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Dating in Iceland

|August 4, 2017
Anthropologist, social media guru, Icelandic nature and food enthusiast.

The dating life in Iceland has long been a heated discussion, but what is really true about the things people say about it? Where do people meet in Iceland and what are the dating rules in the country of ice and fire?

There are a couple of ongoing myths about dating life here in Iceland. One is that we are constantly dating our relatives, another that we actually never go on dates and another one that sex is such a normal thing everyone is doing it all the time with everyone.

Let me just start from the beginning.

Dating relatives in Iceland

No, we are not. Being such a small country we have a very good system that helps to keep track of who is related and who isn’t. The reason this myth has blossomed is, I think, because we have these amazing records dating back over a thousand years so if me and this guy I am seeing share the same great, great, great, great, great grandmother, we are going to know. My parents, for example, share the same great x 6 grandparents but they aren’t really related. It just sounds like it because they can actually trace this. This we do on our website, the book of Icelanders. Who knows you might even be more related to your spouse, you just don’t know it…

Me (Ragnheiður) for example now looked up (Daði) my co-worker and we are related in the 7th link. So this means that our great, great, great, great grandmothers were sisters. Not so related but because we can look it up it might seem like it!

Do Icelanders go on dates?

Yes and no to this one. Icelanders are not much into the whole “can I take you out for a first date“ in the formal matter of sitting down at a nice restaurant. Most of my friends say that this is just too much pressure. We like to have a drink together, buy ice cream or possibly take a stroll somewhere you aren’t likely to run into anyone. Being such a small country you are always likely to meet someone you know and when it’s just the first date and you aren’t sure about this you usually don’t want to run into anyone. So we keep it casual and prefer weird places where we are unlikely to meet anyone.

Another common “first date” is grabbing hangover food the day after partying after meeting up downtown. We can be shy people and drinking seems to help a lot with this. It’s very common to maybe have chatted on any medium before meeting downtown for the first time and possibly going home together. This does not necessarily have to mean sex, just sharing a bed and the rest is totally up to you two.

The sex culture in Iceland

Now I am going to ask my parents to stop reading, right here. Thanks!

So let’s talk about sex. (Mom seriously, stop!)

The sex culture is open in Iceland, people openly discuss sex. Whether it is the fact that they are not having any or having a lot is discussed especially in groups of friends. It’s been long since we started to speak about women as sexual beings. The myths that only men want sex and all the time and then that women are constantly not wanting until they give in is just NOT active in Iceland. Women and men and equal sexual beings and like with all things it’s just personal. But what I am trying to say here is that women and men can both be looking for just sex or not just sex and this is openly discussed and no one should be judging.

Where do people meet in Iceland?

Oh well, just all over like the rest of the world I think. But nowadays more and more on social media.

Social Media is huge in Iceland and it’s quite funny how quickly everything is changing with it.

At one point it was all about adding on Facebook. Today this is out, now you should start with Instagram. This is all changing so quickly and to be honest this single lady is having a difficult time keeping up with all of this.

At bars, school, work, gym, everywhere really, but usually the first conversation is taking place on social media. Very rarely will an Icelandic person walk up to another one and just ask him/her out. That would probably freak him/her out. Unless it’s at a bar, the rules change after a drink or four.

Oh and since I’m on this topic, everyone can ask everyone out. There is no rule about men having to ask women out, they do it just as much. Since I am not a part of the LGBTIQ community I am not sure how it is there but I am pretty sure same goes.

And then there is Tinder – let’s start a new chapter.

Tinder in Iceland

First, there was Compare hotness, then Hot or Not and now there is Tinder. This shallow weird little game has captured all the single people here in Iceland. Some who have said they would never play, well, they always end up there one way or another.

In Iceland, it’s not, like I have heard from foreign friends, played as just a booty call method. It’s more a place to meet new people and chat without having been drinking and actually get to know someone. It’s huge in the dating game a must for anyone who wants to join the Icelandic dating game.

Also, a good place for tourist to meet locals, get tips and meet up for a fun conversation.

Interracial dating in Iceland

When I started writing this blog I googled to see the questions which have been left unanswered and I noticed that this one came up a lot.

First let me say, Icelanders are in general not racist. Especially the younger generation. I can at least speak for me and my friends when I say that race is not an issue when it comes to dating. It’s more about not being able to speak in Icelandic and if the person is staying in Iceland or just over here for 3 days or so.

The last two President’s have had non-Icelandic wifes and everyone loved them and I have tons of friends who date non-Icelandic guys and the same for my guy-friends so definitely go for it. It’s more the issue of language and length of stay.

So just stay and learn Icelandic. Icelandic is so easy 😉

More on Icelandic words: Icelandic words that are missing in English.

Icelanders are chill with most things. Most of us love meeting people and we usually settle down around 30 not 20. The divorce rate is high and our families are mixed. People are dating after a divorce a lot and with kids and we just try to keep everything chill. This is better explained in this interview with Bryndís and Siggi, a couple from Iceland.

Iceland's unique view on marriage (The Wonder List with Bill Weir)

Fun fact: Because we don’t change our names when we get married divorce doesn’t change your name at all. At least when it comes to divorce, the name is no trouble.

Oh and one last thing. Iceland is not paying people to move to Iceland and marry our women. JUST TO CLARIFY, not happening!

Anything else you want to know about dating in Iceland?


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