Over 600 students between the age of 19 to 29 at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) were surveyed by university researchers on their social media activity and sexual behaviour on Tinder.
Surprisingly, they found that most dating app users are only interested in short-term liaisons, however, the majority were not actually ‘hooking’ with anyone. Nearly half of the students surveyed reported being a former or current user of picture-based mobile dating apps (PBDMD), such as Tinder. At the time of the study one in five were still current users.
The study revealed that those who used PBDMD showed higher levels of sociosexual orientation, an interest in sex outside of a committed relationship, more so than participants who had never used PBMDAs. An equal number of male and female participants were identified as having a sociosexual orientation and were more typically active on PBDMD apps.
However, according to Professor Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair at NTNU’s department of psychology, app users do not end up with more sexual partners than non-users who share the same preference for casual sex. Kennair said: “Apps have become the new public arena for dating. But to a large extent, the people using them are the same ones you find dating other ways.”
Women More Choosy than Men
The study highlighted the difference between male and female PBDMD users behaviour. Men take a more efficient approach and hedge their bets by swiping right more often and by making quicker decisions, they are also more likely to initiate contact. While women, on the other hand, spend more time considering each candidate before deciding on whether to swipe left or right.
Female participants also reported that they use the app to feel better about themselves, more so than men, “Being perceived as a potential partner by other users is regarded as positive.” According to Kennair: “Women are more discerning. Men are more eager. This has clear evolutionary reasons. Women have more to lose by engaging with low-quality sexual partners than men do. That’s why men swipe right more often than women do.”
The study also busts the myth that men are only on dating apps looking for casual sex. Men who use these apps also seek long-term partners, but to a lesser extent than short-term partners. Only eight of the 641 participants reported using the tool to be unfaithful.
Just For Fun
The study delved into why users chose to use such dating apps in the first place. Many cited using it purely for entertainment value. In other words, both men and women looked at Tinder when they are bored or had nothing else to do. In conclusion, dating apps are merely a new arena for meeting people for short-term encounters, they are not a facilitator of new sexual behaviours.