Every day millions of people turn to dating apps to find love. To date, more than 49 million Americans have given digital dating a try and the companies facilitating these matches are raking in billions. But are dating apps really designed to promote long-lasting romance? Apps like Tinder and Bumble make finding a date as easy as swiping right, while digital platforms like Match. But some argue that online dating is rife with sexism, racism, and misogyny, and that dating apps ultimately create a culture that prioritizes sex over committed and lasting love. After all, why settle on one match when there may be someone better just a swipe away? Join The Debate Cast your vote and join the conversation.
Daniel Jones: Because you - John Donvan: Look at all the "hope" that just - [laughter] - rippled across the room there. I've seen this over and over and over. If you are, you know, a year-old man who's never been married, people think there is a deeper problem there.
If you're a year-old man who has been divorced, then at least you are able to convince one person once - [laughter] - that you were worthy and that you - but also that you - you - I guess the main thing is you committed, you know? You ended up not keeping that commitment ultimately, or maybe she didn't, but you committed. And you want someone who will - who will go there. And if it's someone who's never done that, you're more worried. John Donvan: Now, that's divorced individuals.
Are there other groups for whom dating apps have caught on faster than for others and are more important in the sort of larger demographic picture than in others? Daniel Jones: I mean, in my view, it's - it's caught on most in the people who are - or more with people who are - who are introverts or shier or more prone to fantasy [laughs].
Because you - I mean, one difference I've noticed in - in meeting people in person or meeting people online is that when you meet people online, you tend to fantasize more in terms of what this relationship is going to be and how great this person is going to be for you because those fantasies can't be torn down in the moment. And it's a little bit like the difference between, you know, shopping online or shopping at a brick and mortar store. Where, you know, if I go into a store and, like, these jeans are just so great, and I'm going to look so great in those jeans - and then you put them on - [laughs] - and you stand in the mirror that shows you from every angle, and you're like, "Oh, God, it just - it doesn't work.
If you meet someone in person in a bar, you - those - you know, they don't give you the time of day - in which case, you know, your fantasy is dispelled. Or you don't - you sense there's no chemistry. You know, smell is important in falling in love. It's - [laughter] - it's not that a bad smell is off-putting. It's that the smells need to mingle in a way that works, you know? John Donvan: I had no idea. John Donvan: That's working below the conscious level. Daniel Jones: Helen Fisher will tell you about that, I'll bet.
John Donvan: Yeah? Is that a charming thing to do? Daniel Jones: Well, I've heard that if a man has a dog in the picture, that's a huge plus, because it's - again, it shows commitment and love, and that sort of thing. John Donvan: Interesting.
Daniel Jones: And for a woman, no dog and looking up. John Donvan: Really? Daniel Jones: [laughs] John Donvan: So, there's a science to the - yeah - to the mystery?
Tom will tell you more about that. John Donvan: I'm curious - in our audience tonight - is anybody here on a date? John Donvan: Oh, come on.
Raise - close your eyes and raise your hands if you're here on a date. So - [laughter] - I think both of those things are happening right now. But I want to go to, you know, take that question to you in terms of the - what - you know, the heart wants what it wants, but the brain is the thing that's telling us, "Don't do that stupid thing.
Are there people who can talk themselves out of romance because their brain is telling them that it's a bad idea and their lives become ruined as a result? Or are there people - the opposite as well? Are people following their hearts and they do incredibly stupid things? Daniel Jones: - following their hearts. I don't think I've ever been asked that question in that way before. I think people are terrified.
You know, that - to open - to be vulnerable with someone is what love requires, but that's the hardest thing.
And I think it's harder - part of that is harder these days because we have these ways of sheltering ourselves and being meeker about how we ask someone out. You know, it's just a text that says, "What's up?
Daniel Jones: And there's so little risk in that. And when you're used to taking - when you're not used to taking risks, it was really a risk.
Like, when I was in high school, and I was - I mean, I'm terrible at relationships. Like, I just - you know, part of this column has been, like, an education for me, because it's just not something I've ever been very good at. And I - the idea of, like, calling someone or going up to someone in person - John Donvan: [affirmative] Daniel Jones: - was just paralyzing to me. And if I had texting, I would have been emboldened by that.
But it would have been this lower bar of, like, saying, "What's up? Daniel Jones: And I think that you have to practice vulnerability to do it well, just like anything. And I worry that our tools are allowing us not to practice vulnerability.
John Donvan: How else has actually working on this column and knowing all of these people's stories - how else has it changed you? Daniel Jones: I feel like the question that we ask ourselves constantly, with love and relationships, is - and this is something that I've sort of absorbed through people's stories - is everyone is wondering, like, "How happy do I have a right to be?
John Donvan: [affirmative] Daniel Jones: Or "How happy is" - you know, because everyone is trying to determine if this person is right for them. But is it worth jettisoning, you know, get - is it worth getting rid of? And the question that's sort of circling everyone's mind, it's an impossible question to answer. People end up answering it, but it's how - what is happiness?
What does it consist of? And how much of that do I have a right to? Is this marriage enough for me? Is this person enough for me? Now I need to - we need to start thinking about having a family. Is this the person I want to do it with? Do I feel good enough with this person? And I admire the people - I've come to admire people through the column, the people who repeatedly open themselves up to love after they've been sort of crushed. Daniel Jones: And there are really two kinds of people in this world.
And one is the kind - everyone gets crushed, you know, at some point. And one is the kind who says, "Okay, I'm going to love again. Those are the people who are going to have a happy life.
And the ones who say, "I can't do that again," and go in the other direction and don't - and decide, "My heart can't take that. And if you can be on that right side of openness, there - you have a chance at a happy life.
John Donvan: - the Journalist. I don't consider myself an incredibly brave person - John Donvan: Ah. Daniel Jones: - when it comes to love. I have a good marriage, and - and I feel like I'm happier than I have a right to be considering how much struggle there is in the world. But I - I don't know. I have a new view of sort of what - what marriage is.
I've been married 25 years and have two kids and see them go through relationships and all of that. And I've just - I've sort of come to appreciate what kindness and generosity can do over the long term versus our sort of obsession with love and romance. Which are - I don't know, I see so many stories of people who - who divorce or break up because they don't feel in love anymore. They say, "I don't feel in love anymore. What is valuable? And what do you cherish?
And I'm fascinated by people who struggle with those questions. Could you see yourself to rekindle the passion coming to an Intelligence Squared debate to sort of - [laughter] - get things fired - Daniel Jones: What are you asking really? John Donvan: I'm not asking you out. I just want to share.
We've had some - we've had people connect romantically by coming to these debates. Daniel Jones: I believe it, yeah. John Donvan: And we - we had - we had one marriage result - actually two a few years ago inI got an email from a guy in Denver named Ryan who wrote and said, "My girlfriend and I have been listening to your debates.
And we were having a lot of disagreements that were keeping us apart. But listening to your debates let us sort out what - you know, what we believe about things and to learn to respect the differences with each other. And now I think I'm ready to pop the question. And I sent the audio file out to him. And four years ago, he played it in the kitchen while - while Nicole was making dinner. And then he got down on his knees and proposed to her. And I checked in with him this weekend. Daniel Jones: - probably.
John Donvan: And we - we're very interested in these topics that kind of mix technology and the human spirit. We've debated the impact of technology on the way we think on whether it makes it smarter, whether video games make us smarter.
You know, artificial intelligence, and jobs. So, tonight's entrance in this category of Intellidating, we think, is really on target for us. Daniel Jones: [affirmative] John Donvan: But to get back to one other - a couple of other insights from your book that I just found fascinating - and your book, by the way, is called, "Love Illuminated: Exploring Life's Most Mystifying Subject. Daniel Jones: Thank you.
John Donvan: I really loved this book, because you had - first of all, you're a fantastic writer. You - so many people are competing to get into your column.
I'm thinking, "Who is the guy who is judging all of these writers? First of all, all those pieces are really well-written - Daniel Jones: Thanks, John. That's nice of you to say. John Donvan: - but your writing is fantastic. But you mentioned that men are three times more likely to declare themselves in love before sex, and that this was a study done at Penn State.
The Many Problems With Online Dating's Radical Efficiency It makes it too easy to find people, to ditch people, and most importantly, to date people who are similar to us. Peter Ludlow Jan 7,
Do you recall that? Daniel Jones: Yeah, yeah.
John Donvan: So, what's that about? Daniel Jones: That surprised me. Well, it didn't surprise me once I knew why.
It was a study about who says "I love you" first in relationships. And I just - you know, I assumed it would be - very sexist of me, but I assumed it would be the women who would get emotionally involved before the man. And maybe they do. But the person who says, "I love you" first is the man, more commonly - three times more commonly, I think, and - John Donvan: Yeah, yeah.
Daniel Jones: - and he says it before sex. So, there's sort of a motive to - [laughter] - to saying it.
I mean, I don't dispute its sincerity in the moment. John Donvan: At the time. Daniel Jones: In the moment. John Donvan: Yes. Daniel Jones: And then women are much more likely to say, "I love you" after sex, at which point the man is less likely to reciprocate. John Donvan: - the - yeah, let's not. You also talk about the accidental "I love you," when one person blurts out, "I love you," not meaning to, and then - Daniel Jones: [affirmative] John Donvan: - and then it lands and becomes often unreciprocated.
John Donvan: I recommend the book just for these couple of pages, because this is a brilliant story. I mean, it - but again, we're so guarded. And this is - it's funny how "I love you," has become this sort of threshold. You know, like saying these words - like, in some cultures you don't even say "I love you" ever.
And for us, it's so loaded. And then the - I mean, my favorite of stories that have come my way - many of which actually are about this exact issue - how do you say I love you? What does a person say in response? And the classic responses are, like, "Thanks," you know? Well, yeah. You are a catch. And you've helped set up this conversation spectacularly well. The book, again, "Love Illuminated.
So, far, 80, We've got another several hundred here, of people who can write and tell their stories. But I want to thank you - Daniel Jones: Sure. John Donvan: [laughs] I want to thank you so much for taking the time and for helping us - Daniel Jones: Thanks, John.
John Donvan: - set this table this way. John Donvan: Daniel Jones.
My pleasure. John Donvan: And now, let's please welcome our debaters to the stage, starting with Tom Jacques. Manoush Zomorodi.
And Eric Klinenberg. Eric Klinenberg: Hello. John Donvan: Welcome to Intelligence Squared. You are a professor at New York University. You're co-author of the best-seller, "Modern Romance. And that's a field that has been looking at mating rituals for as long as anyone can really remember. And tonight, we're debating the impact of dating apps on people.
But how have these apps changed sociology itself? Eric Klinenberg: So far, they haven't really changed sociology, but it is inevitable that they're going to. And there's a very simple reason for that, and that is that the things we do on apps are recorded by the companies that make them. And we can turn that into data that we learn to discover all kinds of things about our secrets, the things we do.
And actually, I should say that is just one of the many unromantic things about dating apps. Eric Klinenberg - [applause] - trying to slip one by us. And Eric's partner is - ladies and gentlemen, please welcome again Manoush Zomorodi. Manoush Zomorodi: Hi, John. John Donvan: You host the "Note to Self" podcast. It's known as the tech show about being human. Your recent book, "Bored and Brilliant," also makes another sort of fascinating breakthrough argument that is based on new research.
You have found, you report, that we come up with some of our best and most creative thinking during periods when we are off of social media and just spacing out, because that's when our minds get busy, you say, in interesting and creative ways.
So, given that, is the advice that you would give your opponents tonight, if they want to win this debate, that they should just space out now and then? Manoush Zomorodi: Yeah, I would say, if they have not ignited the default mode in their brain and allowed their minds to wander towards brilliance, it's a little late, so Ladies and gentlemen, the team arguing for the motion. You've been to many debates as a member of the audience.
It's great to have you up here. You are a biological anthropologist. You are the chief scientific adviser to Match. That's what your book "Anatomy of Love" is all about, which raises the question, which probably will come up tonight, are we stuck with the chemistry that we're born with? We've evolved a huge cerebral cortex with which we make decisions. It's amazing we don't do it better, but we do.
We have, although, you know - although we are flexible, we have personalities that are based in biology. And we're naturally drawn to some people rather than others.
Debate on online dating
So, people are correct when they say, "We have chemistry. Ladies and gentlemen, Helen Fisher. And next in line is Tom Jacques. Welcome to Intelligence Squared, Tom. Tom Jacques: Thank you. You are - that is a leading date site for anybody who might not know that. It boasts more than 3. You, Tom, got your degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon. And that makes you the numbers guy on the stage tonight, more than anybody else.
So being good with numbers - Tom Jacques: Yes. John Donvan: - can you please settle the most important mathematical question to have burdened sages and songwriters for generations. Is one the loneliest number? So, I think one certainly, you know, is a lonely number. But like all questions, the context matters. So, if we're talking about the number of relationships in the world, then zero is the loneliest number because it means that everybody's alone. John Donvan: Oh. Tom Jacques: If you have - [laughter].
You know, if you have one, but, you know, you might have access to a dating app like OkCupid, you can quickly turn that into two. John Donvan: Okay. Also getting ahead of yourself. Ladies and gentlemen, Tom Jacques. Everybody, we're going to move on. As always, our debate goes in three rounds.
And it's the difference between the first and the second vote that declares our winners, and only one side wins. Let's move onto Round 1. Speaking first for the motion and making his way to the Intelligence Square there on the floor, Eric Klinenberg. He is sociologist and co-author of the book, "Modern Romance. You heard I'm a sociologist. I love sociology. I can't stop doing it. So, I thought, let's start tonight by getting to know each other a little bit.
I'm going to do an old-fashioned instant survey to get us going. So, let me just ask, how many people in this room - can you clap, please - if you have never done online dating - if you've never used an - [applause] - oh, this is the National Public Radio crowd here tonight. And can you also clap loudly if you have used a dating app? We have - people, we have a future.
Can you clap if you're single? Clap if you're married, please. Somewhat disturbing. And just finally, if you could clap if you're currently in an extramarital relationship.
Ashley Madison, a dating app that is not dead yet. I have traveled around the world doing interviews and focus groups with people who are single. I have studied the data that come from dating companies. And I can tell you that it's true - millions of people are using dating apps and many are finding relationships. But we are here not to talk about the numbers so much as to talk about the experience.
And let me tell you that the experiences of people who use dating apps are anything but romantic. And let's remember why we're here tonight, ladies and gentlemen.
Our question is not "Are dating apps popular? We concede that. It's whether dating apps are bad for romance. And Manoush and I tonight are going to tell you why they are.
Pros: Online dating offers a number of ways to get to know a potential date before meeting in person. Such computer-mediated communication allows for safe and convenient interaction, without much. Online dating can also mean dating someone who lives fairly close to you. It can help you understand the person in more detail. If you're foolish enough, then yes, you can be fooled, but there are precautions you can take, like meeting the person in a public area, making sure their story is straight, videochat, specific pictures, etc. Online dating is a good way to meet people and know how they think. When someone is entering the dating world, it is very healthy to talk to people online because it lets you get to know how people think. It involves less heartbreak than real dating, and perhaps the .
But before we can do that, let's define the term. What is romance? Let's go to the Oxford English dictionary, a great source for this. It tells us that romance is this kind of feeling of mystery and wonder - Helen has written about this - that we get around love, but there's something else in the definition that's important to me.
It's the sense of being swept away, remote from reality, away from everyday life. It's that sense of being preoccupied with some other person. You think about them and care about them so much that everything else kind of melts away.
DEBATE: Is Online Dating bad for us? If you aren't hot, dont bother.
You forget about the mundane. That's the feeling that we try to recapture when we go on vacation, or when we go on a date, or when we make a meal for our special person. It's that idea that we're lost in love.
There's not another care we have in the world. Now, it is worth nothing that since the advent of the Internet, marriage rates have gone down. There are more people in the world who are single today than ever before. There are more people who are living alone. Still, I think that most people who are looking for love are able to find it, and technology won't change that. The thing is that dating apps are making just about every part of our search for love less romantic. Think about it.
If you've been on a dating app, you know that it encourages you to treat people like products. People routinely lie about their height, their age, their weight, their income. They put huge amounts of attention into their photograph - and for good reason. About 90 percent of the action - online dating - is about the quality of your picture. Are you hot or not? But then we sent out heartless and sometimes cruel messages - things we would never say to a person in person - because the phones encourage us to treat people like bubbles on a screen.
Unfortunately, the things that we do online are changing the culture. My fellow sociologists say that they're changing our norms, making us ruder, and flakier, and more self-involved. Have you taken a selfie recently? Here's the most important thing. Dating apps make it harder, not easier to be swept away by another person. Why is that?
Because the phone demands our attention. It is always telling us that there's something or someone that deserves our attention more than the person we're with or the thing we're doing now. That's true for new couples, but it's also true for established couples as well. I mean, think about it. How often have you come home at night, if you're in a couple, looking for affection and connection only to find your partner cuddled up on the couch with his iPhone?
How romantic is that? Real life and real relationships have a hard time competing with the stimulation that apps give us. On dating apps, the problem is there's too much going on. Today, people go into their phones, and they perceive a world of limitless dating choices. And unfortunately, this means it's very hard to settle on the person that we're with. We're always wondering, isn't there something better out there?
Let's go online and find out. I have interviewed people who are on Tinder while in an Uber on their way to a date that they organized on Tinder hours before. And this matters because romance and love don't come from superficial connections. It's not really about whether you're hot or not. At the end of the day, romance is impossible without sustained face-to-face contact.
What's important is not the quantity of our dates; it's the quality of our interactions. And the main reason that you should vote for the motion tonight is because apps and the phone culture that they're part of have made spending quality time with another human being a very hard thing to do. Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity to come out here tonight to debate.
Can suggest debate on online dating pity, that now
So, I usually don't do media or public speaking things. Like most people, it terrifies me. And being a programmer, I'm more likely to talk to a computer than another human being. But, you know, even though I'm not going to be as eloquent as Eric just was, I'm going to do my best. So, hello, everybody. So, I grew up in a small town of Wayland, Massachusetts.
And, you know, after graduating, I moved to New York to join this crazy startup called OkCupid that was trying to use the internet to help people find love. And, you know, working on a dating app, you know, let me tell you some of my interests.
I love to travel, love candle-lit dinners, long walks on the beach, and writing algorithms. You know, it's literally what I've spent the last eight years of my life thinking about every single day.
And I may not look like a traditional matchmaker but today, you know, as Eric told you, I am the typical matchmaker because, you know, dating apps are the most common way to meet people now. And today, you know, I'm going to show you that instead of killing romance, the data actually shows that dating apps are creating romance.
And even though Eric didn't want to talk about the numbers, I do.
Dating and Relationships This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. And that concludes round one of this Intelligence Squared U.S. debate where our motion is "Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed Romance." Now we move on to round two. And round two is where the debaters address one another directly, and they take questions from me and from you, our live audience here in . Thanks to Max K. from Brooklyn, NY for suggesting this week's topic: Online dating, once a fringe and stigmatized activity, is now over a $2 billion thatliz.com 40 million Americans have given online dating a try, and over a third of the American couples married between and met online. The first prominent online dating site was thatliz.com, which launched in eHarmony started.
So, I've got three main points that I want to get across tonight. The first point is that more and more people are using dating apps to get together. You know, since building momentum in when the first dating apps started coming about, there's been a steady increase in the percent of couples that are using dating apps to get together. This is especially true of people who were marginalized before, the handicapped, the LGBTQI community and people over the age of You know, says - a quick question to the audience, and remember, it's radio so make a lot of noise.
Who knows somebody who's in a relationship because of a dating app? Turns out you're not alone.
Consider, debate on online dating final, sorry, but
A number of studies estimate that over 40 percent of relationships today come from meeting on a dating app, and over 70 percent of LGBTQI relationships do. A recent study, called the Strength of Apps [unintelligible] that got global attention insays that we're actually seeing an uthatliz.comecedented rise in the number of interracial marriages. And this sharp rise in interracial marriages correlates exactly to moments when popular dating apps were released - things like Match.
This is what dating apps do. They break down barriers and allow you to connect, form relationships, get married to people who you might otherwise never have the chance to meet. What isn't romantic about that? So, my second point is that it's working. Not only are people getting together, they're staying together and they're happy. Studies have shown that married couples who met online report higher marital satisfaction and have a lower rate of breaking up than couples who met offline.
And you might be thinking, "Alright. So, what? Anybody can cite a study that makes them look good, right? Well, let's talk about something you can't fake - more data. It turns out that because marriages are registered with the government in the United States, the CDC happens to track marriage and divorce rates.
Don't ask me why the CDC thinks that marriage is a disease. According to them, marriage has been steadily declining in the United States since the '80s. And this trend only began to change inwhere it started to bottom out, and it's actually started to rise again. You know, if you take a look at divorces - and specifically the rate of divorces per marriage - that's a trend line that's been going up over time.
With debate on online dating Exaggerate. The
You know, people have been getting divorced more and more. But that trend also reversed in It's actually come back down to one of the lowest points in the last 20 years. So, now, well, correlation doesn't imply causation. You know, how could these negative trends have been reversed during the rise of dating apps? It's a hard pill to swallow. If dating apps have killed romance, where's the body? Qualitatively, people don't think that dating apps are killing romance.
Pew Research surveyed 55 percent of people who don't use dating apps - think that they're good. A lot of people who do use them - 80 percent - think that they're a good way to meet people.
Quantitatively, people are still forming relationships and getting together. Again, over 40 percent of relationships today and over a third of marriages are due to dating apps. And you know, if this stuff didn't work, I wouldn't have a job. They're making romance possible. How to let a lady down easy On Christmas?
Are religious beliefs important when looking for a partner? Poll: Did you ever divorce? Getting crushes on people on message boards. Why is men's risk detection and mitigation frowned upon?
What do you and your partner do to spice up your relationship? My flatmate is getting back together with his evil Ex. When things just don't work out as planned. Use statistics to find your spouse.
It worked for me.
Opinion debate on online dating curious topic
You can also find the questions asked, and the answers the public provided in this topline. From personal ads that began appearing in publications around the s to videocassette dating services that sprang up decades ago, the platforms people use to seek out romantic partners have evolved throughout history. This evolution has continued with the rise of online dating sites and mobile apps. Today, three-in-ten U.
Previous Pew Research Center studies about online dating indicate that the share of Americans who have used these platforms - as well as the share who have found a spouse or partner through them - has risen over time.
Americans who have used online dating offer a mixed look at their time on these platforms. On a broad level, online dating users are more likely to describe their overall experience using these platforms in positive rather than negative terms.
Additionally, majorities of online daters say it was at least somewhat easy for them to find others that they found physically attractive, shared common interests with, or who seemed like someone they would want to meet in person. But users also share some of the downsides to online dating. Roughly seven-in-ten online daters believe it is very common for those who use these platforms to lie to try to appear more desirable. Other incidents highlight how dating sites or apps can become a venue for bothersome or harassing behavior - especially for women under the age of Online dating has not only disrupted more traditional ways of meeting romantic partners, its rise also comes at a time when norms and behaviors around marriage and cohabitation also are changing as more people delay marriage or choose to remain single.
These shifting realities have sparked a broader debate about the impact of online dating on romantic relationships in America. Others offer a less flattering narrative about online dating - ranging from concerns about scams or harassment to the belief that these platforms facilitate superficial relationships rather than meaningful ones. This survey finds that the public is somewhat ambivalent about the overall impact of online dating.
The following are among the major findings. Experience with online dating varies substantially by age. Beyond age, there also are striking differences by sexual orientation.
There are only modest differences between men and women in their use of dating sites or apps, while white, black or Hispanic adults all are equally likely to say they have ever used these platforms. At the same time, a small share of U. This too follows a pattern similar to that seen in overall use, with adults under the age of 50, those who are LGB or who have higher levels of educational attainment more likely to report finding a spouse or committed partner through these platforms.
Online dating users are more likely to describe their overall experience with using dating sites or apps in positive, rather than negative, terms. For the most part, different demographic groups tend to view their online dating experiences similarly.