Where romance is kindled poor judgment reigns, it seems, judging by the results of a Match.com survey of the online habits of 5,000 single folks. According to Match.com one-third of the singles surveyed (32%) have sent a “sext” -- that’s a revealing photo of yourself sent electronically, for those readers living in burrows -- and over half (51%) have received one.
Those proportions are pretty big, and might even be alarming if you’re the paranoid sort, which I totally am. There are so many horror stories of sexts traveling (far) beyond their original recipients that caution is certainly warranted: on that note, 23% of those surveyed said they have “shared” a sexy photo they received with someone else. And in fact single men seem to have a bit of an exhibitionist streak: 42% said they wouldn’t be offended if someone shared a revealing pic they sent, compared to a mere 13% of women. Of course, “sharing” can mean a number of different things, and the men might not be so relaxed about their picture being shared if it meant, say, posting it online for all to see. Or maybe they really don’t care. So sext away, everyone! Or don’t! It probably depends on your individual circumstances!
The Match.com survey uncovered some other interesting data about the romantic prowling habits of the online single. Almost half of single women surveyed (48%) said they research dates on Facebook before they meet them in person, compared to 38% of single men. And what you put on Facebook can have serious consequences: overall 38% of singles surveyed said they would break up with someone because of something they found online, although specific triggers varied between the genders.
For example, among respondents who said they would break up because of something they found online, 55% of single men said they opted out of a date because of a bad Facebook picture, 42% because of a post on someone else’s wall, and 21% of a status update. For single women, 48% opted out of a date because of a post on someone else’s wall, 36% because of a picture, and 27% because of who their date was adding as friends.
In light of all this, many singles are understandably careful about the presentation of their Facebook profile. Here 27% of single men and 26% of single women said they have cleaned up their Facebook wall before accepting a friend request from a date. The proportion rises to 36% among singles in their 20s. Meanwhile 65% of all singles surveyed said they do not post their relationship status on Facebook.
Interestingly the proportion of singles who admit to carrying out Facebook “research” is lower in the U.S. than across the pond. In December online dating service parship.co.uk surveyed 1,922 single British adults and found that roughly two-thirds (65%) said that they search for potential dates’ social media profiles online before stepping out on the town, and 50% said they had rejected a date request on the basis of something they discovered via social media.