Australian researchers have found most people on Tinder are simply looking for a partner

Lionel Bonaventure / AFP / Getty Images

Tinder isn’t destroying the traditional relationship.

Rather than promoting short term sexual relationships, online dating apps, such as Tinder, OKCupid and Grindr, are simply facilitating the search for love and life partners, according to research from the University of Sydney.

A study, published in the Journal of Sociology, looked at the online dating habits of 365 people, mostly aged below 30, and found more than half used the apps to find dates and only a quarter were looking for purely sexual encounters.

Almost three-quarters of users were just as inclined to seek a monogamous relationship since taking their search for love online. Another 14% say they were more inclined to seek monogamy since using the technology.

“Most people are not using the technology merely for increased sexual promiscuity, but are in fact seeking to find a potential longer-term partner,” says lead author, Dr Mitchell Hobbs from the University of Sydney’s Department of Media and Communications.

“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.”

Users say they enjoy like the convenience of connecting with a large group of people at once. Others report that they enjoy the sense of control they have over their dating lives and the ability to get to know someone before meeting them in person.

A small number did use the apps to look for love outside their relationships.

Of those survey who indicated that they were in a relationship, 10% said that they had used the technology to engage in a sexual affair. And most felt that they would not have cheated on their partners had the apps not made it so easy to do so.

“The social stigma that was once associated with online forms of dating is also breaking down, as more people embrace the technology,” says Dr Hobbs.

“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.”

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