On-Demand Dating Apps: Are They Just About Casual Sex?

On-Demand Dating Apps: Are They Just About Casual Sex?

Would you believe that online dating has been around so long that some of your parents probably used it? Perhaps that’s why there’s now a whole new breed of online dating choices, specially geared towards younger generations. This new style is called On-Demand Dating. Geared towards smart phone users, it favors quick connections over the long drawn-out “e-courting” of yesterday’s matchmaking websites.

But are people there for just a hookup or do some still hope they’ll get a “match” made in heaven just from “swiping”? (If you don’t yet know what swiping is, read on…) Let’s find out.

On-Demand Dating Apps Offer Instant Gratification

Yup, it’s official: today’s world is all about instant gratification. Millennials and those who come after them are leading the world into instant everything- even dating. On-demand dating is pretty much summed as this: feeling like you’d enjoy a date right now? Whip out your phone and see who’s available in your area…right now. Whether it’s because you don’t feel like sitting alone in your apartment watching reruns of Scandal or because you’re truly hoping to meet Mr. Right, on-demand dating gives it to you now.

Of course that begs the question: if it’s instant, isn’t it all just about the booty call?

And it begs these questions:

  • Can we hope to find any serious prospects on apps whose main feature is there’s no waiting for what you want?
  • Are all the guys (girls?) on the on-demand apps just looking for quick hook-ups?
  • Or this new breed of dating sites growing so fast simply because they’re so easy to use?

To find out whether on-demand dating is just about casual sex or if the appeal is one more of convenience, we took a close look at the big players in the game. These are the three most popular dating sites in the world right now:

  1. Match.com (old style)
  2. eHarmony (old style)
  3. Tinder (on-demand)

On-Demand App vs. Huge Desktop Never-Ending Questionnaires

One of the biggest downers about old-style online dating platforms like Match.com and eharmony.com are those long profile questionnaires you must suffer through in order to get a match. The eHarmony survey has 400 questions*!

Do it once, OK. Do it twice, it’s annoying. But starting around the third time you answer those questions all over again, it’s really starting to become a quality of life issue!

What are those profiles worth, anyway? True, many people have found good matches through these sites- they’re hugely popular. Consider this*:

  • there are 15,500,000 eHarmony active users
  • there are 21,575,000 Match.com active users
  • annual revenue from online dating industry: one and a quarter billion dollars

17% of last year’s marriages were couples who met on a dating site. Suffice it to say, traditional dating sites are doing okay. But for how long, as the “app world” crowds in on their territory, offering convenience, incredible ease of use, and of course: instant gratification?

Getting up and running on Tinder, the most popular on-demand dating app, takes less than a minute. You probably can’t answer 400 questions in under a minute. What this means is, if you’re delving into online dating for the first time, you’re more apt to use something fast and convenient first, like Tinder.


Tinder has taken the world by storm. It’s everywhere, and no matter what your relationship status- even if you’re married– you’ve heard of it. There are already 50 million active users on Tinder.

Take a moment and scroll back up to where we told you the number of users on Match.com and eharmony. Yeah. Tinder’s that popular.

Yes, when Tinder first came out two years ago, it was basically a hook-up site. Introduced into the college scene at first, it offered an appearance-based way to find a fast date.

Now there’s a bit more to how matches are made: Tinder uses Facebook profiles to match people…but the famous “swiping” is still the main mode of connecting.


Your phone uses GPS to find people near you looking for a date. They present pictures, and you “yay” or “nay” them by swiping to the left for a rejection and swiping to the right signalling you’d give it a try. Totally appearance based. If someone you swiped to the right swipes you to the right, we have a match.

It’s so easy, and so fast.

Mobile dating apps are fast and easy- but does that mean you have to be too?

Young pretty woman using dating app on her smartphone

Yes, Tinder has a lot of people just looking for casual sex. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t hope to find the love of your life- or at least a good prospect. After all, the low entrance barrier to Tinder and apps like it are what have brought the immense popularity.

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Couldn’t it simply be that we love Tinder because it’s fast and easy to use, not because it promises the possibility of sex tonight? Couldn’t it be that we love Tinder because it works like real life: we sum people up based on what they look like? Couldn’t it be that we love Tinder because Facebook is involved, helping you out with mutual friends so you feel better about meeting up with someone? Couldn’t it be that we love Tinder because only people you’ve “swipe-liked” can contact you?

All of the above reasons to love Tinder are features the old guys like Match.com and eHarmony don’t have. So yes, it’s possible to love Tinder but not be pegged as “fast and easy”. You might even simply be looking for companionship…(?)

How about the downsides of Tinder? Well if you’re from the school of thought which says you should know all about someone before dating them well, this app is not for you. Head on over to one of the other two dating sites mentioned above. Tinder works more like you’re in a bar: looks are everything.

So, while the world switches to mobile dating apps to fulfill whatever needs they’re experiencing, let’s set the record straight: just because you use a mobile dating app, you’re not necessarily fast and easy. There are several reasons to love the new breed of dating apps, so what are you waiting for? Go out there and start your dating life now. Good luck!


*Source: “Online Dating Statistics” retrieved from http://www.statisticbrain.com/online-dating-statistics December 9, 2014.

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