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The Tide is Turning on “Hook-Up” Dating Culture

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According to The New York Times’ story last year on the current (and dismal) state of dating culture - dubbed the “Dating Apocalypse” - most Millennials using dating apps are just looking to hook up. In this feature story, we read several personal anecdotes from New York singles who were struggling with Tinder, ghosting, and meeting people who had a general lack of interest in serious relationships, which left us feeling like the world of online dating was scary and hopeless.

Turns out, this isn’t a very accurate portrayal of today’s dating culture.

A new study from one of the largest online dating services Plenty of Fish (POF) released a report this month based on over 800 survey respondents ages 18-33 (who also happen to be Millennials). These findings reveal that an overwhelming majority – 75% of Millennials to be exact – are looking for a serious relationship. This means, most are not looking for one-night stands, but real relationships.

In addition, another recent article in The New York Times flips this notion of hook-up culture on its head. Instead of taking Tinder to task for promoting hook-ups in dating, the reporter interviewed couples who had met on Tinder and later married, and even some couples who were expecting their first child after meeting over the notorious app. The conclusion is that Tinder is much more than a hook-up app, and yields successful matches for many members despite its reputation.

Tinder has been associated with hook-ups and the downfall of dating culture, but single people gravitate to it to meet people outside of their own social circles. It is the app with the largest user base, the app that most people have heard of, and because of its unique position, most people are willing to give it a try – simply because there are so many people using it.

The irony is, while some people are using it as a hook-up app, the majority of daters – including Millennials - are using it to seek out serious relationships. Despite the media claim that daters are stuck in a “casual dating” culture whether they like it or not, singles these days are still looking for good old-fashioned love. Dating apps are just a way of finding the right person, despite the superficial methods of swiping left or right based on a few photos.

Dating app culture might just be about convenience – we are always on our phones, and it’s easier to just swipe through photos rather than spending hours reading lengthy profiles. In fact, most of the long-standing dating sites have now launched apps that are more convenient and user-friendly, with photos front and center.

So the next time you are hesitant to try a dating app because you think that people are only looking for hook-ups, remember that 75% of the people you swipe through are looking for love, just like you. For more on the dating services mentioned you can read our POF review and our Tinder review.