Who is successful on dating apps? Those looking for love or sex?

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Online dating has been around since the 1990s, but with the introduction of mobile dating apps, like Tinder, online dating has become faster and more popular than ever. Tinder currently has more than 60 million users, and a 2020 survey of a cross-section of American adults found that 30% had used a dating website or app at some point. For those unfamiliar with dating apps like Tinder, here’s how they work: Users create a brief profile and browse other users’ profiles by browsing through a series of profile pictures. If they like what they see they swipe right and if they don’t they swipe left. If both users swipe on each other, it’s a match and the pair can initiate contact. These apps use GPS technology to determine which users are nearby. For this reason, Tinder has a reputation as a hookup app, where people can quickly and easily find someone nearby who’s ready for an immediate casual hookup.

Despite their reputation as hookup apps, hookup is not the main reason people use these apps. In fact, the most common reasons people use dating apps are that they’re trendy and exciting, which suggests that many users treat these apps as a game or diversion, rather than a way to seek romantic or sexual partners. Among users looking to meet someone on these apps, the search for love is more common than the search for a casual sexual encounter. But who ends up meeting their partners more often: those looking for love or those looking for causal sex?

A new study by Meredith Harrison and her colleagues explored how romantic motives and sexual motives predicted the likelihood of college students actually meeting with a dating app. They interviewed 267 students, 138 of whom had used dating at some point. Of those who used a dating app, most were occasional users: 38.2% had only used it once or twice and 11.8% only used it about once a month. As for the most regular users, 34.5% used a dating app weekly and 15.4% daily. Of those who have used the apps, 59% said they have met a compatible person at least once. Similar to previous research, the results also showed tendency and excitement to be more common motives than love or sex, but love was a more common motive than sex. Not surprisingly, men were more likely than women to say sex was the reason they used dating apps, but they were also slightly more likely than women to say they used the apps to search. love.

Who was most likely to meet matches in person?

They were those looking for love. For every 1 point increase (on a 5-point rating scale) in the tendency to use apps to find love, participants were 2.5 times more likely to have met a match. On the other hand, the extent to which people rated login as a reason for using the app was completely unrelated to their probability of actually encountering a match. So not only was the search for love more common than the search for lust, but it was also more likely to lead to an in-person encounter.

Why would those looking for love have more success on dating apps?

The study did not address this question, but there are several possibilities. While romantic motives are more common, especially among women, those seeking dating may be less able to find a partner who shares their desire for a casual encounter. It’s also possible that those looking for dating sent less appealing messages than those looking for love. The study found that men were more likely to search for dating, and we know from other online dating research that men tend to contact more women, but spend less effort per woman. , by writing shorter messages. Thus, this may have led those looking for hookups to have less success. Another possibility is that those looking for dating were less invested in their search than those looking for romance, and they generally spend less time and effort using the app and connecting with partners. Finally, this data was collected recently, so some of the participants may have reported on their use of the dating app during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fear of contracting COVID-19 may have made people less likely to pursue dating, in line with other data showing that since the pandemic singles are slowing things down when it comes to physical intimacy.

Importantly, the study focused exclusively on college students and interviewed a relatively small sample of people who used dating apps. It’s possible that slightly older adults are more successful at dating matches. But these findings certainly suggest that despite their reputation as dating apps, dating apps may actually serve those looking for love better.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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