DALLAS, Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Match.com, the world's largest online dating site, today released findings from its third annual 'Singles in America' study – the largest and most comprehensive national study of singles' romantic dating habits, sexual practices, and lifestyles in history. Prior to the first study in 2010, little thorough research had been conducted or shared on singles, a population that reflects one-third of the U.S. population (107 million singles, according to the most recent U.S. census). The 2012 study debuts the inclusion of married individuals in order to gain a greater understanding of sex and love and to compare the lifestyles, attitudes and trends of singles versus married men and women.
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Now in its third generation, the extensive study reveals distinct trends as it continues to disprove long-held misconceptions associated with singles' lifestyle choices and ideologies and documents the rising impact of technology in society.
"The media portrays long-term love and commitment as being doomed. Sexting, new attitudes about virginity, the rise of 'friends with benefits,' emerging 'Internet etiquette' and women's rising roles in courtship all presage a dramatically new dating landscape. But even the bad economy can't kill love," said Dr. Helen Fisher. "Despite all we hear about hooking up and divorce, we now have significant data that shows American singles (including men) are earnestly seeking respect, trust, transparency and commitment in a relationship. Over the three years of this study, women have consistently wanted more independence, while men have expressed more interest in romance. Nevertheless, both sexes believe a relationship can last, and both continue their primordial drive to find and keep love."
Highlighted trends revealed by the study include:
- Friends with benefits: An emerging stage in (pre-commitment) romance? 47% of singles have had a friends with benefits relationship in the past (40% of women and 53% of men). With a drastic year-over-year increase, these arrangements are turning into long-term relationships more than ever before (2012: 44%, 2011: 20%).
- Despite the rise of casual sex in America, more women are insisting on commitment before intimacy with a new partner. Women increasingly want to wait until they are in an exclusive relationship before having sex with a partner (37% of single women in 2012, 31% in 2011, and 25% in 2010).
- The struggling economy is not dramatically affecting people's dating patterns. Nearly 2/3 of singles say they have not changed their dating habits over the last three years (2012: 57%; 2011: 60%; 2010: 61%).
- Think you'll meet your next date at a bar? Think again. Connecting online ranks #1 amongst places where singles meet. A historically unprecedented number of single Americans are now turning to the Internet to find love: nearly 1/3 of singles (27.5%) reported that they have dated someone whom they met online. In addition, 20% of singles met their most recent first date online vs. 7% who met at a bar.
"As the leader in the online dating industry for almost two decades, gaining an even deeper knowledge of our audience — an incredibly influential segment of society — is invaluable to our business," said Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Match.com. "Since its inception, Singles in America has proven to be an unprecedented source of insight into the ideologies and lifestyle choices of today's singles. Now in our third year with the study, we are identifying trends and compelling findings on everything from the prevalence of technology in the dating process to singles' sentiments about married life, as well as previously unstudied trend data."
Singles in America (SIA) was funded by Match.com and conducted by MarketTools in association with biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher and evolutionary biologist Dr. Justin R. Garcia of The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. The 2012 study is based on the attitudes and behaviors taken from a representative sample of 5,481 U.S. singles and 1,095 married people aged 21 to 65+, and remains the most comprehensive annual survey of single Americans.
DATING IN A DIGITAL WORLD
Women do their social homework before a date, but men don't approve. 48% of single women research someone on Facebook before their first date (vs. 38% of men), although nearly half of single men (49%) think that doing so is unacceptable.
Boys, beware: Your digital persona can hurt your dating chances. 49% of women (and 27% of men) would cancel their first date because of something they found while researching that person online.
Putting your best face[BOOK] forward. Across all age groups, 27% of single men and 26% of single women say they have cleaned up their Facebook wall before accepting a friend request from a potential suitor (or that they would in the future). Singles in their 20s (36%) are particularly likely to keep their Facebook wall tidy.
PRIVACY IN LOVE
Single women demand digital transparency in relationships. 77% of women would not date someone who was secretive with their texts vs. 53% of men.
Snooping Singles: the Modern Sherlock. Singles in their 20s are the most likely to check out a partner's Facebook profile (29%), text messages (26%), and email (18%) than any other age group. But nearly 1/4 (22%) of all single women still admit to searching a date's pockets, drawers or closets, while singles in their 30s and 40s are the most likely to look through a partner's medicine cabinet (44% and 38%, respectively).
SEXTING: FINDING LOVE TRUMPS SOCIAL RISKS
Sext-and-Tell. Over half of single men (57%) and 45% of single women have received a sext (sexy photo or explicit text), and 23% of these singles have shared them with others. Of that 23%, a whopping 42% of men and 28% of women said they shared the sext with three or more people.
Are singles oblivious to the risks of sexting? A majority of singles believe sexting can hurt their reputation (75%), career (72%), self-esteem (60%) and relationships (69%). Despite these fears, 35% of single women and 38% of men have sent a sext anyway.
Do men advertise by sexting? 42% of single men reported they would not be offended if a recipient shared their sext with others, vs. 13% of women.
MYTHS ABOUT MARRIAGE & HOW SINGLES FEEL ABOUT IT
Sex and romance don't end at the altar. 41% of married couples had sex at least once a week in 2012. Surprisingly, married people also think about sex more frequently than singles do; 76% of married couples vs. 72% of singles think about sex at least once a week or more — including married women (65%, vs. 56% of single women).
- A sex perk of marriage: more orgasms. 47% of married people achieve orgasm 91-100% of the time vs. 38% of singles.
- Romantic love survives long-term. Over 80% of married men and women would marry the same person again, while 76% married men and 73% women are still very much in love with their current spouse (8-10 on a scale of 10 being "deeply in love").
The tradition of marriage is still attractive to singles. Singles' optimism about marriage has continued to increase over the last three years (2012: 90%; 2011: 78%; 2010: 76%).
Singles have more pillow talk. Single men (66%) and single women (68%) are more likely to talk out intimacy concerns (vs. 62% of married men and 59% of married women). Close to 20% of married women (vs. 11% of single women) would do nothing if they were unsatisfied with their sexual relationship.
Wedlock = padlock? Nope. Singles and married people have considerably similar social lives. 52% of singles and 46% of married people go out 1-3 times a week; 78% of married people and over half of singles surveyed (55%) prepare home-cooked meals on a typical weeknight. Overall, having an independent schedule is the only significant thing married people miss about the single life.
ADDITIONAL KEY FINDINGS
- Does a date's height, debt and virginity really matter? 71% of women are not likely to date someone shorter than themselves; 42% of singles would not date a virgin (33% of men and 51% of women); and 54% of singles would not date someone with considerable credit card debt (>$5K).
- In the bedroom, singles put you first. 97% of singles say it's more important to satisfy their partners sexually than be satisfied themselves.
- Nearly half of single men want to meet a woman's parents before commitment. 48% of men want to be introduced to their date's parents before becoming exclusive (vs. 35% of women).
- Older singles care just as much about sex as younger singles. When asked what would make them happier, 30% of singles 70+ and 25% of singles in their 60s answered "more sex" (in comparison to 28% of singles in their 20s and 27% of singles in their 30s).
For more findings regarding singles' romantic, sexual and social lives, visit http://blog.match.com/SIA.
Founded in 1995, Match.com was the original dating website and pioneer of the online dating industry. Today, 17 years later, Match.com operates leading subscription-based online dating sites in 25 countries, 8 languages and across five continents and is responsible for more dates, relationships and marriages than any other website. Match.com is an operating business of IAC (Nasdaq: IACI) and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit http://www.match.com.