"Tinder is about more than just casual sex"

A Flemish student has done research on users of the popular dating app Tinder. It turns out that only about 50 percent of Tinder users actually clinches a date. Within this group, 27 percent of the respondents managed to build a serious relationship. "It's about more than just sex," says researcher Elisabeth Timmermans. This being said, in most cases, it is still about casual sex or one-night stands, which make up 31 and 23 percent respectively within the dating group.

The dating app Tinder has become more popular in recent years. It allows you to see potential partners (not much more than a picture, age and in some cases some basic information) and to decide on the spot whether you "like" this person or not, by swiping to the left or right.

Timmermans is doing a PhD in communication at the Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven). "Don't be mistaken", she says. "It is about more than sex. Don't forget that within the group of people who actually go on a date, 27 percent manages to build a long-term relationship."

This being said, Tinder dates often end up in casual sex or one-night stands (almost 30 percent of the respondents, although figures for casual sex and one-night stands may overlap).

This can be explained by the fact that both people have already "met" via Tinder, i.e. they know each other's background. They are not complete strangers, like on a blind date. "Users know that there is a mutual interest, which can easily end up in a casual sexual relation, without the proper relationship."

Killing time and curiousness

People mostly go on Tinder because they are curious, and because they want a relation. Only a couple of respondents said they just go for some sex. In general, Tinder users are more extravagant than other people. Most users are between 18 and 29, with the number diminishing with age.

However, 3 in 4 are just on the app to kill time. 

And there's more: 12 percent of the respondents admitted that they already have a relationship, but go on Tinder despite this. "They are afraid to give up their present relationship and see Tinder as a kind of back-up", says Timmermans, who included some 3,000 respondents in her research. She found her respondents through social media and the press. "It was impossible to take an ordinary sample as Tinder is not releasing any data."