When the pandemic struck, many people turned to online dating apps to build a new kind of social life, especially students who were now isolated from their circles. However, this switch from in-person interactions to online introductions has shown just how badly the dating apps have failed the male population.

Research done by Pew Research Centre has shown that men are significantly less satisfied with the attention that they receive on dating apps. A survey they conducted showed that dating apps are particularly popular for young
adults – 18 to 29 year olds – and people who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. As this age group generally aligns with university-going students, PDBY asked for our Instagram followers’ views on dating apps.

Polls conducted on PDBY’s Instagram page show that only a small minority ( 27%) of those that interacted with the polls started using dating apps during the pandemic. However, of the people using dating apps, a larger amount
of 63% of people had a negative experience while using dating apps. These negative experiences seemed to be largely attributed to being made uncomfortable, the dating apps being treated as a game or people inaccurately portraying themselves.

On that note, it is important to look at the negative impact dating apps have on the female population. According to a BBC Worklife article, women seem to receive an unequal amount of harassment and abuse on dating apps when compared to males. In most situations, this harassment and abuse is inflicted by straight men. This often left women feeling dismissed or as if they were of lesser value than the man.

When asked in the PDBY polls whether the male experience of dating apps is any different, an alarming 82% of participants said that it was different. This was followed by comments surrounding men wanting one-night-stands while a woman wants a relationship, the aspect of fear that many women experience while using dating apps, men who do not have as many matches as women, and the experience of some women who often feel degraded. According to research done by Pew Research Centre, 57% of American men feel that they do not receive enough messages on dating apps. This statistic prompted InsideHook to write an article on the competitive nature of dating apps for men, which resulted in the discovery that, in a large number of scenarios, men do not get as many matches as their female counterparts. This results in men having a more competitive experience with dating apps as a whole.

However, the PDBY polls also reflected that 72% of participants believe that the dating app experience is different for members of the queer community. This was followed by mentions of the queer community being fetishised on dating apps, having their sexual orientation invaliated, lesbians being harassed by straight men and that the dating pool is much smaller for the queer community on dating apps.

These results align with those from Pew Research Centre which showed that the queer community were more likely to experience harassment on dating apps than straight users. This is regardless of the gender of the straight users. Overall, it would seem that dating apps have not only failed to provided safety and security for the female and queer populations but have also resulted in an anxiety and pressure experienced by men. This, according to the PDBY polls, has resulted in an overall negative experience while using dating apps for a large portion of our participants. Despite the success of many couples who found one another through dating apps, they seem to have a long way to go before everyone feels completely confident and comfortable using their apps.

Features journalist | view posts

Hi I'm Lauren, I'm passionate about writing and run a personal blog called Life on my Wall (@lifeonmywall). I enjoy writing about student issues and minority group experiences.