Broadband Love: Who Dates Online, Anyway?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Luke DuBois’s map showing the use of the word “sexy” in dating profiles. Luke DuBois’s map showing the use of the word “sexy” in dating profiles. (bitforms gallery nyc)

Charles J. Orlando is a relationship expert, YourTango partner, and the author of The Problem with Women…is Men. He joins us as we continue our June series on online dating with a look at some of the stats and demographics around how dating has changed.

Share your online dating stats - real or anecdotal. Maybe you've found that 58% of women online take a picture with their dog, or 61% of men lie about their age? Post your Broadband Love stat, rigorously researched or not!


Charles J. Orlando

Comments [28]

Rachel from NY

I am a fan of some of the online dating approaches. With my crazzzzzzzy schedule I don’t have time to meet anyone by going to bars…not that this ever worked for me when I did have time. The problem with a bunch of the dating sites I tried was accuracy of info..bad pics, wrong age, and I also found that I didn’t have time to pour through countless profiles. Although I have not found Mr. Right, JRetroMatch has worked for me. I have a Jewish matchmaker who scans for matches for me and has sent some good ideas! It is pretty inexpensive $15 bucks and not $20k like a Millionaire matchmaker….

Jun. 19 2012 02:25 PM
Tim from Brooklyn

Getting married in a month. We met online after a "free" weekend on eHarmony, we were each the only person the other person ever actually met up with or really was in contact with. Lightning in a bottle.

Jun. 14 2012 04:50 PM
clive betters

i think,that men of all ages are attracted to older women. i believe, the notion that so many men, are looking for younger women,is just a mythologized stereotype, that has taken on a life its own. it's similar to saying, that women are never more sexually oriented, or that men are never interested in long term relationships. many of these ideas, are based, on the perception of a world, that people want to believe exists,so that, they can feel good about being dismissive of the other.

Jun. 14 2012 03:14 PM
tom LI

Online life in general has created a sense of "knowing" people due to their posts, profiles, etc. So with dating, we read what interested us, respond to the triggers - that in reality are only words, but we draw definitive conclusions long before we meet the other person. And phone convo's and texting do not help things either when the mind is made up already.

We've all heard the studies that say we draw conclusions about people pretty quickly when meeting new people - and it appears the same is true online. Too many people conclude way too quickly that this person is the one for me - based on little or no good information.

Jun. 14 2012 12:14 PM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Got to agree with desdemona and Nina - the men showcasing photos of themselves with their shirts off is such a bizarre phenomenon on regular dating sites! Most women really don't respond to beefcake shots; they'd far rather see photos of a man's face, or see him in clothes so we can see what kind of personal style & fashion sense he's got. We see shirtless guys, and all we can think is "ok, he's advertising to get laid."

That irony, of course, is not lost on me as a female, when I see fellow females posting very physically revealing or sexually-suggestive photos of themselves, and then wonder why they're not attracting "serious" long-term dates.

Jun. 14 2012 12:10 PM
Marquis de X from Brooklyn, NY

The problem with men, too, sometimes.

Hope this series will get some same-sex perspectives as well.

Jun. 14 2012 12:08 PM
Charis from Brooklyn

Too many middle aged men use a photo of themselves on a motorcycle, which reduces their face to the size of a pinpoint, and makes all aspects of their bodies impossible to see. Other photos men use are also often awful (and suggest an utter misunderstanding, terror, or lack of caring about imagery): completely blurry images, facial expressions like that of murderers or extreme depressives, photos that seem obsessed with body type and bravado, and on and on.
What men on these sites seem not to know is that, unlike men, women are not obsessed with seeing photos of nude body parts nor with motorcycles. And expressions of arrogance, fear, sorrow, and violence are not the best choice.

Jun. 14 2012 12:05 PM
n from bk from bk

MichaelB, not all women who say that are looking for a man with "lots of money." i for one am a successful woman with a good salary and lifestyle to match. i seek a partner who is in the same range so that we can share a similar lifestyle... i have met far too many men on these sites whom I make more than 4x their salary. its an arrangement that rarely works.

Jun. 14 2012 12:03 PM

I tried online dating long ago, and met several men who are still friends to this day. These days I just have to meet someone in-person up front to determine chemistry (some of my best partners would have looked quite incompatible to me "on paper"). That said, the most successful online experiments resulted from 1-2 sentences on Craiglist. Less is more.

We can't help the age/height/weight bias, and meeting in person without preconceived notions can also break these barriers. For instance, the last man I dated was an inch shorter than I was. I honestly wouldn't have cared seeing this in print, but if a man lies to me about his height then it's indicative of his character.

Jun. 14 2012 12:01 PM
Rachel from Manhattan

Based on my personal experience, as well as data collected from a survey I've put together, about 75% of men lie about height. Most women who have reviewed their dates say that upon meeting, the man's height was "unexpected". This seems to be true mostly for men who say they are 6' or under. Guys who claim to be 6'4" are usually making an accurate claim. So, 6' is a magic number? If you want to contribute to the survey and review a date- check out

Jun. 14 2012 12:00 PM
MC from Manhattan

I have this thing? about women that end every sentence in a rising question tone....? I find it totally annoying......? it seems to make them sound like an .... idiot.....?
especially if they also punctuate every thing with ....TOTALLY......?

Jun. 14 2012 11:59 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

What about women who are 5'2" - 5'4", and are looking for men who are 5'10" and up? Do they need to have a guy tower over them???? What, 2 or 3 inches taller isn't enough?

Then there are the women who demand men who make lots of money... the code words for that are "financially secure", "ambitious", "successful".... are they asking for "A" type personalities? They'll only regret that.

And I never understood what women mean when they say that the want a man "who knows how to treat a lady" -- does that mean to show them a good time (i.e., spend lotsa money on them?) or to treat them in a gentlemanly manner?

Jun. 14 2012 11:59 AM
n from bk

while it may be true that the stats veer older, most men in their late 40s have their search set for women aged 30-40.

Jun. 14 2012 11:59 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Why anyone would lie about themselves - especially about their appearance -on a dating website baffles me. Once a date is set, the truth will come out, so a lie is so damn pointless. In addition, if you are trying to find someone you've never met before and s/he has given erroneous information, how are you going to identify the correct person?

It's pretty much like lying on a resume. Sooner or later your employer is going to find out you can't do all the things you promised and you will be out the door.

Jun. 14 2012 11:58 AM
CK from YKT

Perhaps the online dating matches would be a better match if the tools didn't match you to people you THINK would be a good match but would have actual compatibility based on factors like interests, things in common etc. Not just "I like tall blonds".

Jun. 14 2012 11:57 AM
desdemona from Brooklyn

50 percent of men have photos with their shirt off. 90 percent of divorced men over 50 looking for women too young for them have a photos of themselves in a Speedo.

Jun. 14 2012 11:56 AM
nina from brooklyn

i have done quite a lot of online dating. the real issue, it seams to me is that for most men it is like being a kid in a candy shop. they write and drop off without notice. they don't ask women out, and wait for them to make the move. and because people don't know each other through friends, there is no feeling of responsibility. people feel free to never communicate again if the date was not perfection.

i have also never understood the shirtless photo. for me, if a man has a picture with no shirt. i automatically rule him out.

Jun. 14 2012 11:55 AM
William from Manhattan

Regarding that stat about people who marry after meeting online having a much shorter pre-marital courtship period than people who marry after meeting offline: Isn't this a classic case of selection bias? That is, people who go to a dating site are by definition looking for a romantic relationship as opposed to people who meet offline, who could have met someone randomly.

Jun. 14 2012 11:55 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Another self-hating man blaming his own gender for all the pitfalls. But what I have learned from friends who use online dating services, is that most women are SUCKERS for guys who hand them the syrupy lines they want to hear. And there is no such thing as "love at first sight" but only LUST at first sight, though women prefer to call it love. They prefer to sugarcoat their lust by calling it love. It's all biology. Or baloney, whichever.

Jun. 14 2012 11:54 AM
Hal from Brooklyn

P.S. The process of creating a profile and presenting myself honestly and sincerely was an interesting exercise. It's important to be accurate in order to succeed and to be absolutely clear about your intentions.

Jun. 14 2012 11:54 AM
Seth from UWS

I think your biggest enemy in online dating is your mind's eye. Try to meet the person as soon as possible. Spending a long time chatting or even phone calls does not translate to something in a 3D space. Set up a quick meeting for coffee, get that out of the way first.

Jun. 14 2012 11:53 AM
dan k from chelsea

I believe that online dating will in the long term, lower divorce rates. The idea of removing a certain amount of lust from the courtship and instead matching by common interests, beliefs, and lifestyles, builds for a future based on partnership and companionship, versus sex, which, let’s face it, doesn’t usually last. I think most people who meet by "love at first sight" wake up later on to realize they have little in common, other than their kids.

Jun. 14 2012 11:52 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

I find that women -- middle-aged women -- behave the same way that they complain about in men. For example, they DON'T respond in a timely basis (when they respond at all!) -- days can go by before they will respond, and it's, well, they were busy. Fine, but if a man behaved that way to a woman, she'd drop him in an instant.

In general, women are very critical about men's behavior, and often voice those complaints, but men are NEVER allowed to complain to women -- they are characterized as trouble. The rule is you have to be all-positive all the time! As if we live in a perfect world.

Jun. 14 2012 11:52 AM

Base on my recent experience as a 51 year old single woman,
I find that a disproportionate number of men my own age are seeking women "35 to 50"

Also, almost every man posts a picture of himself on a boat. (?)

And WAY to many pictures of men with their shirts off.

My favorite touch is the ridiculous essay question on OKCupid is "The most private thing I’m willing to admit"
Most people make fun of the question, but my favorite response was a Pablo Neruda poem.

Jun. 14 2012 11:51 AM
John A.

I was definitely interested in older women until the age 30.
No great age-spans, 3 or 4 years different maybe.

Jun. 14 2012 11:51 AM
alice from manhattan

Many men lie about their age while warning women not to do the same. I have a friend who fell in love with a man who claimed to be 48 and was in fact 58, by then they were committed and didn't have much choice. Sites for older people are more productive for those over 45 - an attractive person gets more "hits" as men are not looking for 32 year olds (whether or not they could appeal to the younger women). Who do they think they are?

Jun. 14 2012 11:50 AM
Hal from Brooklyn

My wife and I met online ( twelve years ago and have been married for ten years.
Both of us are now 57 years old, and neither had been previously married.

Jun. 14 2012 11:49 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Though I am a woman married to a man, I hope you will include a "online dating" segment for your gay listeners. Even as a hetero, I get sick of the media rarely mentioning the gay community.

That said, I did date online for a bit before I met my husband - I would say men definitely post older photos of themselves, and also usually tend to want to date younger women.

I am actually happy I met my husband the old fashioned way - in person, through friends.

Jun. 14 2012 11:48 AM

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