The relationship type that’s universally despised by women on dating apps

Image: vicky leta / mashable

In the Tinder generation, casual sex is a mere swipe away. But fast-swiping hasn’t killed the romance of dating, nor has it replaced it with a casual hookup culture.

Turns out that friends-with-benefits relationships and one-night hookups are actually the least desired types of relationship sought on dating apps, according to the largest ever international sex and tech survey.

The study conducted by female health app Clue and the Kinsey Institute surveyed 140,000 women from a broad spectrum of sexual identities in 198 countries about the impact of technology in their sex lives, dating habits and sexual education.

30 percent of respondents said they used apps to find some form of sexual partner.

Image: clue app

Rather surprisingly, the results show that people seem to be more interested in finding love than finding lust. Out of a possible of five different types of relationships, more people wanted to find steady relationships over a fleeting fling.

The survey showed that a friends-with-benefits arrangement is the least sought-after relationship for dating app users. Only 8.1 percent of respondents said they’d used an app to find a friends-with-benefits relationship, where there’s “no romantic connection, but regular/frequent sex”. And, 10 percent said they’d been swiping for one-night stands or hookups.

Meanwhile, 15 percent of those surveyed said they used apps for long-term relationships and 14.9 percent said they’d been looking for short-term relationships, like a string of meetings or dates. And 11.5 percent have used dating apps for chatting and sexting with no real plan to meet up in person. Sounds a bit like breadcrumbing.

But is this study indicative of what most daters are looking for? Publicist and online dater Holly Forrest says she’s used dating apps to find friends-with-benefits in the past. “I’ve had a few successful friends with benefits situations come through Bumble which was fun,” says Forrest. She says in those situations it was all outlined before the first date and felt “contractual”.

She feels there’s a pretty dominant hookup culture on apps. “On dating apps it seems to be a sea full of one-night-wonders, rather than someone who is interested to get to know you as a person,” says Forrest.

PR manager Diana Villegas says it “really depends on where someone is in life”. “When I started using tinder I wasn’t looking for anything long-term. Afterwards that changed,” says Villegas. She has a point.

Online daters should take heart, nonetheless. Dating apps aren’t all about hookups and casual sex, and it looks like people are still out there looking for love.

There’s hope for all of us yet.

Read more:

Sex and Tech: Results from International Survey by Clue and the Kinsey Institute

Check out the results from our sex and tech survey:

Technology is changing the way we live, and a big part of that includes the way we navigate our intimate relationships and sexuality. We’re interested in learning more about how people use technology (apps like Tinder, Bumble, WhatsApp, Facetime, etc) for intimacy – to connect with potential partners, keep their relationships exciting, or track aspects of their sex lives.

Together with the Kinsey Institute, the world’s premier research organization for human sexuality and relationships, we conducted one of the world’s largest international sex surveys (translated into 15 different languages) to better understand how these technologies are being used within people's sex lives, how they benefit people and how they might be improved.

Our survey received over 140,000 responses from 198 different countries. The results of the sex and tech study, conducted throughout June 2017, reveal how people internationally incorporate and rely on technology in their sex lives, dating habits, and sexual education.


30% of all respondents use dating apps.
34% of all respondents have used apps to find sexual or romantic partners.

But it’s not all about hook-ups.
15% use apps to find a long-term partner
10% use apps for one-night-stands

“Friend-with-benefits” is the least desired relationship.

67% of all respondents have sexted.
12% of all respondents use apps to improve their sexual relationships.

For the full sex and tech report, with interpretations of the data from Kinsey, sign up for Clue’s newsletter:

Created by: Shari Mahrdt

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