Why Women REALLY Use Tinder
“WHAT! You’re using Tinder?!”
That was the response my friend’s mum gave her when she revealed she was using the app. You can’t really blame her.
Tinder has changed over the years, and perceptions of why people use Tinder are very different. Answering “what is the main reason people use Tinder?” or “what do women use Tinder for?” brings up a few surprises.
My friend’s mum was certain it was an app strictly for getting some “action.” Whereas the truth is there are many different reasons women use Tinder.
So why do women use Tinder? A 2016 study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that excitement, trendiness, and validation were the primary reasons women used Tinder (1).
Looking for love or hookups was less important than confirming attractiveness, or alleviating boredom. But of course, women use Tinder for a number of different reasons so the real answer is: 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. For a general overview, they are:
- To browse through profiles
- Validation and self-worth
- To chat
- Because it’s a trendy app
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 limitations in the sample sizes and methodology, so they left some room for doubt.
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.
So before you rage-quit this post because you’re convinced women are on Tinder to gain Instagram followers, remember that there are a lot of different reasons why women use Tinder. Let’s take a look at them!
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What Others Think Tinder Is Mainly Used For
The above story about my friend’s mum makes this pretty obvious. Even if my friend was looking for something serious by using the app, there will still be a lot of people who believe she’s prowling the Internet for some casual fun.
Let’s be honest, in the preceding years, Tinder definitely did have a reputation for being people’s personal “fun time” 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.
Tinder is pretty normalized these days but it still has a reputation that precedes it – and a lot of people wonder what exactly Tinder is for.
Is Tinder Just For Hookups Or Relationships?
If you are rolling your eyes at this and still believe Tinder is purely a hookup app, well, you’re wrong. There are relationships, and even marriages, starting from Tinder.
So is Tinder just for hookups or relationships, too? It’s definitely for both – and in fact, studies have shown that out of people looking for romance on the app, the majority are after something serious.
Leah LeFebvre surveyed 395 adults aged 18 to 34 and found that just 5% of respondents used Tinder for hookups, first and foremost. While most people are using Tinder with little intention of meeting someone either way, you may be more likely to find the one than the one-night stand.
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.
But it’s time to break down the data so you can see it 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 pinpoint 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 genders 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:
- Casual Fun
- Ease of communication
- Self-Worth Validation
- Thrill of Excitement
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 Excitement, Trendiness, and Self-Worth Validation, in that order. They’ll upload some hot Tinder pictures, and enjoy the appreciation.
Another significant conclusion is that there is a stark difference between men and women looking for casual fun, with casual fun 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:
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 the 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.
What stood out in this study was how important a good Tinder conversation is to women.
And as an interesting side note, both studies concluded that women took a lot longer in deciding whether to swipe right or left. Yep – the Tinder bio still counts.
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 use Tinder. This will give you a good idea of 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 times 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 recent months have initially acted like they, too, wanted relationships, but then revealed within weeks that they just wanted casual fun.
— 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 of dates and actually ended up ‘talking’ to someone. 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 “fun”.
— 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.
— Sara, 29
I am on a few dating apps and generally have the outlook of being open to anything, with the goal of building 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
Clearly, there are women on Tinder looking for long-term relationships, short-term relationships, and everything in between. So Tinder is a great place to find a romantic partner and go on some real-life first dates.
If that’s not enough for you, check out this Reddit thread which asks girls to give their reasoning for being on Tinder. You’ll get a good enough idea of what women are looking for on Tinder, or at least make you realize that everyone is different!
Although the dating scene has changed a lot since 2016, the main reason women use Tinder is still for excitement or validation. While up to 50% of men might be looking for a hookup, most women aren’t.
But everyone has multiple different reasons for being on Tinder. They might be there primarily out of boredom but wouldn’t say no to a little hanky panky!That means that in 2023, Tinder is still an excellent tool for meeting women, either for relationships or just for passing like ships in the night. New euphemism unlocked.
And if you want in on the action, you’d better have a top-tier Tinder profile to impress your potential matches. Check out my 6-Step Tinder Tune-Up ASAP for a photo, bio, and vibe-check upgrade. Go go go!