People who use dating apps aren’t just looking for a hook-up, many are looking for long-term love, according to new research from the University of Sydney.
Apps like Tinder, OKCupid and Grindr are generally thought to be creating a “hook-up” culture of short term relationships and are often accused of aiding and abetting the decline of the monogamous long-term relationship.
But according to the research, published in the Journal of Sociology, these claims may be greatly exaggerated.
The researchers examined the online dating habits of 365 people, mostly aged under 30, and found more than half used the apps to find dates. Just a quarter of respondents said they used the apps for purely sexual encounters.
The most popular app was Tinder, with 84 per cent of respondents saying they’d used it, followed by OKCupid at 30 per cent.According to the lead author of the study, Dr Mitchell Hobbs, negative hype about dating apps being the end of romance is wrong.
“Most people are not using the technology merely for increased sexual promiscuity, but are in fact seeking to find a potential longer-term partner,” he said.
“Dating apps are also making it easier for people to meet like-minded individuals. This is especially important for individuals who don’t have the time, or the inclination, to meet people in sites of traditional matchmaking, such as bars and clubs.”
While almost two thirds of respondents said they’d prefer to find love in a more traditional way, such as a face-to-face encounter, many believed that technology is increasingly being seen as a legitimate way to meet a partner.
“The social stigma that was once associated with online forms of dating is also breaking down, as more people embrace the technology,” Dr Hobbs said.
“The technology thrives because it is useful, and will die when it no longer offers pathways to connect and communicate that are advantageous to users. Remembering this is important as dating apps provide merely the potential to facilitate real-life sexual and romantic encounters.”