Why women REALLY use Tinder

“WHAT! You’re using Tinder?!”

That was the response my friends mum gave her when she told her she was using the app. You can’t really blame her. Tinder has changed over the years, and many people’s perceptions of why people use Tinder is very different. My friends mum was certain it was a “sex app” (her own words). Whereas the truth is there are many different reasons women use Tinder.

Women use Tinder for a number of different reasons. The real answer to the above question is this: it depends. But that’s a frustrating answer, so after going through different (and sometimes conflicting) research papers studying this topic, I narrowed down a few of the main reasons why women use Tinder. They are:

  • -To browse through profiles
  • -Validation and self-worth
  • -Excitement
  • -To chat

 

To be honest, the above answers aren’t what I initially imagined would be the reasons why women are on Tinder. But the data doesn’t lie. Keep in mind this is my interpretation of the data, and there were many variables that could affect this data. Both studies also conclude that there were many limitations. If you don’t believe me about the above, the good news is we’re going to break all of this data down, so you can make up your own mind. Before you rage quit this post because you don’t agree, remember that there are a lot of different reasons why women use Tinder. Let’s take a look at them!

What others think Tinder is mainly used for

The above story about my friends mum makes this pretty obvious. Even if my friend was looking for something serious from using the app, there will still be a lot of people who believe she’s prowling the Internet for some casual fun.

Related: What Are You Looking For On Tinder – How To Answer This Tricky Question

Let’s be honest, in the preceding years, Tinder definitely did have a reputation for being peoples personal sex slot machine. I remember ‘back in the day’ it was considered a little taboo to use Tinder, and if you did, you kept it pretty quiet. But now, that stigma has definitely been fading, and I believe will continue to do so.

If you are rolling your eyes to this and still believe Tinder is purely a hookup app, well, you’re wrong. This story from Cosmopolitan covers a handful of the (many) marriages that are starting from Tinder. My roommate has been with his girlfriend for over two years, and guess where they met?

So if you’ve opened this post to validate your beliefs that the women you are swiping through are as thirsty as you, I’m sorry to break it to you, most of them aren’t.

Difference between what men and women are looking for on Tinder

So it’s time to break down the data so you can see for yourself. Right now, there are two major academic studies that have taken place focusing on the different motivations to use Tinder between men and women. To be honest, the conclusions do vary, as well as sample size, country of collection etc. But as you can imagine, trying to pin point why all women use Tinder is a pretty difficult task. So this is the best indication we currently have to narrow down what it is that both sexes are looking for on Tinder.

Tinder Study One:

This study was conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2016. They asked 163 past and current Tinder users between the age of 18 and 30 to reveal how much they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about why they used Tinder (using a score out of 5).

The series of statements they asked all fell into 6 categories. Those 6 main overall categories or reasons are:

  • -Love
  • -Casual Sex
  • -Ease of communication
  • -Self-Worth Validation
  • -Thrill of Excitement
  • -Trendiness

 

Let’s take a look at how these were ranked, using the mean score out of 5, for men and women:

First of all, it’s clear that women, in general, answered lower overall compared to men. The main takeaway from this graph is that women’s main reasons for using Tinder are for the Thrill of Excitement, Trendiness and Self Worth & Validation, in that order.

Another significant conclusion is that there is a stark difference in men and women looking for casual sex, with casual sex being the second highest reason men use Tinder. Remember though, this is just one study, let’s take a look at another study.

Tinder Study Two:

This study was undertaken at the Queen Mary University of London in 2016. It dives a lot deeper into the difference in female and male Tinder behavior. But to not overcomplicate, we will only focus on the different motivations for using Tinder.

This study, similarly to the previous study asked a pool of men and women to rank a series of reasons for using tinder from 1 – 5 (with 5 being most important). The five motivators they were asked to rank are:

  • -One night stands
  • -To Chat
  • -Casual Dating
  • -Looking at Profiles
  • -Meeting a Partner

 

Let’s take a look at how these motivators were ranked, based on their mean score (out of 5):

Of course, there are a number of differences between the outcome of the two studies, regardless of how similar the method was. But something that remains very constant is the massive difference in men and women looking for a one-night-stand. In this study, 49% of male respondents rated “I use Tinder for one night stands” as a 4 or 5, compared to just 15% for women.

An interesting side note that both studies concluded, is that women took a lot longer in deciding whether to swipe left or right.

What these real-world women look for on Tinder

To be honest, the in-depth studies get a little too technical for my liking. I mean, we are talking about Tinder after all. Sometimes the best way to find out why women use Tinder is to just ask.

Recently Elite Daily asked 6 single women why they are using Tinder. This will give you a good idea what some women are actually looking for, rather than just looking at complicated graphs. Here goes:

In the past, I used Tinder to find friends with benefits. Good sex and a bit of charisma, at the very least. Now however, I use them to try to find a more serious relationship, and even though I advertise that on my profile (and ask men looking for hookups to swipe left), I still get a ton of men who match with me and try to just have a hookup-based relationship. Several dudes in the recent months have initially acted like they, too, wanted relationships, but then revealed within weeks that they just wanted casual sex.

— Olivia, 27

I recently moved to New York, so I don’t have a lot of expectations just yet. The city is new and so are the people. So if and when I decide to actually commit to a dating app, I really am looking for someone to just have fun with, whether that ends up being a hookup, a short fling, or something more serious.

— Carley, 23

I have profiles on Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge. What I’m looking for depends on my mood, but … I do want a boyfriend. I’ve gone on a couple dates and actually ended up ‘talking’ to someone [from a dating app]. Things didn’t work out, but it was nice to bond with someone.

— Tara, 25

I’m looking for something more serious than a one night stand, but less serious than a relationship, partially due to the fact that I’m leaving the area and don’t want to get attached to anyone. I haven’t been successful, because I feel that most guys [on dating apps] are looking for a one night stand. I kind of see it as a friends with benefits or no strings attached situation. It’s the best of both worlds: no constant texting, no dates, no holding hands or mushy things, but still friendship with sex.

— Ana, 23

I got into online dating after a seven-year relationship ended. After I turned 27, I realized that I’d pretty much maxed out all my social circles — basically, I knew my friends’ friends, I’m not in a workplace where I meet a lot of people my age — and that if I wanted to meet new people it’d have to be through an app. I’ve had multiple successful relationships with men I’ve met via dating apps, and it’s why I’m using it again right now. I’m looking for a serious relationship. I don’t advertise that, but depending on which app you use, it’s pretty safe to assume that people I’m matching with are looking for the same thing. In the past I’ve looked for casual relationships or a serious relationship and I’ve found both via dating apps. Some of these relationships that I had on dating apps have now turned into friendships. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to use dating apps and I could meet people organically, but that’s just not my reality right now.

— Sara, 29

I am on a few dating apps and generally have the outlook of being open to anything, with the goal of building to a relationship. I have talked to several people on the apps and have met with some in person (the ones I seem to gel with the most). I think especially at a younger age, people are less looking for a relationship which is understandable, but can be discouraging. I’ve just gotten back in the game because I stopped for a while. It was just getting tiring. My advice? Don’t resort to just one app. Try many.

— Sidney, 24

If that’s not enough for you, check out this Reddit thread which asks girls to give their reasoning for being on Tinder. There are plenty to definitely give you a good enough idea of what women are looking for on Tinder, or at least make you realize that everyone is different!

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