Dating Culture in South Asia

As a cousin to dating in East Asia, South Asia is also an incredible region. Dating is historically non-existent in this region, but recent trends may be changing that. The idea of grouping these countries together is formulated in the identity of being desi. We can consider desi dating as an important theme in South Asia, particularly, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Dating and relationships in South Asia tend to be more conservative and traditional compared to Western cultures. One aspect of dating culture in South Asia is the emphasis on family and community. Family approval is often important when it comes to choosing a partner, and there may be pressure to marry within one’s own community or caste. This is particularly true in India, where arranged marriages are still common in some regions.

Religion also plays a significant role in dating culture in South Asia. For example, in predominantly Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, dating is often seen as taboo and pre-marital sex is strictly forbidden. In Sri Lanka, which is predominantly Buddhist, there is a greater acceptance of dating and pre-marital relationships, but traditional values still hold sway.

Despite these conservative attitudes, dating apps and online dating are becoming increasingly popular in South Asia, particularly among younger generations who are more open to Western ideas and values. International apps such as Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid are used in the region, although they are not as popular as they are in Western countries and come with their own sets of challenges.

In South Asia, the concept of “love marriages” is still somewhat foreign. In contrast to arranged marriages, which are still common in many parts of the region, love marriages are based on mutual attraction and consent between the partners. This is a relatively new phenomenon in South Asia, and it reflects the growing influence of Western values and individualism.

In conclusion, dating culture in South Asia is shaped by a variety of factors, including traditional values, religion, and the influence of Western culture. While there are many differences between the countries in the region, the importance of family, community, and social norms remains a common thread across all of them.

Is South Asia gay friendly?

South Asia is generally not known for being very accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, although attitudes and laws are slowly changing in some areas.

  • In India, homosexuality was decriminalized in 2018, but discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ+ community still occurs.
  • In Pakistan, homosexuality is illegal and can be punished by imprisonment or even death.
  • In Bangladesh, homosexuality is also illegal and there have been reports of violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Myanmar has no legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, and discrimination is widespread.
  • In Sri Lanka, homosexuality is illegal, and members of the LGBTQ+ community face discrimination and violence.
  • The Maldives also criminalizes homosexuality, and members of the LGBTQ+ community face persecution and harassment.

Overall, while there are some LGBTQ+ communities in South Asia, they often face significant challenges and discrimination.

Top dating apps in South Asia

Though foreign dating applications such as Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid have gained popularity, they still lag in terms of cultural understanding and acceptance. India has several popular dating apps such as Dil Mil,, TrulyMadly and Aisle, all of which are focused on hyper-localized dating experiences.

For the more conservative regions of South Asia, such as Pakistan or Bangladesh, dating apps aren’t widely used or accepted. Although, it is important to note, that religiously based dating apps or dating websites may be more easily tolerated and accepted in those countries.

For a more detailed analysis of the online dating scene in South Asia, please check out either individual country pages or the dating app’s pages themselves by clicking the links.

Top destinations for singles in South Asia

South Asia is not an area that many people typically would travel to in search of singles. Technically, there are singles everywhere but their willingness to date is not consistent. That being said, there are still a few destinations within these countries that have favorable climates for meeting people, here they are:

  1. Goa, India: Known for its beautiful beaches, nightlife, and laid-back atmosphere, Goa is a top destination for singles in South Asia. It attracts travelers from all over the world, offering a mix of Indian and Western cultures.
  2. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s capital city is a bustling metropolis with a rich history and culture. It has a vibrant nightlife, with many bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from. It also offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities, including ancient temples, colonial architecture, and museums.
  3. Male, Maldives: The capital city of the Maldives is a tropical paradise with crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and luxurious resorts. It offers a relaxing atmosphere, perfect for solo travelers looking to unwind and recharge.

Dating culture by country in South Asia

Pakistan**Sri Lanka

*Pakistan has been included in both South Asia and Central Asia for cultural reasons

**Myanmar has been included in both South Asia and Southeast Asia for cultural reasons