Online romance

I have seen it argued in several places that among heterosexuals romance is a more egalitarian game for women than for men, with most women being able to find a partner, get married, and have children if they prioritize those things, while the least attractive men struggle to find anyone at all who wants them as a partner.

This is substantiated somewhat in a recent Economist briefing about online dating. They note:

Men on Tantan, he says, tend to like about 60% of all the female profiles they see, but women like just 6% of the male ones. The least attractive women receive similar levels of attention to the most attractive men, says Mr Wang; all can find someone reasonably attractive. Men at the bottom of the ladder end up completely matchless. This fits with the work by Ms Bruch and Mr Newman. In general, both men and women concentrate on people that the common opinion of the site rates as 25% more attractive than they are. Even for women not seen as desirable, that can work. For the least desirable men, nothing works. “I don’t expect that final 5% to be that easy to help,” says Mr Wang.

There’s bad news for women as well. Whereas men actually become more attractive as they age from 20 to about 45, women peak in attractiveness at the youngest end of the scale and decline gradually until about 65.

All told they make the case that online romance is a very good thing, giving everyone the opportunity to efficiently contact a wide range of partners, and being especially helpful for people who are looking for relatively rare characteristics. They note that 70% of same-sex relationships now begin online.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

One thought on “Online romance”

  1. Why would this be with roughly equal numbers of men and women in the population? Why don’t the least attractive men end up with the least attractive women? Because some men have more than one female partner at a time? Or it happens more often for men than for women?

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