Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The global state of digital dating | by OkCupid

Nearly 10 billion responses to OkCupid’s in-app matching questions reveal what singles will be looking for in 2023

OkCupid is the only dating app in the world that matches people based on what matters most to them. The magic happens through in-app questions that power our algorithm. These questions — which were answered 500 million times this year, and almost 10 billion times since we launched in 2004 — address every issue that’s top of mind for Gen Z and Millennial singles. This year those topics ranged from the abortion ban, LGBTQIA+ rights and voting in local elections to cancel culture, the metaverse, OnlyFans and therapy.

In 2022, the most answered new questions included:

  • Are you sensitive?
  • Are you sentimental?
  • Is inflation impacting your dating life?
  • Do you understand what the metaverse is?
  • Is it important to you that your partner looks after their health?
  • Does the idea of a walking date feel like less pressure than a face-to-face date?
  • How long do you want to date before exclusively dating someone?
  • Would you date someone that wasn’t your usual “type”?

Discussions around mental health are a turn-on.

Being vulnerable is one of the more attractive traits to singles these days. More than 9 in 10 daters on OkCupid say they are sensitive (51% are sometimes, 42% are all the time), and this honesty pays off when it comes to dating, especially for men. In 2022, men who say they are sensitive are receiving 107% more Likes and 86% more Matches, and are having 113% more conversations than men who say they aren’t sensitive.

Nearly all 1.6 million respondents on OkCupid believe mental health is just as important as physical health, too, and daters are looking for matches who treat it as such. There was an 18% increase in people mentioning “mental health” and “therapy” on OkCupid profiles in 2022 compared to 2021. And we expect these numbers to only increase in 2023 as Gen Z singles continue to drive conversations around mental health.

Men, in particular, are more open to having mental health conversations with their partners. 71% of over 80,000 men on OkCupid said mental health is important and they’re open to having discussions about it, while 21% agreed it’s important but admitted it’ll take time for them to be comfortable discussing it with a partner. And this is helping their chances. Men who said they are open to having conversations about mental health are receiving 276% more Likes and 201% more Matches than men who aren’t.

We’re also seeing that establishing expectations within prospective relationships are yielding positive results for singles. People who vouch for healthy boundaries in relationships are having 51% more conversations and getting 68% more Likes. They’re also getting 5% more Matches.

And practicing self-care, like accepting your emotions and seeing your potential, is one of the most important steps to making sure you’re ready to date. A majority (97%) of OkCupid respondents believe it’s important to practice self-love, and those who do are getting 92% more Likes and 30% more Matches. They are also having 93% more conversations. So what do you have to lose?

Open relationships are no longer taboo.

Though openly non-monogamous relationships have been around for centuries, younger generations are embracing them, alleviating the stigma they once carried. This summer, there was a 26% increase in mentions of “ENM” or “ethical non-monogamy” on OkCupid profiles compared to the beginning of the year and a 42% increase compared to last summer.

In fact, of the nearly 30 million people on OkCupid, 30% (roughly 8.5 million singles) reveal they would be interested in an open relationship. And people are becoming more open to ethical non-monogamy. In 2018, 30% of Gen Z and Millennial daters on OkCupid said they would be into an open relationship, which jumped to 33% and 36% respectively in 2022. People have more love to give, and want to share it with more than one person! And Gen Z is leading the charge.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the countries leading the charge — with the highest rates of people on OkCupid who were considering an open relationship — are largely in Europe, including Spain (49%), India (48%), France (47%), Switzerland (46%), the Netherlands (40%), Germany (39%), Italy (37%), Brazil (35%), Australia (34%) and Canada (31%).

The economy is impacting how people are dating.

Globally, almost 40% of people on OkCupid say that inflation is impacting their dating lives, and the youngest daters are feeling it most. When asked, 42% of Gen Z singles on OkCupid are feeling the impact of the economy compared to 35% of Millennials and 29% of Gen X.

In the United States, a majority of daters want to spend less than $50 on the first date — a hard thing to accomplish in today’s economy — and Gen Z’ers are the most inclined to seek out less expensive date ideas. When asked how much they want to spend on a first date, 54% of singles said $50 or less, while 36% said $51 to $100, and only 11% said they are comfortable spending over $100 on a first date. Additionally, 62% of Gen Z respondents on OkCupid preferred to spend $50 or less compared to 55% of Millennials and 44% of Gen X.

We expect this movement to follow economic trends into the new year, especially as women are 57% more likely to want to spend less than $50 on a first date. But there are positives to this. People are becoming more creative with the date ideas they recommend to their dating app matches.

Sex-positivity is on the rise.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted sexual activity and how people were talking about sex. People were hesitant about hooking up, but in 2022 those fears are subsiding. Almost 36 million people on OkCupid answered our matching question about what’s more interesting right now, and the amount of people saying “sex” over “love” increased from 26% of respondents in 2020 to 31% in 2022. Daters exploring their adventurous side are also returning to pre-pandemic rates. In 2019, 88% of OkCupid respondents said they were kinky when asked, but this dipped to 85% in 2021 and began to rebound to 86% in 2022.

But while daters are hitting the sheets, they’re also staying protected. In 2022, 71% of people on OkCupid said they always practice safe sex and 24% said they usually do, and daters who say they always do get 24% more Likes and 17.5% more Matches than people who say they never do. So don’t forget to come prepared on your dates.

Young daters are causing increases in sober dating.

The pandemic and rising costs of living really accelerated the amount of people being open to sober dates, but also sober relationships.

In 2012, 84% of singles on OkCupid said they were open to dating someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, but that jumped to 96% of respondents in 2022. And young daters are leading the charge here: Gen Z singles (97%) on OkCupid were the most likely this year to opt for a relationship with someone who is sober compared to Millennials (96%) and Gen X’ers (94%).

And people who are open-minded are actually more successful on our app. Daters open to matching with people who are sober get 12% more Likes and 29% more Matches. They are also having more conversations than people who aren’t.

The weather has also impacted this trend. As we headed into colder months, people were actually looking for alcohol-free dates. In September 2022 there was a 19% increase in mentions of “sober” on OkCupid dating profiles compared to the same month the previous year. Next year, we anticipate young daters increasingly opting for alcohol-free dates more than ever before.

After the midterms, singles are still political.

The 2024 United States presidential election has not yet begun, but daters are already looking to match over similar political views. About 30 million people on OkCupid have said they enjoy discussing politics. And since the 2016 Presidential Election there has been a 138% increase in the number of people on our app saying they enjoy having political conversations.

But singles aren’t just getting political on their dating app profiles. They’re also participating in politics. Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) of 3 million respondents on OkCupid are registered to vote — and almost 1 ½ million people said they could “absolutely not” date someone who doesn’t vote. Plus, more than 4 in 10 daters are open to running for office (10% of respondents said they would and 32% would consider running for the right position).

And that’s because they’re also unhappy with what’s happening in the highest levels of government. More than 7 in 10 daters (73%) in the United States care about new Supreme Court appointees, and 74% think LGBTQ+ rights are at risk given the current justices on the Supreme Court.

Gen Z is open to dating in the metaverse.

The term “metaverse” first surfaced decades ago, but it trended on OkCupid this year after we added new in-app matching questions about this digital world. These questions are:

  • Do you understand what the metaverse is?
  • Are you excited about the metaverse?
  • Have you joined the metaverse?
  • [Would you] Date in the metaverse?
  • Are you interested in having a relationship that exists exclusively in the metaverse?

These questions have already been answered more than 475,000 times over the past few months. Our data shows that while a portion of our users are open to exploring the metaverse, it’s really younger generations — Gen Z’ers, Millennials — who are most interested. So far, we’re seeing that 34% of singles would go on a date in the metaverse, and Gen Z singles are the most interested in having a relationship that exists exclusively online in the metaverse.

This is only the beginning of this trend. The metaverse is here to stay, and we anticipate that more and more daters will begin to explore dates and relationships in this alternative universe.

Don’t forget: The busiest day for online dating is almost here.

In 2023, Dating Sunday — the busiest day for dating apps out of the entire year — will take place Sunday, January 8th — and the entire month of January is a popular time to be matching. Based on January 2022’s numbers, activity on OkCupid this upcoming January could reach:

  • 50+ million total conversations
  • 530+ million Likes
  • 40+ million Matches

If you are single, dating, want a relationship, or anything in between, here are a couple of quick tips to optimize your experience and success on OkCupid.

Answer more matching questions. Are you a Questions Pro (answered 30)? Enthusiast (answered 100)? Expert (answered 500+)? In January, daters answered our in-app matching questions 50 million times (an 11%+ increase from December 2021), and we anticipate more than 55 million responses in January 2023. The more questions you answer, the more compatible the matches you’ll see, and the more you’ll have to talk about with them, too.

Don’t be hesitant to message first. Last January there were almost 40 million first-messages sent on OkCupid, and we anticipate a 10% month-over-month increase in January 2023. Women specifically are sending more first-messages than they ever have in our app’s history, and it’s paying off. Conversations initiated by women on OkCupid last more than double the length of those started by men as daters get to know one another on the app before meeting in person.

Be honest about what kind of relationship you are looking for. When asked, the majority of 7+ million people on OkCupid said they want their next relationship to last a few months to several years (41%) or the rest of their lives (37%). But if a casual hookup is more appealing right now, 22% of respondents are looking for a one-night fling. Plus, more than 7 in 10 (71%) daters said finding their forever person is more appealing right now (compared to dating around).

Now that you’ve made it to the end of this blog post, it’s time to update your dating profile! People who complete their OkCupid profile get 200% more matches, so what are you waiting for? Download OkCupid today.

Media contact: [email protected]

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles