Meta-Analysis Shows Which Hookup Sites Are Considered the Best And Why Others Don’t Deliver
The platforms on which people are seeking dates have long evolved from personal ads and more traditional matchmaking services. Nowadays, with some of the best online dating sites on the rise, finding a mate has never been easier.
Or has it?
Almost 30% of US adults have been on a dating site, with younger generations and LGBTQ+ people exponentially more likely to have used dating or hookup apps.
Still, many are not successful in their quest for love. Why?
Today we’ll explore the how’s and why’s of online adult dating, including our research on what makes hookup sites tick.
What Does Science Have To Say About Hooking Up Online?
Simply put, based on studies, surveys, and other forms of research, it’s evident that online dating is becoming the norm when looking for a mate.
Further numbers even suggest that married couples who met online were slightly more likely to stay together than those who had met offline. These findings are based on the research carried out by Pnas.org between 2005 – 2012.
This implies that the meeting through an online medium may bring together compatible people who otherwise would’ve never met by chance.
Polls suggest that people have more positive attitudes to online dating and hookup sites and these platforms increasingly become the norm, especially in the wake of COVID-19. In fact, research shows that 57% of US online daters describe the overall experience as positive.
In fact, the majority of online daters say that it was easy to find a partner they were attracted to or compatible with in some way, citing physical attraction, shared interests, desire to meet in person, and “looking for the same kind of relationship” as factors.
Additionally, online dating has allowed us to embrace other ethnicities when it comes to our dating pool. Based on this research by Cornell University, online dating has altered our usual pattern for finding a match.
Before online dating sites, we were often limited to people within our social circle, often people of our own race, background, lifestyle, etc. By removing the need for social connections from the equation, online dating is allowing for more diverse dating than ever before.
What Is the History of Online Adult Dating?
The very first matchmaking site (well… computer service) was created by Harvard students in 1965. At that time Operation Match had an estimated 90,000 users taking advantage of its unique matchmaking algorithm.
By the late 1980s and early 1990s, access to the internet and computers increased, and so did online dating sites. Around that time, sites like Match.com started popping up, allowing users to fill out personality surveys to find someone compatible.
Online dating is (and always has been) especially popular with LGBTQ+ people, who may experience discrimination and other difficulties when trying to meet partners in public spaces.
Below you can see the changing face of dating in heterosexual and LGBTQ communities as online dating became more popular and accessible through the decades:
The Science of Matchmaking Algorithms
According to a study published by Sage Journals, matchmaking algorithms are the central feature of online dating.
Interestingly, users’ belief in the matchmaking algorithm affected their perception of their dates more than the algorithm itself, demonstrating a possible placebo-like effect.
While little research still exists on their true effectiveness, it’s undeniable that most users claim success when finding compatible partners using eHarmony or Match.com’s algorithms.
eHarmony, for example, determines your compatibility with someone based on a few things. It uses a machine learning tool to assess your behavior while on the site, which also helps determine and find potential matches.
Some Handy Tips To Find a Meaningful Date
Meeting a potential stranger for a cup of coffee can be nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first time trying out an online dating service.
Regardless if it’s a potential hookup or a more serious date, here are a couple of tips for greater success on the best hookup sites and apps:
Be yourself – While it may be tempting to bend a fact or two during a date to make yourself appear more favorable, know that more often than not, it doesn’t work. By remaining yourself you can get the other person to get to know the real you.
Make an effort – Making a good first impression is essential when meeting someone new. Therefore, a clean and tidy appearance paired with a few basic manners will go a long way during your first date.
Don’t be creepy – This goes without saying. Always remain respectful to your date regardless of whether you’re meeting for a casual fling or a one-night stand.
Pay attention – We all know a friend or two who always has their nose buried in their smartphone – don’t be like them. Not paying attention can be a huge turn-off, and it’s less likely they’ll want a second date with you.
AdultFriendFinder boasts up to 80 million members worldwide – which is a pretty impressive number!
However, 74.46% of those members are located in the U.S. primarily of which are men, while the rest are spread out between the UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany.
AdultFriendFinder is a platform mainly designed for casual sex and exploring different sexual fantasies. Therefore, it makes sense that the main publishers for the site are adultsearch.com and Pornhub.
On top of that, the platform encourages couples to join as well, as well as people who are into BDSM, role-playing, and much more.
This adult site isn’t exactly the best for serious dating, it doesn’t use any algorithms or other tools to find a partner. Members purely rely on uploading explicit video content or imagery in order to connect with other members, as well as by filling out their profiles.
Ashley Madison is one of the top hookup spots for individuals seeking affairs. And while we don’t promote cheating, it’s statistically proven that discreet affair apps are becoming more and more popular.
64.73% of Ashley Madison’s user base is from the United States, while the rest are located in Canada and Brazil. The site itself is pretty discreet and uses many security features to ensure partners won’t get caught.
Ashley Madison isn’t just for affairs though. It’s also a popular platform for Sugar Babies seeking a partner for financial support.
Most of these Sugar Babies are women since the features are free for females to use. Additionally, on the app, most of the male users are over 30, while the women are usually around 18 or over.
Seeking Arrangements was created by Brandon Wade in 2006 as a platform where young women or men can find a Sugar parent. It subverts the idea of traditional dating and works as a type of arrangement that benefits both parties.
On the downside, Seeking.com is a very niche type of dating site, and it doesn’t have a huge and active member base. Perhaps that could be seen as a good thing since its few members are serious about what they’re looking for.
Additionally, 80% of the members are Sugar Babies, while the rest of the 20% is sugar Parents, creating a wide gap between the two. However, it’s a great site if you’re looking for a Sugar Baby.
eHarmony puts heavy emphasis on a more scientific angle when it comes to dating and compatibility. This is why eHarmony also commissioned this study on how married couples who met online are overall more satisfied than other couples.
This could boil down to eHarmony’s unique matchmaking algorithm that claims to find your ideal mate. The questionnaire is based on essential questions about your personality, interests, and values – all of which can help to determine the right person for you.
eHarmony also has provided valuable statistics on their site.
For example, it states that 49% of individuals are looking for someone they are physically attracted to, while 64% of daters are looking for a partner with whom they share common interests.
There may be some truth in the “looks don’t matter” statement after all!
On the downside, eHarmony is pretty expensive, with the 6-month plan ending up at $59.90. However, you have access to all of its features and a substantial and active member base to explore.
Virtual video dating
30 extra matches out of your preference list
Ability to send automated questions to others
Send a “smile”
5. Match.com – One of the Most Popular Online Dating Websites
Over 20 million global members
Extensive search filters
Limited free plan
Some fake profiles
Match.com has an impressively large member base, which in turn, can help you find a more compatible mate for you.
According to this study published by SagePub, more options increase the opportunity to meet potential partners, while also omitting from the dating pool people who are likely to be poor partners in general.
Founded in 1993, Match.com has a pretty high success rate in helping individuals find friends, hookups, or serious partners.
While there are some bots and fake profiles on the site, you can avoid them by reading through the profiles and doing a reverse search on images.
Finally, while Match.com is not one of the free dating sites you sometimes hear about, the fact that members are willing to pay to find love is indicative of their seriousness in itself.
Highlight your profile on someone else’s
Date check-in for security
Video dating feature
Send a “like”
6. EliteSingles – One of the Top Dating Sites For Professionals
Best dating site for professionals
In-depth personality survey
Most members are university-educated
Limited free dating site version
EliteSingles is a pretty popular free dating site (partially) for more serious and mature individuals. To find suitable matches, the site uses an in-depth personality survey to understand your traits and find a compatible mate for you.
Interestingly enough, when looking for a suitable partner, we often tend to look for traits different from ours as a way to ensure true genetic compatibility as a means of evolutionary survival.
Research into online dating suggests that we are also more attracted to users whose personalities we perceive as dissimilar to our own, looking for complementary or desirable traits.
The statement “opposites attract” may be somewhat true.
EliteSingles also matches users not only based on education and personality traits but finances as well. So if you’re looking for someone more serious to settle down with, give EliteSingles a try.
On the downside, the free version is quite limited, and the paid plan is pretty pricey. However, its high success rate makes EliteSingles worth trying out for a while.
In the personality assessment, you’ll need to answer some questions about yourself and the type of partner you’re looking for – significantly helping you to narrow down to a few like-minded individuals.
Silver Singles Features:
“Send a smile” feature
8. Tinder – One of the Best Free Dating Apps For Hookups
Very easy to use
All members welcome
Can connect with other apps
Limited profile information
According to a study by Pew research, finding a potential date using free dating apps and the best hookup sites is a lot more successful for younger people and members of the LGBTQ community.
Tinder is one of the most inclusive dating apps out there – regardless of your age (18+) or sexuality – everyone is welcome.
The famous app is also the pioneer of the popular “swiping” function, and while it’s deemed a little superficial, it’s effective nonetheless. The swipe feature lets you view someone’s photo for a couple of seconds before deciding to swipe a yes or a no.
Because Tinder usually has limited information on user profiles, people rely on physical appearances – which makes it an effective hookup app.
However, if you’re more of a serious dater, then Tinder’s very own sociologist Jessica Carbino, has some helpful tips on how to get a match on Tinder and keep it.
“Super Boost” for better visibility
Send a “ Super Like”
“Rewind” function if you changed your mind
“Tinder U” for University students
Our Best Hookup Sites According to Science – The Takeaway
In the end, even science agrees that online dating apps are beneficial for finding a potential partner or a casual one-night stand.
Platforms like eHarmony and Match.com are wildly successful due to their in-depth questionnaires and unique algorithms.
Whether these tools are successful or a byproduct of our own self-fulfilling prophecies remains unclear, but for better or worse, they remain the easiest way to meet dates and hookup partners in the digital age.