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But while it’s tempting to shave off a couple of pounds or add a couple of inches, studies show that online dating profiles are, fundamentally, quite honest.
Gwendolyn Seidman, writing in Psychology Today, explains it well: “Online daters realize that while, on the one hand, they want to make the best possible impression in their profile, on the other hand, if they do want to pursue an offline relationship, they can’t begin it with outright falsehoods that will quickly be revealed for what they are.” That’s not to say every profile is the gospel truth, of course. Ok Cupid has found, for example, that men and women more or less uniformly add two inches to their height.
But as I learned at Ok Cupid, men don’t necessarily end up dating young women, even if they think they’re gorgeous.
Men on the site tend to message women closer to their own age; very few men over 30 actually reach out to 20-year-old women.
One sociologist found that college-age students are having no more sex today than they were in 1988.
In fact, online dating has made it easier for those seeking long-term commitments to find each other.
Experts say that one-third of recent marriages in the United States started online.
Those couples tend to be happier, too, research suggests.
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Once upon a time, online daters were mocked as lonely losers, or worse. Today, at least 40 million Americans are looking for love on the Web. Like sex, love and attraction, online dating is an object of fascination and confusion.
Some commentators credit it with helping singles feel more secure and confident, while others blame it for “ruining romance,” “killing commitment” and contributing to the rise of the hook-up culture. While women generally prefer men around their own age, men are most attracted to 20-year-olds, period.
Ok Cupid creates something like 30,000 first dates every day, and complaints about dangerous meetings are extremely rare.
I remember only a handful in my 12 years at the company.