OkCupid recently published their 'year in review' which is essentially a summary of the trends they've noticed within their dating ranks over the course of 2015. Featuring everything from political preferences to inclination towards BDSM, it was an interesting window into the dating world at large. Granted, OKC is just one of many such sites but I still think it's as decent a representation of these trends as any other.
Apparently, OKC wasn't the only site with this idea and as I dove deeper into my research, I found a whole slew of other similar retrospectives from the past year. Here are the points I found most worthy of being shared, about what 2015 signified for the dating scene:
1. Casual sex is on fleek. (OKC) You can explore OkCupids cool little map graphic at your leisure but, in a nutshell, it breaks down, by state, the percentage of users who are looking for casual sex. The number one ranked state, Oregon, shows that 15.51% of their users want a casual fling. Granted, this doesn't sound like a huge number but when you take a step back and think about what OKC is supposedly for--dating--it's telling that roughly an eighth of their user base don't really want that after all (New York by comparison is 11.05% and ranked a surprising 41 in the overall listing)
2. People still want to be wooed. (OKC) OKC summarized this point with a simple stat: messaging someone with a simple 'hey' stands an 84% chance of being ignored. I find this fascinating. In spite of the fact that people want to bump uglies with complete strangers, and look online to find said people, they still want to be wooed with words. Apparently, even for the casually inclined, a little effort is still required.
3. People are becoming more open minded. (OKC) The factoid that best represents this is that when polled, 1 in 4 people are apparently comfortable with the idea of dating someone who is transgender. I was incredibly pleasantly surprised to read this. I know we've made great strides in the past decade when it comes to GLBTQ rights but the fact that a quarter of the national population would date someone who identifies as trans kind of makes me go 'yeah America'.
4. Superficiality reigns supreme (the Atlantic) In an article recently published in the Atlantic about the psychology behind online dating, they aptly stated that the burgeoning presence--and preference--of swipe style online dating sites, is further indication that people are caring more about looks and less about the whole package (at least upon first glance) than ever. I've been on sites like j-date, and e-harmony, both paid sites, which supposedly tend to attract people who are more serious about finding a mate. The truth is, I found the pool of options on both of these sites to be very lacking both in terms of geographic proximity and range of options, especially as compared to other swipe sites. With the limited options and in light of the above statement that casual sex is on the rise, it's not surprising that people are more drawn to the casual online dating experience.
5. Gender inequality is alive and well. (Myself). Women have made tremendous advances in the workplace, in the home, and in politics, but these advances sadly don't seem to have penetrated the dating scene. Yes, there are sites like Bumble where women are required to make the first move upon matching. However, despite these attempts, when it comes down to it, men still want to be in charge of dictating the terms of relationships. Sure, women can ask a guy out. But men still love the chase and as long as this truth remains, men don't want a woman to take the lead. You go on a great date, it's still expected that the man will get in touch if he wants to see you again--not the other way around. Men still want to take lead in the quantity and frequency of contact they have with a prospective mate in the courting phase of the relationship. And if a woman is too 'pushy' and takes initiative? Heavens forbid. Most men will write her off faster than you can swipe left.
In summary, we're making some great advances with each passing year of online dating. And hey, maybe these platforms will continue to evolve and advance and everyone will find their perfect mate. But in the interim, I think they still serve to advance certain facets of social standards and retard otherwise. Guess we'll all just have to stand by and see what 2016 brings.