Do Dating Apps Encourage a “Hookup Culture”?


Dating apps - do they encourage a “Hookup Culture”?By Erika Ettin

Have you heard the expression "hookup culture" recently? A "hookup culture" is a culture in which casual dates are accepted, focusing on immediate pleasure rather than long-term commitment. This is not a new phenomenon by any means, but it has become more mainstream with the increased popularity of online dating sites.

The American Psychological Association (APA) says that hookups became more frequent in the 1920s, believe it or not, when more people were driving cars and going to movie theaters (aka getting out of their parents’ houses). Then, in the 1960s, with feminism on the rise and more people sexually liberated, it became even more acceptable. The APA says, that today's hookup culture represents a marked shift in openness and acceptance of uncommitted sex.

Has the "Dating Apocalypse" arrived?

Last August, Vanity Fair claiming that Tinder™ (owned by the same company as and OurTime) and apps like it are starting what they call a "Dating Apocalypse." The article contends that in today’s society, many people, especially millennials, are moving toward this hookup culture, where everything is determined by instant gratification. The article goes on to say that the people they profiled—twenty-somethings in New York City—are even going as far as using the app as a game to see just how many people they can sleep with in any given period of time. It goes on to say that the art of dating is solely becoming extinct, much like the cassette tape and phones with cords.

What You Get Depends On What You’re Looking For

As an online dating coach, I am asked by people all the time, "Are dating apps just for hooking up?" My answer is always the same: Yes … if you both hook up. Any site can be used for anything you’re looking for. Do more people "hook up" on JSwipe, JDate’s Tinder™-eqsue app that it acquired for $7 million last year, than on Elite Singles? Probably. Do some people troll the "serious" dating sites looking for a one-night stand? Sure. And do some people find meaningful, lasting relationships from an app like the one discussed in the Vanity Fair article? You bet.

dating apps aren't just for hooking up

As for the point the article made about the world becoming a place of casual relationships, I’ll just say that you get what you allow. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, but you allow someone into your life in a physical-only capacity, then that’s what you get. If you instead hold out for someone who is also looking for the commitment you are, then you’ll get that instead.

Why You Should Still Use Dating Apps

They're efficient. When you match with someone, you could meet that person within hours, or even minutes, depending on how close you are. Chemistry is the wild card that is either there or not, so meeting face-to-face in a timely fashion is one of the keys to online dating. Also, because of a very granular GPS system, apps like Zoosk allow you to find people in your vicinity whose paths you might not have crossed. Some dating services target a radius within your ZIP code, which also locates people you might not meet otherwise but within a much larger area. Lastly, they’re easy to set up and free. With a few clicks and a Facebook account, you can make a profile.

As for whether you should use Tinder™ or any other app to find a date, that’s up to you. I contend that people should use any resources available to them. Don’t NOT use something because of its reputation.

If you’re looking for something more serious, though, I’d still recommend comparing & signing up for an online dating site.

Advertising Disclosure

This site is a free online resource that strives to offer helpful content and comparison features to its visitors. Please be advised that the operator of this site accepts advertising compensation from companies that appear on the site, and such compensation impacts the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented, and in some cases may also impact the rating that is assigned to them. To the extent that ratings appear on this site, such rating is determined by our subjective opinion and based on a methodology that aggregates our analysis of brand market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, compensation paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page DO NOT imply endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our Terms of Use, all representations and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including pricing, which appears on this site is subject to change at any time.

The Best Dating Sites

Must Read


The Ultimate Guide to Boosting Your Zoosk Dating Profile

Read more
eharmony free trial plans to find love

Find a Serious Relationship on eharmony, for Free

Read more
Meet Jewish singles online

The Best Dating Sites and Apps for Jewish Singles

Read more
Muslim couple at park

The Best Dating Sites and Apps for Muslim Singles

Read more
How much does Match cost?

How Much Does Match Cost?

Read more
professionals meet on the best dating sites

The Best Dating Sites for Professionals

Read more