It doesn't matter how two people meet. In the end everyone is just looking for love, says a new study. 

Jocelyn Wentland, a sessional instructor at the University of British Columbia's psychology departmentsurveyed 3,458 participants and found that regardless of whether they met the person online, at a bar, or through their social network — they were still looking to date.

"People are looking for people," she said. 

"We asked, what are you interested in? They said finding a dating partner — even for the Tinder folks."

"The notion out in society, is that relationships that begin using these new technologies, like smartphone apps like Tinder, ... that they aren't as serious compared to meeting someone in real life," said Wentland.

She said the results of the study show that relationships and wanting to be a couple is innate. 

"People want a significant other, even if it's short term," she said.

Wentland's research will be one of the topics of discussion at the Canadian Sex Research Forum in Kelowna.

Research Details

The survey recruited 3,458 people through social media. 

They were asked where they met their most recent sex partner, when the sexual activity first occurred and the status of their relationship before and after sexual activity.

The study looked at four meeting venues:

  • social circle: at school, work or through friends and family
  • bar or party
  • smart phone apps: Tinder or Grindr
  • online dating sites: OkCupid

60% of participants said they used an online app for dating purposes

70% of those people reported sexual activity with an online partner

30% of all participants met their most recent sex partner online

Most looking for a partner

The survey asked 2,317 people who had met someone and had sex with them within the first year of meeting: "Before you met the person, what type of interaction or relationship were you most interested in having?"

Most of the people said they were interesting in dating or a relationship: 

  • Social network 47% 
  • Online dating 68%
  • Bar/party 43% 
  • Tinder 44% 

In other words, of the people who met their most recent sex partner on Tinder, 44 per cent were interested in dating or having a relationship.


To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Tinder or at the library, it doesn't matter where you meet says researcher on CBC's Daybreak North.