42 Scopus citations


This article explores gendered patterns of online dating and their implications for heterosexual union formation. Using 6 months of online dating data from a midsized Southwestern city (N=8,259 men, 6,274 women), the authors found that men and women tend to send messages to the most socially desirable alters in the dating market regardless of their own desirability levels. They also found that male initiators connect with more desirable partners than men who wait to be contacted, but female initiators connect with equally desirable partners as women who wait to be contacted. Female-initiated contacts are also more than twice as likely as male-initiated contacts to result in a connection, but women send 4 times fewer messages than men. Finally, the authors compared partner desirability levels over repeated exchanges and concluded that couple similarities are more likely to result from relationship termination (i.e., nonreciprocity) than initial homophilous preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-410
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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