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At the same time, public attitudes towards online dating have grown more positive in the last eight years: Additionally, 32% of internet users agree with the statement that “online dating keeps people from settling down because they always have options for people to date.” This is the first time we have asked this question.

In general, online daters themselves give the experience high marks.

Some 66% of online daters have gone on a date with someone they met through an online dating site or app, up from 43% of online daters who had done so when we first asked this question in 2005.

Moving beyond dates, one quarter of online daters (23%) say that they themselves have entered into a marriage or long-term relationship with someone they met through a dating site or app.

And more seriously, 28% of online daters have been contacted by someone through an online dating site or app in a way that made them feel harassed or uncomfortable.

Women are much more likely than men to have experienced uncomfortable contact via online dating sites or apps: some 42% of female online daters have experienced this type of contact at one point or another, compared with 17% of men.

That’s according to a survey of 2,800 singles released this week by dating site Plenty of Fish, which concluded that “ladies may want to consider putting the words ‘pumpkin spice’ in their online dating profile.” (The same did not hold true for men.) This is mixed news for the dating set.

These are among the key findings of a national survey of dating and relationships in the digital era, the first dedicated study of this subject by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project since 2005.That is statistically similar to the 17% of online daters who said that this had happened to them when we first asked this question in 2005.Even today, online dating is not universally seen as a positive activity—a significant minority of the public views online dating skeptically.And 29% of Americans now know someone who met a spouse or other long-term partner through online dating, up from just 15% in 2005.People in nearly every major demographic group—old and young, men and women, urbanites and rural dwellers—are more likely to know someone who uses online dating (or met a long term partner through online dating) than was the case eight years ago.Indeed, daters who use the word “guacamole” in their profiles get 144% more messages from potential love interests, according to a survey of 7,000 singles released Monday from dating site Zoosk.


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