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The shift in the world of online dating

The rise of technology has its perks, one of them being the easy and accessible online platform we all know as dating apps.

Caroline Beschner Research Analyst in Research, Insight and Consulting 17/08/2023
40% of females and 58% of males feel strongly their sexuality is represented on dating apps. Only 20% of non-binary individuals can say the same.
The masculinity behind online dating

The landscape of online dating is constantly evolving, and we are starting to see some interplay between gender dynamics and the usage of online dating platforms. We noticed that men were more likely to use dating apps over women. More specifically, 46% of male respondents are more likely to use Bumble, as opposed to 36% of female respondents. That is not unlike other dating apps, with men more likely to use (51%) than women (37%), as well as eHarmony (men – 38%, women – 25%). What’s interesting about Bumble is the company’s initiative to have a dating space ‘for women, made by women’ as branded by founder Whitney Wolfe Herd. Based on our initial research on the subject, there’s no way to be certain what exact factors pivot in favor of men using dating apps over women, but we can theorize it would be due to social dynamics and cultural norms or individual preferences.

The representation of sexualities

There is a wide spectrum of sexualities and dating apps play a major role in representing them. 40% of females and 58% of males feel strongly their sexuality is represented on dating apps, while only 20% of non-binary individuals feel the same. Being able to join a platform that creates a space for individuals to express their sexual orientation creates an enriched dating experience for users, but when those apps don’t make room for those that are non-heteronormative, there is a level of bias across the platform that refrains all individuals from participating.

The comfort levels of sharing your truest-self online

Welcoming a sense of comfort while navigating the digital landscape can open doors to many new opportunities. There are many individuals out in society that do feel comfortable expressing their sexuality on dating apps. 63% of male respondents said they do feel comfortable expressing their sexuality on dating apps while 47% of female respondents agreed.  For many people when it comes to online dating, the appeal is an accessibility for self-exploration within your digital or online journey. An emphasis on your truest and most vulnerable self being your online self is one that appears to be incredibly meaningful for people to share connections with individuals they might not normally have the opportunity of meeting.

Alternatively, that’s still 29% of female respondents that don’t feel comfortable expressing their sexuality on dating apps and 22% male respondents. There is a plethora of reasons someone may feel uncomfortable expressing their sexuality on dating apps – one of them being the apprehension of judgement and stigma from members of society you don’t necessarily know well. Sexuality can be an incredibly personal thing, and disclaiming that to people you’ve just met online, through a text, or profile, doesn’t seem like the safest space to do so. Safety becomes the biggest priority for users to protect themselves from the outside world – and online platforms have been some of the biggest offenders for allowing harassment to prevail amongst its users.

Exploring why individuals select their preferred dating apps:

There are many dating apps today that offer various options for people looking to connect on a romantic level. But what draws people in to officially sign up? A large majority of Millennials (70%) downloaded dating apps based off their current relationship status. Male respondents were more likely to download a dating app based off ease of use and accessibility (57%) while less than half of the female respondents agreed (47%). People often prefer dating apps that are user-friendly and have straight forward navigation. It is uncommon to come across an individual who doesn’t want convenience when it comes to connecting with potential partners.

It was also made clear by Millennial respondents that they were most likely to sign up for a dating app based off their sexual expression. It seems to be obvious that individuals might choose a dating platform that aligns with their sexual expression so they can comfortably and openly connect with others who share similar orientations. Gen Z respondents (57%) said they were more likely to choose an app based on what kind of relationship they were looking for. This allows individuals to tailor their experience with like-minded individuals who have compatible relationship goals.

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