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Online daters went on roughly twice as many dates, hate drama

While it's not exactly peer-reviewed literature, the fifth annual Singles in America study (a study sponsored by online dating site Match.com) does reveal some fascinating trends about the intersection of dating and modern technology.  For this year's study 5,675 singles ages 18 and older were surveyed on a wide variety of questions, including social networking and text messaging behaviors.

The overall study was directed by ResearchNow, a Dallas-based market research think tank.  ResearchNow brought some serious academic firepower to this year's study.  The survey and analysis was led by Dr. Helen FisherRutgers University anthropology professor, and Dr. Justin R. Garcia, an education director and researcher at the Kinsey Institute.  Take it with a grain of salt given its source of funding (an online dating site), but there's a lot of interesting results, nonetheless.

Perhaps the most intriguing result -- users who flirt with emojis (ASCII faces sometimes converted by your phone to mini-graphics) were more likely to convince their contacts to have sex with them on subsequent dates.  Long popular as a form of self expression among internet denizens, the emoji was seen growing in usage as a flirting tactic among singles in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, in particular.

Among men who self-reported regularly using emojis 45 percent also reported have successfully sexual encounters via their online dating exploits. For women that number was 40 percent.  For those who say they "never" use emojis, the self-reported sexual success rates dropped to 26 and 20 percent for men and women, respectively.  For those bold users who use multiple emojis in a single text, success rates were 64 and 46 percent, respectively for men and women.

Singles in America -- Emoji use

Dr. Fisher comments on the emoji trend:

Technology reduces our ability to express our emotions, and emotional expression is a huge part of communication, so we are reinventing ways to express ourselves.

Self-identified online daters were found to be much more likely to seek a committed relationship and have a full-time job than those who did not date online.  Online dates were also more open to the possibility of marriage, long-distance relationships, and dating someone they weren't initially attracted to.  Perhaps most surprising, the study claims online dates are less likely to break up with their significant others via technology than those who don't date online.

The study found that online daters went on nearly twice as many dates as their non-internet dating fellow singles.

Singles -- dating rates

In the turn-offs category a big one was selfies. While the mode of photography may be big in the world of pop culture, 65 percent of women report being turned off by men who psot selfies. As for the men, 46 percent reported selfies as a turn off. The biggest turnoff among both genders, though, was drama in posts. Another turnoff was asking someone to unfriend their exes, which apparently nearly half of both men and women find offensive.

On the flip side a good sense of humor was found to be "sexiest" trait among singles of both genders.  Other desirables included being intellectually gifted, confident in your sexuality, and having a partner that's independent.  Interestingly 74 percent of online daters feel it's okay to casually date more than one person at once.  Somewhat surprisingly money appeared to be less of a factor with 45 percent expressing a willingness to financially support their partner.

Also interesting, while excessive selfies are a turn off, it appears a significant amount of online dates are flirting via explicit messages or photos -- and they're not messing around with the softcore stuff.  48 percent of single men and 40 percent of single women reported sending "a sexually explicit message" to someone.  Among singles of both genders 35 percent report sending a "sexy photo" (just be careful who you send them to).

Sexting prevalence

Also be aware that 51 percent of potential dates will research you on Facebook, Inc. (FB) before diving in.

Politically speaking online daters were more likely to be libertarian in terms of social policies, supporting gay marriage rights, legalization of marijuana, a woman's right to choose (abortion), and environmental protect laws.

Among the other interesting findings, are the growing expectations when it comes to text message etiquette. The majority of people expect you not to send them additional texts until they've responded.  Men in particular were bothered by women texting them at work.  Grammatical errors and misspellings in texts were also considered major turnoffs among the majority.

Chronic texting (aka "hyper-texting") was found to be a turnoff as well -- but for a minority, it's a major turn on.  While the majority expect you to take your time with texting, 30 percent of men and 26 percent of women expect an immediate response to their texts -- no excuses.  That creates a situation for daters where they have to "play it by ear" and assess their partners' expectations when it comes to texting, expectations that often alternate between extremes from person to person.

Sources: SinglesInAmerica, via USA Today





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