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So conducted our own survey of 1,000 women and talked to experts to find out whether apps have really changed how we date.

The answer is yes, and in more profound ways than we realized.

While the term has several meanings, the most frequent usage refers to two people exploring whether they are romantically or sexually compatible by participating in dates with the other.

With the use of modern technology, people can date via telephone or computer or meet in person.

Now you could have a perfectly good date and then the person just disappears, like in . This year Match’s annual Singles in America survey of 5,500 men and women asked participants whether they’d ever engaged in sex a first date. Not to be confused with hooking up, these people had gotten in bed together before even going to a bar together. D., a biological anthropologist and the site’s chief scientific adviser, calls the “sex interview.” “A lot of young people now don’t want to spend time going out with somebody unless they get to know them physically first,” she says. But apps have “definitely created more space for women to sprawl out and explore,” says Avellino.

“When you’re afraid of spiders and you expose yourself to spiders, after a while they have less meaning for you,” says New York City licensed therapist Lia Avellino. “You can learn a lot about people between the sheets. And knowing what we want can make us happier when we do find a partner—or partners, if that’s what you’re into.

From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine.

And it work: More than 30 percent of women who use apps in our survey said they found a serious partner on them; 12 percent married their match. Of course, the number-one change the apps have brought is the ability to access millions of single people at warp speed, at any time, wherever we are.

That’s how I started going out with a guy I matched with when my uncle’s Christmas toast ran long (admit it, you’ve swiped under the table too).

The upside of all these instant options is that we waste less time on relationships that go nowhere, and we’re less likely to settle. “It becomes like an addiction to novelty without substance,” says Dean.

What Tinder changed (racking up 1.4 billion swipes a day, more than any other platform) was that it never actually said it was a dating app. (Before Tinder), dating sites specialized based on a desired level of commitment—a casual hook-up, an actual relationship, marriage.

“It killed the stigma of online dating by being about online dating,” says Steve Dean, founder of Dateworking, a consulting company for individual online daters and dating sites. But the app caught on because it made it OK to know exactly what you were seeking.

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