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November 9, 2023

The circular economy of dating in Adelaide

Our resident sexologist tackles the perennial "one degree of separation" Adelaide dating problem by applying some economics. Next week she answers your questions.

on the cusp sex in Adelaide column
  • Words: Jamie Bucirde
  • Picture: Morgan Sette

I have lived in Adelaide for 10 years now. Starting off as a fresh-faced (and naive) 17-year-old, I was thrust into the world of love, sex and dating. I soon realised how small the Adelaide dating pool really is.

The classic, “Oh that’s so Adelaide” phrase was thrown around so much, I soon realised it had serious substance. Everyone knows everyone (or that is the assumed feeling you get running within the same circles). It was what attracted me to our beautiful city. The community, the connections, the friendships you can make purely from knowing another person you like.

Now, 10 years on and getting back into the dating game after a long-term relationship, I have been faced with the trials and tribulations of small town dating.


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After breaking up with my ex, I decided to get back on the dating apps to see what’s out there. To my surprise, I was seeing the same people I had seen years before in my single days as an early 20s (something) woman. I panicked.

Have I dated everyone in Adelaide I can date?

A mind map of Adelaide dating connections would look like a giant game of Twister. Not only that, but Adelaide gossip runs deep and sometimes it feels like everybody knows your sexual history. I’m all for normalising conversations on sex, likes, dislikes and experiences, but sometimes you just don’t want everybody knowing about your sexual escapades. It feels like dating someone in Adelaide means dating everyone else in Adelaide too.

Segue to the circular economy (stay with me).

For those who haven’t heard of the circular economy before, here’s a simple breakdown: The circular economy is all about keeping things in use and giving Mother Nature a breather. It means we don’t throw things away; instead, we fix them up, reuse them, make them as good as new, recycle, and even compost to let the planet take a break from our resource-guzzling, consumer ways.


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So how does the circular economy relate to relationships?

I’m not saying to go get your shitty ex-boyfriend out of the trash, dust off the cobwebs, and try again for heartbreak 2.0.

Circular economy dating means getting creative by expanding your horizons and looking differently at the way you date. By broadening your horizons, you open yourself up to experiences and people you may not realise you’re compatible with yet. Ask yourself these questions.

  • Do you find yourself dating the same type of person, with the same type of breakup outcome?
  • After the honeymoon phase wears off, do you find you’re more turned off by things that initially turned you on?
  • Are the endings of your relationships messy? Meaning it is an on-again off-again cycle?

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This may mean you’re stuck in a relationship pattern, and this is your sign to try new things.

Maybe it means going on a date with someone you wouldn’t normally date – think different industry, different hobbies, different values. Maybe it’s asking out the cute barista you’ve had a crush on for four years. Whatever it is, you’ll know.

Living in Adelaide and assuming you know everyone (news flash: you don’t), may hinder your experience to actually get to know someone on a new, intimate level. Every time we date someone new we also bring with us all of our lived experience, lessons on love, sex and dating, and come in wiser than the time before it.

It means branching out of your usual ci­­­rcles and getting out of your comfort zone.

After months of a friend begging me to join her, I recently started bouldering (classic gag, I know) and to my dismay, I loved being put in an environment where there was a community of people I didn’t know yet. It may not be bouldering for you, but it may be yoga, joining a new gym, training for a marathon, going salsa dancing, getting a casual hospo job to make new friends, or volunteering at a homeless shelter.

Experiencing new things can be such a good thing for you. It may give you a new zest for life and a new perspective on what Adelaide looks like.

Come on Adelaide, let’s get circular.

Have a question for Jamie? Send them in to to have them answered!

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