To better understand if and how the mechanics of the process Tinder imposes on its users (i.e., swiping, matching, and starting conversations) influences the resulting sexual or romantic interactions, we collected data from 1038 Belgian Tinder users. Our findings show that a user's swiping quantity does not guarantee a higher number of Tinder matches, women have generally more matches than men and men usually have to start a conversation on Tinder. Moreover, while conversations were positively associated with reported offline Tinder encounters, less than half of our sample reported having had an offline meeting with another Tinder user. Whereas more than one third of these offline encounters led to casual sex, more than a quarter resulted in the formation of a committed relationship. Such findings indicate that Tinder is not “just a hookup app”, as often assumed in public discourse. We argue it is plausible that sexual encounters will eventually lead to committed relationships in a society where initiation of relationship formation with dating has been replaced by hooking up.

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The Information Society
Department of Media and Communication

Timmermans, E., & Courtois, C. (2018). From swiping to casual sex and/or committed relationships. The Information Society, 34(2), 59–70. doi:10.1080/01972243.2017.1414093