Analyzing Online Dating Culture

Sexuality in U.S. culture permeates many aspects of our daily lives. How do you make sense of what sexuality means on a personal level, and in U.S. culture and politics? The text describes the ways in which, “attraction, desire, and even disinterest are not only biologically driven but also triggered by a vast array of cultural factors; these may include responses to the potential partner’s age, religion, class, race, education, and employment prospects” (pp. 314–315). Perhaps one of the most dramatic transitions in U.S. dating culture in the past generation has been the prevalence of online dating sites. Many people in our technology-driven contemporary U.S. culture have turned to online dating to find partnership. In this activity we will explore the growing popularity of online dating, and examine “online dating culture” to illuminate wide-spread ideas about sexuality, dating, and partnership in the United States.
Have you or one of your friends tried online dating? If you have personal experience with online dating, you may do this activity based on your own experiences. If you do not have personal experience in this area, find a friend who would feel comfortable giving you a brief interview on their experiences. If these are not options for you, you may read these two articles, about and, to complete the activity. (ctrl + click to follow links).
Prepare an interview guide, or use your own experiences, to answer the following questions.
• Is online dating a supplement or substitution for more traditional forms of meeting potential partners?
• Did you visit multiple online dating sites? If so, what were the differences between them, and why did you select a particular site?
• What types of questions were asked?
• Based on your analysis of the dating sites’ questions, what factors are treated as most important in determining an ideal partnership (for example, education, religion, recreational activities)? What do the questions leave out? Note: Please do not give your personal opinion about what you are looking for in a partner. Answer as an anthropologist, analyzing the websites.
• Now take a step back and imagine yourself as an anthropologist trying to understand the meaning of sexuality, dating, and partnership in this completely foreign culture. Your only data is access to online dating sites. What might you conclude?








Sample Solution