Good news for anyone who still fears the “swipe right”-style of modern hookups: Using Tinder does not necessarily heighten your chances of casual sex. That’s according to a new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), which surveyed 641 Norwegian students on their social media activity and sexual antics.
Researchers sought to investigate the sexual preferences and differences among the young and promiscuous, and then analyzed how they correlated with the use of “Picture-Based Mobile Dating Apps,” like Tinder and Bumble.
The study, based on a detailed questionnaire presented to 641 Norwegian university students between 19 and 29, was recently published in the online journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Nearly half of the students surveyed reported that they’ve used a picture-based dating app, and one in five said that they currently did. Only eight of those surveyed who used dating apps were also in a relationship.
Tinder Attracts Certain Kinds of People
The researchers discovered a couple of interesting things. First, app users reported higher levels of what the researchers defined as “sociosexual orientation” — meaning an interest in short-term sexual relationships — than those of their non-app using peers. Sociosexual orientation appeared to be equally identified in the men and women surveyed who used dating apps. The study didn’t appear to account for nonbinary individuals.
Finding Casual Sex, Online and Off
While dating apps tended to attract sociosexually-oriented people, there didn’t appear to be a higher hookup rate for those who used the app as opposed to those who didn’t. “Dating app users don’t have more casual sexual partners than others with the same short-term preference,” says Mons Bendixen, an associate professor at NTNU’s Department of Psychology.
It appears that people looking for short-term sexual relationships are just going to do it — online and off. “Apps have become the new public arena for dating,” says Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, a professor at NTNU’s Department of Psychology. “But to a large extent, the people using them are the same ones you find dating other ways.”
Researchers also discovered that men and women use these dating apps a little differently — but you probably already knew that. According to their research, women who used dating apps appeared to spend more time on them but pursued fewer matches than men did. While men tended to use dating apps to hook up, women were doing that too, but they were also accessing dating apps to reconfirm their desirability. “Women use dating apps to feel better about themselves more than men do,” says Bendixen.
All in all, researchers concluded that when it comes to casual sex, it’s definitely still about the person, not the app. “When controlling for sex, age and SOI Desire there was no evidence that length of use increased lifetime casual sex partners,” the study notes. “We conclude that the new technology provided by PBMDAs merely represents a new arena for short-term sexual behavior, and not necessarily a facilitator of new sexual behaviors.”
For anyone who’s worried they might never find a match in 2018 if they don’t sign up for Tinder, don’t fret. It appears that finding a partner at the bar — or any other old-fashioned social setting for that matter — still works just as well.