Michael J. Rosenfeld and Reuben J. Thomas, “Searching for a Mate: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary,” American Sociological Review, June 2012

The Most Important Hookup

More and more couples are answering the question, “How did you meet?” with a single word: “online.”

Using a nationally representative survey, Michael J. Rosenfeld and Reuben J. Thomas show in the American Sociological Review (June 2012) that the odds are shrinking for U.S. singles to get fixed up by friends or meet that special someone at the water cooler. Instead, more and more adults are meeting over the Internet—especially middle-aged heterosexuals and all of those seeking a same-sex partner, two groups that traditionally face “thin” dating markets. In fact, in 2008 and 2009, more than 60% of same-sex couples met online, whether through dating websites, chatting, playing online games, or social networking sites, the authors find. And for all groups, relationships begun online were just as robust as those struck up face-to-face.

Simply having web access at home increases a person’s chance of being partnered, according to the study. To launch a relationship, the most important hookup might just be to the Internet.

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