“As a rule, I don’t have sex on the first date”: Gender and age differences in motivations, perceptions, and experiences on Tinder




Palabras clave:

Tinder, Apps, Intimacy, Sex, Gender, Gender differences, Age differences, Heteronormativity, Gender scripts, Youth, Adults, Personal communication, Relations, Motivations, Perceptions, Experiences


This research explores the impact that gender and age have on motivations, experiences, and perceptions regarding the use of Tinder. Based on an inductive analysis of 37 semi-structured interviews with heterosexual Tinder users, we specifically examine gender and age differences in motivations, match selection, and communication management on this mobile dating app. The findings show that age differences have a more significant effect on motivations than gender differences do, whereby older adults use the app to find a stable partner, and young adults use it for sex. Women are more selective when picking matches than men, and when they make these selections, they pay special attention to male attributes that are typically associated with maintaining stable relationships. In contrast, men tend to focus almost exclusively on physical appearance. Between the match and the first date, users need to deal with a considerable volume of communication, which involves the use of different communication media in a series of consecutive stages, toward which matches normatively orient themselves. This transition to new media and stages, in which men tend to take the initiative and women assume the sanctioning role, marks a kind of incremental passage to intimacy. We conclude that, in their courting conduct, Tinder users perform conventional gender scripts that are typical of the heteronormative model of intimate relationships.


Aspers, Patrik; Corte, Ugo (2019). “What is qualitative in qualitative research”. Qualitative sociology, v. 42, n. 2, pp. 139-160. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-019-9413-7

Berelson, Bernard (1952). Content analysis in communication research. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. ISBN: 978 0 028412108

Blumer, Herbert (1986). “The methodological position of symbolic interactionism”. In: Blumer, Herbert (ed.). Symbolic interactionism: perspective and method. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Buss, David M.; Schmitt, David P. (1993). “Sexual strategies theory: an evolutionary perspective on human mating”. Psychological review, v. 100, n. 2, pp. 204-232. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.100.2.204

Carpenter, Christopher J.; McEwan, Bree (2016). “The players of micro-dating: individual and gender differences in goal orientations toward micro-dating apps”. First Monday, v. 21, n. 5. https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v21i5.6187

Clark, Catherine L.; Shaver, Phillip R.; Abrahams, Matthew F. (1999). “Strategic behaviors in romantic relationship initiation”. Personality and social psychology bulletin, v. 25, n. 6, pp. 709-722. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167299025006006

Comunello, Francesca; Parisi, Lorenza; Ieracitano, Francesca (2021). “Negotiating gender scripts in mobile dating apps: between affordances, usage norms and practices”. Information, communication & society, v. 24, n. 8, pp. 1140-1156. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2020.1787485

David, Patricia (2012). AARP online dating survey [AARP Research]. https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2014/online-dating-sites-survey.html

Duncan, Zoe; March, Evita (2019). “Using Tinder® to start a fire: predicting antisocial use of Tinder® with gender and the dark tetrad”. Personality and individual differences, v. 145, pp. 9-14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.03.014

Gatter, Karoline; Hodkinson, Kathleen (2016). “On the differences between Tinder™ versus online dating agencies: questioning a myth. An exploratory study”. Cogent psychology, v. 3, n. 1, e1162414. https://doi.org/10.1080/23311908.2016.1162414

Gewirtz-Meydan, Ateret; Ayalon, Liat (2018). “Forever young: visual representations of gender and age in online dating sites for older adults”. Journal of women & aging, v. 30, n. 6, pp. 484-502. https://doi.org/10.1080/08952841.2017.1330586

Hamilton, Jill B. (2020). “Rigor in qualitative methods: an evaluation of strategies among underrepresented rural communities”. Qualitative health research, v. 30, n. 2, pp. 196-204. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732319860267

Hardey, Mariann (2008). “The formation of social rules for digital interactions”. Information, communication & society, v. 11, n. 8, pp. 1111-1131. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691180802109048

Harrison, Albert A.; Saeed, Laila (1977). “Let’s make a deal: an analysis of revelations and stipulations in lonely hearts advertisements”. Journal of personality and social psychology, v. 35, n. 4, pp. 257-264. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.35.4.257

Hatfield, Elaine; Sprecher, Susan (1995). “Men’s and women’s preferences in marital partners in the United States, Russia, and Japan”. Journal of cross-cultural psychology, v. 26, n. 6, pp. 728-750. https://doi.org/10.1177/002202219502600613

Iqbal, Mansoor (2021). “Tinder revenue and usage statistics”. Business of apps, February 1. https://www.businessofapps.com/data/tinder-statistics/#2

Kallis, Rhiannon-Briana (2017). Swipe left or right but what happens for the rest of the night? A qualitative approach to understanding the life cycle of Tinder relationships. Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Kisilevich, Slava; Last, Mark (2010). “Exploring gender differences in member profiles of an online dating site across 35 countries”. In: Atzmueller, Martin; Hotho, Andreas; Strohmaier, Markus; Chin, Alvin. Analysis of social media and ubiquitous data. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 57-78. ISBN: 978 3 642 23599 3 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-23599-3_4

Le-Gall, Armelle; Mullet, Etienne; Shafighi, Sheila-Riviere (2002). “Age, religious beliefs, and sexual attitudes”. Journal of sex research, v. 39, n. 3, pp. 207-216. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224490209552143

Licoppe, Christian (2020). “Liquidity and attachment in the mobile hookup culture. A comparative study of contrasted interactional patterns in the main uses of Grindr and Tinder”. Journal of cultural economy, v. 13, n. 1, pp. 73-90. https://doi.org/10.1080/17530350.2019.1607530

Lincoln, Yvonna S.; Guba, Egon G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. ISBN: 978 0803924314

Lopes, Milena R.; Vogel, Carl (2019). “Gender differences in online dating experiences”. In: Hetsrone, Amir; Tuncez, Meriç. It happened on Tinder: reflections and studies on internet-infused dating, 1st ed. Institute of Network Cultures: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 31-47. ISBN: 978 94 92302 44 1 http://www.tara.tcd.ie/bitstream/handle/2262/91343/Lopes-Vogel-IHoT-2019.pdf

McPherson, Miller; Smith-Lovin, Lynn; Cook, James M. (2001). “Birds of a feather: homophily in social networks”. Annual review of sociology, v. 27, n. 1, pp. 415-444. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.27.1.415

McWilliams, Summer; Barrett, Anne E. (2014). “Online dating in middle and later life: gendered expectations and experiences”. Journal of family issues, v. 35, n. 3, pp. 411-436. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X12468437

Mercer, Catherine H.; Tanton, Clare; Prah, Philip; Erens, Bob; Sonnenberg, Pam; Clifton, Soazig; Macdowall, Wendy; Lewis, Ruth; Field, Nigel; Datta, Jessica; Copas, Andrew J.; Phelps, Andrew; Wellings, Kaye; Johnson, Anne M. (2013). “Changes in sexual attitudes and lifestyles in Britain through the life course and over time: findings from the national surveys of sexual attitudes and lifestyles (Natsal)”. The lancet, v. 382, n. 9907, pp. 1781-1794. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62035-8

Palmer, Lauren (2020). “Dating in the age of Tinder: swiping for love?”. In: Carter, Julia; Arocha, Lorena. Romantic relationships in a time of “cold intimacies”. Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life, Cham., pp. 129-149. ISBN: 978 3 030 29256 0 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29256-0_7

Prior, Lindsay (2014). “Content analysis”. In: Leavy, Patricia (ed.). The Oxford handbook of qualitative research. Oxford University Press, pp. 359-379. ISBN: 978 0 190847388

Ranzini, Giulia; Lutz, Christoph (2017). “Love at first swipe? Explaining Tinder self-presentation and motives”. Mobile media & communication, v. 5, n. 1, pp. 80-101. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050157916664559

Rusbult, Caryl E.; Martz, John M.; Agnew, Christopher R. (1998). “The investment model scale: measuring commitment level, satisfaction level, quality of alternatives, and investment size”. Personal relationships, v. 5, n. 4, pp. 357-387. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.1998.tb00177.x

Šetinová, Markéta; Topinková, Renáta (2021). “Partner preference and age: user’s mating behavior in online dating”. Journal of family research, v. 33, n. 3, pp. 566-591. https://doi.org/10.20377/jfr-540

Sharabi, Liesel L.; Dykstra-DeVette, Tiffany A. (2019). “From first email to first date: strategies for initiating relationships in online dating”. Journal of social and personal relationships, v. 36, n. 11-12, pp. 3389-3407. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407518822780

Smith, Aaron (2016). “15% of American adults have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps”. Pew Research Center, February 11. http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/02/11/15-percent-of-american-adults-have-used-online-dating-sites-or-mobile-dating-apps

Smith, Aaron; Anderson, Monica (2016). “5 facts about online dating”. Pew Research Center, February 29.

Sprecher, Susan; Econie, Alexis; Treger, Stanislav (2019). “Mate preferences in emerging adulthood and beyond: age variations in mate preferences and beliefs about change in mate preferences”. Journal of social and personal relationships, v. 36, n. 10, pp. 3139-3158. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407518816880

Sprecher, Susan; Sullivan, Quintin; Hatfield, Elaine (1994). “Mate selection preferences: gender differences examined in a national sample”. Journal of personality and social psychology, v. 66, n. 6, pp. 1074-1080. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.66.6.1074

Statista Research Department (2022). “Distribution of Tinder monthly active users in the United States as of March 2021, by gender”. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/975925/us-tinder-user-ratio-gender

Stephure, Robert J.; Boon, Susan D.; MacKinnon, Stacey L.; Deveau, Vicki L. (2009). “Internet initiated relationships: associations between age and involvement in online dating”. Journal of computer-mediated communication, v. 14, n. 3, pp. 658-681. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01457.x

Strugo, Julieta; Muise, Amy (2019). “Swiping for the right reasons: approach and avoidance goals are associated with actual and perceived dating success on Tinder”. The Canadian journal of human sexuality, v. 28, n. 2, pp. 93-104. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.2019-0010

Sumter, Sindy R.; Vandenbosch, Laura; Ligtenberg, Loes (2017). “Love me Tinder: untangling emerging adults’ motivations for using the dating application Tinder”. Telematics and informatics, v. 34, n. 1, pp. 67-78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tele.2016.04.009

Timmermans, Elisabeth; Courtois, Cédric (2018). “From swiping to casual sex and/or committed relationships: exploring the experiences of Tinder users”. The information society, v. 34, n. 2, pp. 59-70. https://doi.org/10.1080/01972243.2017.1414093

Timmermans, Elisabeth; De-Caluwé, Elien (2017). “Development and validation of the Tinder Motives Scale (TMS)”. Computers in human behavior, v. 70, pp. 341-350. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.01.028

Tinder (2016). Tinder’s most right-swiped jobs. https://www.tinderpressroom.com/tinders-most-right-swiped-jobs

Tinder (2018). Tinder’s most right-swiped jobs. https://blog.gotinder.com/post/139924789366/tinders-most-right-swiped-jobs

Tyson, Gareth; Perta, Vasile C.; Haddadi, Hamed; Seto, Michael C. (2016). “A first look at user activity on tinder”. In: 2016 IEEE/ACM international conference on advances in social networks analysis and mining (Asonam). IEEE, pp. 461-466. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.5555/3192424.3192510

Valkenburg, Patti M.; Peter, Jochen (2007). “Who visits online dating sites? Exploring some characteristics of online daters”. Cyber psychology & behavior, v. 10, n. 6, pp. 849-852. https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2007.9941

Van-Hooff, Jenny (2020). “Swipe right? Tinder, commitment and the commercialisation of intimate life”. In: Carter, Julia; Arocha, Lorena. Romantic relationships in a time of “cold intimacies”. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 109-127. ISBN: 978 3 030 29256 0 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29256-0_6

Ward, Janelle (2017). “What are you doing on Tinder? Impression management on a matchmaking mobile app”. Information, communication & society, v. 20, n. 11, pp. 1644-1659. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1252412

White, Robert E.; Cooper, Karyn (2022). “Grounded theory”. In: Cooper, Karyn; White, Robert E. Qualitative research in the: post-modern era. Context of qualitative research. Cham: Springer. ISBN: 978 94 007 2338 2 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85124-8_9

Zytko, Douglas; Grandhi, Sukeshini A.; Jones, Quentin (2014). “Impression management struggles in online dating”. In: Proceedings of the 18th international conference on supporting group work. ACM, pp. 53-62. https://doi.org/10.1145/2660398.2660410



Cómo citar

Roca-Cuberes, C., Roig-Mora, A., & Álvarez-Cueva, P. (2023). “As a rule, I don’t have sex on the first date”: Gender and age differences in motivations, perceptions, and experiences on Tinder. Profesional De La información, 32(3). https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2023.may.08



Artículos de investigación / Research articles


La descarga de datos todavía no está disponible.


Cargando métricas ...