A new study from researchers in Turkey has looked at whether our use of Tinder for casual sex has a basis in certain learned evolutionary traits.
The researchers wanted to find out whether two factors, sexual disgust sensitivity and sociosexuality, predicted Tinder use with a motivation for casual sex.
These terms were defined by Barış Sevi of Koç University as follows – people with a lower sexual disgust sensitivity were less likely to be bothered by things like hearing two people having sex.
On the other hand, people with a higher sociosexuality score had a more positive view of casual sexual relationships.
To look at these factors, the researchers studied 163 Tinder users from the US using an internet survey.
First, respondents were asked to measure different things on a scale of “not disgusting at all” to “extremely disgusting”.
Secondly, their sociosexuality was measured by recording answers to questions like: “With how many different partners have you had sexual intercourse on one and only one occasion?”, “sex without love is OK,” and “how often do you have sexual arousal with someone with whom you do not have a committed romantic relationship?”
The results of the data revealed that both sexual disgust sensitivity and sociosexuality were found to be predictors of motivation to use Tinder for casual sex.
Participants with higher sexual disgust sensitivity reported a lower motivation to use Tinder for these purposes, while participants with higher sociosexuality reported a higher motivation to use Tinder for casual sex.
Speaking about their results, Barış Sevi said: “Our main finding is that people’s sexual disgust levels and their orientation towards casual sex predict their motivation to use Tinder for casual sex.
“But I believe the takeaway message from our research is that disgust — one of the six primary emotions that have evolved billions of years ago — can still affect our motivations to use a smartphone application.
“This is a very compelling finding to show that the evolutionary theories have explanatory power even in today’s technological lifestyle.”
The researchers say that disgust is an evolved trait designed to help us avoid things that could cause us sickness and harm, which when related to sexual activity helps us improve mate selection and reduce risk from things like sexually transmitted diseases.
Read more about the study here.