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New podcast Slow Love captures stories of love and intimacy during lockdown

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The recently launched Slow Love podcast documents people’s experiences with love, dating, intimacy and hook-ups during COVID-19.

Offering a snapshot of this extraordinary moment in time, the new Slow Love podcast captures a series of raw and authentic experiences of intimacy during these unprecedented times.

The brainchild of Canberra-born author Lisa Portolan and filmmaker Ruth Borgobello, the podcast came about as part of Lisa’s research into intimacy and dating apps as part of her PhD at the University of Western Sydney.

“I was in the field conducting research around dating apps and intimacy during the start of the first lock-down, and peoples’ stories really moved me,” explains Lisa.

“People came to the interviews so rawly and authentically, and they demonstrated a vulnerability which was completely unexpected—so I thought about whether it was possible to document these stories and make them available to a broader audience.”

Lisa Portolan.

Lisa then approached Ruth with the idea, who was instantly drawn to the notion of sharing and connecting people through stories, and they conceptualised the Slow Love podcast series.

The pair originally met at the Italian Film Festival in Canberra, where Ruth’s movie, The Space Between, was being showcased. The Space Between was selected as the Australian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards.

“Right before COVID-19 hit I was about to head to Italy to start work on a new feature film—now that’s on hold,” explains Ruth.

“So what happens when you’re a filmmaker and you can’t make films in the foreseeable future? Turn to audio! We’ve pivoted quickly into podcasts to keep our storytelling spirit alive and try to give solace to those in lockdown.”

Ruth Borgobello.

Slow Love focuses on capturing the stories of every day Australians, as well as sexperts, intimacy experts, matchmakers and dating app CEOs.

As for Lisa and Ruth’s favourite moments from the bunch so far…

“Definitely Samantha X,” says Lisa. “She is a journalist, mum, escort and a Madam, she’s also extremely funny and clever. Her insights about love, marriage, men and relationships were fantastic.”

Samantha X said, “Clients always say to me, ‘I want the girlfriend experience’. Well, I’m the kind of girlfriend that just lays in her tracksuit ordering you around—is that the kind of girlfriend experience you want?”

Samantha X.

Alongside Samantha is a raft of other important and emotive stories, including Bianca’s.

In Episode 5, Bianca shares her story of never quite meeting ‘the one’. Now 43, she questions whether this will ever happen.

“My ideology on love was that I would meet someone and have 4 kids…I was looking forward to the role of wife and mother…and living happily ever after.”

Today, still single, Bianca shares how COVID-19 has changed her and made her more satisfied and content than ever before.

Sydney girl Roxanne, talks about how a ghosting left her heartbroken. In a bid to reclaim her sexuality Roxanne went through a period where she was seeing one to two men a day.

“I decided that if this was how dating was going to make me feel…I didn’t want to date anymore. I went back to Tinder and changed my whole profile—it was basically, here for a good time, not a long time.”

Then Roxanne met someone she really liked. During COVID-19 they moved in together and became iso-partners.

And finally, Canberra man Craig shares his story of divorce, loneliness and looking for a relationship during COVID.

“The first lockdown was horrendous for me,” says Craig. “Sort of living alone in a one-bedroom apartment with no family around, not even a pet…being alone 24/7 was really, really challenging. A few weeks in that, I wasn’t in a good headspace…and I fired up Tinder.”

These podcasts are a raw, intense, and funny look at dating, dating apps and intimacy in the time of COVID-19. Want to share your story about love in the time of COVID? Check out the Slove time capsule, where you too can document your stories about love and intimacy during COVID-19: slowlove.net/slove-capsule

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