Motivations for Using Dating Apps Based on Gender

A follow-up to The Digital Age of Love

The article “How The Internet Has Changed Dating” by The Economist touched on several ways dating apps are changing romance in society that related to the survey sent out for the podcast The Digital Age of Love, class discussions, and readings.  The article begins with a history of how dating apps began and evolved to become what they are today.  It also explains how previously, potential matches were limited by class location, and parental permission. In India and China where arranged marriages are common, apps are allowing for casual dating, something that was never afforded previously. However, with the ability to search for and filter out exactly what one does or does not want, and with so many niche categories, there is the possibility that dating apps are leading to more of a closed off society.  Age, education level, and religious beliefs are categories in which people especially like to be similar in their matches. This same concept was also supported by a reading from class, titled Sexual Inactivity During Adulthood. “New technology may have created unequal outcomes. While some young adults may use apps such as Tinder to hook up with many partners, a growing minority may be excluded from this system entirely, perhaps due to the premium placed on physical appearance on dating websites” (e.g., Rudder, 2009, 2014).  This was also supported by the data collected from the survey sent out. People tended to agree that the appearance of a potential match was very important.

To counteract the theory that the ability to filter matches leads to a more closed off society, Josue Ortega, a sociologist at the University of Essex, argues that by opening up a racially mixed pool of partners in places where social groups tend to be more homogenous, the internet will increase the number of mixed-race couples.  Then, in conclusion they talk about the end results of using dating apps, and found that many people felt fatigued and frustrated from using dating apps, which was also something that was found in the results from our survey. The survey was sent out for college students by college students, and had 122 responses. There were several main findings: First, people of non-traditional gender identities are more likely to cite friendship as the main reason for usage, as shown in the bar graph in the infographic. Appearance was very important to 42.7% of people. These results can connect to class readings and discussions. For example, as shown in the infographic as well as stated in the article, “The internet is the primary meeting space for same-sex pairings, whether casual or more than casual: 70% of same-sex relationships start online.” Further, the use of dating apps in relation to gender can be clearly seen in one of our discussions, specifically the discussion of the podcast When Daddy Dates Pay The Bills.  As a class we discussed how younger women are paid by older men for dates and sometimes sex, but with much more of an emotional component than usual prostitution. While many people are aware of older men desiring younger women, it is almost never heard of for an older woman to pay a younger man for companionship. We discussed possible reasons for this and found that one possible explanation could be the fact that women seem to have stronger ties to other friends of the same gender, whereas men have relationships on a more superficial level with other men because standards of masculinity require that male friendships never reach a certain level of intimacy.

Works Cited:

“How the Internet Has Changed Dating.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 18 Aug. 2018,

Sales, A. 2018. Death, Sex, And Money. WNYC Studios. “When Daddy Dates Pay The Bills”
Twenge, Jean M.  Sherman, Ryne A.  Wells, Brooke E. 2016.  “Sexual Inactivity During Young Adulthood Is More Common Among U.S. Millennials and iGen: Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on Having No Sexual Partners After Age 18”  Springer Science+Business Media New York: 434

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