THE BLOG
08/20/2015 06:29 pm ET Updated Aug 20, 2016

The Shocking Truth About Tinder; It's More Than Just a Hook-Up App!

Have you heard the news? Tinder is causing a 'Dating Apocalypse.' That's right, this simple dating app is causing changes in human mating and dating behavior, the likes of which we've never seen before... that is, if you agree with the September Vanity Fair article by Nancy Jo Sales, "Tinder and the Dawn of the 'Dating Apocalypse." Not convinced? Browse over to the R.I. Health Department and read their conclusion that Tinder is one cause of the nation-wide rise in STDs. That's one powerful app, right? Could it be true? Has Tinder forever changed the way people date?

What is Tinder and Why has it become the Focus of Debate?

Tinder is a free, location-based mobile dating app that simplifies the process most dating websites require. You simply download the app to your smart phone, link to your Facebook account, choose up to six photos of yourself, and write a brief bio. That's it!

Then the game begins. The app shows you photos of singles based on your preferences. You swipe left if you don't like them and swipe right if you do. If someone you like also swiped right on your photo, the app immediately informs you, "It's a Match!" and urges you to begin chatting. Beware: Tinder is addictive. But, is it just a hook-up app for the 'hit-it-and-quit-it' culture, or is it something more?

The Appeal

If you've familiar with online dating, you may wonder what the appeal is, and how you can find someone worth your time given what little information the app gives and requires. But that's what makes Tinder great. The app is simple, easy on the eye and feels like a game. The objective? To find matches and start conversations. And when you are matched, starting conversations is easier. After all, you know your match is also interested.

Tinder is more efficient because it doesn't require answering a long series of questions to find the best matches for you. It's a matter of choosing whether to swipe left or right. Sounds too simple, right? Well, not exactly. The decision-making process involved in using Tinder is both rational and emotional. You'll rationalize your swiping decision based on age, distance and a short bio (if included). But let's be honest, it's all about the photos. Swiping left or right depends on how attractive you find a candidate, and that's pure emotion.

Tinder Is Only for Hook-Ups.

If you believe the hype and speak to the wrong people, you'll be convinced that Tinder is just another hook up app. But, dismissing this app would be a mistake, and I can give you 50 million reasons in 196 countries worldwide to convince you. Yes, Tinder is popular and widespread.

Over the past few months, I've used Tinder Plus (premium subscription / worldwide) to "informally research" Tinder users (women and men) across a wide age-range (25-50) all over the world. And No, I did not create fake profiles.

What I found? Almost 60 percent of all women who wrote a narrative in their profile included a reference to NOT wanting a hook-up. Here are examples copied from Tinder profiles in the United States:

Not looking for a hook-up, but thanks for the thought . . . Makes me feel all warm 'n fuzzy, LOL.

NOT HERE FOR A HOOK-UP. KEEP YOUR STDs TO YOURSELF!

Looking 4 a match, not a F*** B****!

Hook-ups, please swipe left. XOXO

So, people are aware of Tinder's "hook-up" reputation, yet they are still willing to try the application hoping to connect with someone who is also looking for a serious relationship. Are these women hiding their true intentions about hooking-up? I think not.

Can Tinder Lead to a Long-Term Relationship?

There's plenty of discussion about the "seriousness" of mobile dating apps. In fact, many find them superficial because of how simple they are. Perhaps this adds to the app's allure and charm. Whatever the case, Tinder is popular and has brought online dating to the masses. People who have considered online dating desperate find it much easier to download the simple app, link to Facebook and swipe away.

Indeed, there are plenty of twenty-somethings who are on Tinder for a quick hook-up. And, if you use it, you'll probably find a match who swiped right to convince you to hook up with them. But you'll find just as many interesting, attractive and successful people who are only interested in a committed relationship.

Afraid of matching and chatting with a married person? Yes, unfortunately it happens on Tinder! Oh, but wait, it also happens in bars, restaurants, at speed dating events, and through matchmaking services. It happens in life!

Does Tinder make hooking-up and casual sex easier? Yes, if you're looking for it. But it makes finding meaningful relationships easier as well. What happens after you're matched, depends on you and your partner. Trust your instincts and make sure your partner is on the same page. If someone makes you uncomfortable, un-match them, report the issue and move on.

Today's technology, connectivity and innovative applications make connecting with and meeting new friends easy. But at the end of the day, you're still the one who decides who you find attractive and with whom you want to spend your time. Tinder is just a tool -- a portal to connect and introduce you to others. But it's the biggest and baddest on the playground. And if you're in the game, don't you want to play with the best? Tinder is simple, quick, fun and free -- and everyone seems to be doing it. If you're single and looking, keep an open mind and check it out. You might be pleasantly surprised.