channel 4, ITV, Fox, Sky News and Sunrise on 7.

Her opinions have been published in The Times, The Observer (NYC), Cosmopolitan, The Independent, and The Guardian amongst others. Her TED talk has over 1.1 million views and she has spoken widely about love & dating everywhere from The Business Show, to Imperial University, to the Soho House Group.


About Match Launched in 1995, Match is a leading online dating brand in the UK, offering a wide array of features and services.
Through the Match app, singles have all the means to meet other singles ready for a real relationship, via Live and Audio discovery features, or IRL Singles Events. Combining technological innovation, efficiency, support (during LiveCoaching sessions) and Customer Care, Match continually offers new services to spark real connections.
As a founding member of the Online Dating Association (ODA), Match is committed to providing a safe and confidential community for its members.

Match is operated by Meetic and its affiliated companies in Europe, which are part of Match Group, a leading provider of digital technologies designed to help people make meaningful connections. For more information, visit
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