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CoFounder of OkCupid Launches a New Book Mining User Data

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Ever wanted to get inside the minds of thousands of daters to see what makes everyone tick? Maybe that seems cool, or maybe you’d rather sit in a dentist’s chair for five hours, but either way – it does make you curious.

So it’s no surprise that OkCupid Co-Founder Christian Rudder has decided to harness the power of OkCupid’s user data and create a book that piques our curiosity. After all, we all watched with fascination as the dating site’s blog OkTrends revealed its latest research, informing us of what types of people we are attracted to, we’re doing wrong in our online dating profiles, or how to effectively message other users. Rudder found interesting trends in the details, helping us ask questions we didn’t even know to ask. For instance, why does the angle of the camera matter in a photo, or how you smile? Why is it preferable to write a less descriptive profile? Why is it more attractive to have a guitar in your hand than a tennis racket, or possess an unusually-shaped nose than to be considered average-looking? Or the million-dollar question: what do people lie about the most when they are online dating?

OkCupid has given us the sometimes surprising preferences of online daters, based on all of the data they mine from their thousands of users. Because of the site’s format of creative questions and answers, it’s allowed them to dig deeper than most.

OkTrends has been on hiatus since 2011, when Rudder started taking the information to compile it into a book, rather than just posting the information for free on their website. Rudder’s new book is called Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), which comes out on Sept. 9 and examines interactions for insights into whom and how we date.

For one of Dataclysm’s studies, Rudder analyzed how men and women approach attraction. It turns out that as women get older, they like older men. Men, on the other hand, consistently prefer younger and younger women. Men will message women close to their own age, but only up to a point. For example, men in their mid-40s rarely talk to women older than 30. “We have a lot of serial daters on the site—men who just keep dating women 10 years younger than they are,” Rudder told Business Week in a recent interview. “Eventually their tactics start to fail, and the young ladies they’re messaging begin rejecting them. The result is a lot of 40-year-old men and women who find it hard to get a date.”

OkCupid isn’t worried about user backlash for mining their personal data. Rudder recently wrote a post to address this issue, pointing out that all websites experiment on users, admitting that OkCupid once tested its matchmaking algorithm by telling users who were not suited for each other that they were a near-perfect match. “We got maybe five complaints,” Rudder told Business Week.

Since OkCupid users don’t pay for the site or its advice, does Rudder have an audience willing to buy his book? We’ll have to wait and see.

Check out our review of OkCupid for more information on this popular dating site.

Is Your Diet a Turn-Off For Your Date?

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When it comes to our personal lives and how we spend our time – many of us like to share what we’re doing over social media. We post pictures of the food we eat, talk about the five miles we ran in the morning, and want our friends and followers to know if we’ve started a cleanse or just lost ten pounds.

While these are good updates for your friends to rally around, offering supportive comments over Facebook and likes on Instagram, is it really helping your dating life? According to a new study by dating site PlentyofFish, fad diets and talking about your health routines are a huge turn-off for daters.

Gen Xers and Millennials believe their followers want to see and hear everything about the healthy lifestyles they adopt, but this survey shows that the diet and fitness craze is not only driving couples apart, but preventing singles from creating new relationships.

In terms of restrictive diets, 70% of women and 75% of men don’t want to date someone on a gluten-free, low/no carb or vegetarian diet. In addition, 47% of singles surveyed don’t want to date a vegan, either. (Sorry animal lovers.) While the jury is out on why this is the case, at least among POF users, perhaps most people don’t want to limit their own options or vary their routines, especially if they don’t know the relationship will work out in the end.

Exercise is another challenge for daters, with men being less than supportive of their girlfriends and dates than many people might think. Thirty percent of women have felt pressure from a partner to improve their exercise habits. Even more alarming – men admit it. Twenty-eight percent of men said they pressured a woman they were dating to exercise more, 32% pressured a woman to improve her eating habits, and 11% have broken up with a woman over exercise.

Women are the first to deprive themselves in preparation for a date, too. Twenty-two percent have dieted or not eaten in the time leading up to a big date.

When it comes to keeping fit – men and women differ on what it means to exercise. Thirty-nine percent of women walk, while 40% of men lift weights.

Interestingly, the PlentyOfFish survey targeted the most health-conscious users in North America's 10 fittest cities to reveal how singles view fitness and diet when it comes to forming romantic relationships. As it turns out, the most health-conscious daters are not the most tolerant of others who might be good romantic partners in other ways. Maybe it’s time we went a bit outside our comfort zones.

For more on the dating site which brought us this study you can read our POF review.

Which Sibling Is Most Likely To Find Love?

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There’s no denying that family has a major impact on who and what we turn out to be. But exactly how big is that impact?

The research team PlentyOfFish set out to understand how your family affects your likelihood of reaching financial and personal success. The study examined the correlation between birth order and long-term relationships, income brackets, and education level. It also looked at the relationship between birth order and hair color, pets, and body type.

The participants in the study were North American singles, both men and women, between the ages of 25 and 45 who are from families of up to six children. All had created a PlentyOfFish profile since 2013, but were a mix of current users and those who had since deleted their accounts.

The study found that firstborns are more likely to experience multiple advantages in life. In comparison to their younger siblings, firstborns are more likely to find a relationship, pursue higher education, and make between $100k and $150k a year. Although the findings differed depending on the number of children in the family, firstborn children consistently came out on top. Fun fact: the eldest of two is also up to 8% more likely to be a redhead.

Middle children across the board are the least likely to find a relationship. On the other hand, they are more likely to make between $100k and $150k a year than their younger siblings. They are also, apparently, 20% more likely to own a bird as a pet.

Youngest children are the most likely to be looking for a relationship. The youngest of two is up to 15% more likely to be blonde and 9% more likely to own an iPhone. Youngest male children are 10% more likely to be thin, while the youngest female child of two is 9% more likely to be athletic and 7% more likely to be thin. The youngest in the family, regardless of gender, is also most likely to own a cat or a dog.

Single children are 9% more likely to be very ambitious and 15% more likely to be seeking a casual relationship. There are also 16% more likely to be overweight, 9% more likely to use an Android device, and up to 19% more likely to have black hair.

Moral of the story: birth order does have a connection to the direction your life takes, and it pays big to be the first born.

Would You Kiss Someone on the First Date?

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We’ve all seen romantic comedies where the guy falls hard for the girl. Their mutual attraction is so strong that they inevitably kiss when they first meet - they can't help it! But is this something we should expect in real life?

Singles are more old-fashioned than you might think, at least according to a recent study. When it comes to the right time for the majority of Americans to go for the first kiss on a date, it’s usually date number two. That’s because many people feel that a first date is too soon when you’re just getting to know someone.

More than a quarter of Americans feel that it is okay – even more appropriate – to wait until the second date to kiss someone. Surprisingly, this number holds steady for both men and women (27 and 25 percent, respectively), gay or straight (27 and 26 percent respectively).

The ethnicity of study participants didn’t seem to make a difference, either. Roughly the same quarter percent would go for a second date kiss among whites, blacks, and Asians. Only Hispanics had a higher percentage from the norm to wait for a second date kiss - at 31%.

Not surprisingly, there does seem to be a difference among different age groups, with younger singles tending to be more open to the idea of a second date kiss. At 34 percent, younger Americans had the highest response among the 1,080 people surveyed. Men and women aged 18 to 24 had a 79 percent higher likelihood of kissing a potential partner on the second date than men and women aged 54 to 64.

People from different regions tended to agree as well, with 27% of respondents from the West, MidWest, and South agreeing that waiting for a first kiss on a second date is preferable. But those in the Northeast varied slightly, with only 21% agreeing that a second date kiss is the way to go.

Rachel Dack of DatingAdvice.com who commissioned the study, said that it suggests more people are tuning into their own connection or lack thereof with their dates to determine if kissing on the first date is the right option for them.

“The hope is single individuals will determine when to kiss their date based on their own sense of internal readiness, attraction, values or gut feelings as opposed to acting out of pressure from society,” she said. “I think it is also important to note it might feel like you should kiss your date or get sucked into the belief that ‘everyone’ kisses on the first date, but clearly that’s not the case.”

Americans Share the #1 Thing They are Looking For in a Relationship

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What is the magic ingredient that most people are looking for when it comes to committing to someone for a long-term relationship? Is it good looks, chemistry, a sense of humor? Or is there something more lasting or less tangible you look for as you date each new person?

According to a recent study by website DatingAdvice.com, about half of all American singles (both men and women) are looking for the same thing – having things in common with each other – like shared values, background, or interest in the same activities.

Other qualities that were important to those surveyed were money, good looks, and a sense of humor.

When the study was broken down, they discovered that while people were pretty evenly matched by gender, gay men and women were 12% more likely than straight people to want partners with common interests and values. There was a big divide by age, too: Americans aged 65 and older were 54% more likely than their 25 to 34 year-old counterparts to prioritize commonalities in their relationships.

DatingAdvice.com dating expert Rachel Dack said she’s not surprised that commonalities ranked highest among all other traits in the study, as Americans emphasize them as a culture.

“Similar values, lifestyle preferences and interests are important aspects in healthy relationships,” she said. “It also makes sense that older Americans were more likely to rate this quality much higher compared to younger Americans due to the stages of human development, aging process and the tendency for our elderly population to value companionship over other relationship qualities.”

Divorced men and women were also more likely than their married counterparts – and singles who have never been married – to want partners with common interests over other qualities. Respectively, 54% of divorced people were most interested in a partner with commonalities compared to only 47% of never-been-married folks.

There seems to be a difference regionally as well. Fifty-four percent of those in the South were more likely to look for partners with common interests above other qualities, compared to the Midwest at 44%.

The study broke down information by income as well, with 54% of those earning $125,000 or more preferring to meet partners who have things in common with them, compared to only 46% of those earning $25,000 to $49,000.

The study contained data from Americans surveyed over a three-week period, balancing participants according to race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. to accurately represent the American population.

More than Half of Americans have Never had a One-Night Stand

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Olympic athlete and heartthrob Ryan Lochte has been quoted saying he’s never had a one-night stand (even while people were hot and heavy on Tinder in Olympic Village). And he’s not alone. Most Americans – 53% - claim they’ve never had a one-night stand.

A new study by Dating Advice found that while most Americans haven’t participated in this type of casual sexual encounter, men were more likely to have participated than women. Sixty-four percent of women said they’ve never had a one-nighter compared to only 41% of men in Lochte’s camp, which means that traditional gender roles when it comes to sexuality are still at play in American society.

Age was a factor in the study. Americans aged 18 to 24 had a 25 percent higher likelihood of saying they’d never had a one-night stand than those aged 25 to 34. The age difference makes sense, as there might be more life experience or opportunities for casual encounters as you get older and break away from your college relationship, opting instead for clubs and bars with other singles.

Not surprisingly, those who are married are also least likely to have had a one-night stand, with 56% saying they had never. On the other hand, only 41% of divorcees have not had one-night stands, compared to 50% of singles who have never been married.

There seems to be a distinction between straight and gay Americans, with only 32% of gay people saying they’d never had a one-night stand compared to 54% of straight people. As for race, 45% of African Americans and 47% of Latinos have admitted to never having a one-night stand compared to 74% of Asians.

It seems there isn’t much difference among income earners, with about the same percentage of people earning less than $25,000 a year saying they’ve never had a one-night stand compared to those earning $125,000 or more at 56% and 55% respectively. However, those earning in the median range from $75,000-$99,000 were the most likely to have had a one-night stand, with only 49% saying they hadn’t.

As expected, the South and Midwest are more conservative, with 54% of their residents saying they’d never had a one-night stand compared to the Northeast at 50% and the West at 51%.

The study surveyed 1,080 respondents over the course of three weeks, balancing responses by age, gender, income, race, sexuality and other factors in order to accurately represent the U.S. population.