Hookup Culture Is A Myth — Here's What Millennials Are Actually Doing On Dating Apps

by Laken Howard
Ashley Batz/Bustle

People love to talk about how bad Millennials are at dating and relationships. Their argument, essentially, is that our dating app fixation is causing us to become too hookup-driven and afraid of commitment. Sure, we might still be absorbed in our dating apps, but is the hookup culture as prevalent as it seems? According to a new survey of 3,500 Millennials by ABODO Apartments — an online apartment marketplace for college students — hookup culture might be on its way out. Their research found that less than nine percent of Millennials said they're specifically using dating apps to look for hookups, which kind of contradicts most people's key criticism of dating apps.

"People want to villainize dating apps for the change in dating culture, however dating apps weren't the cause of the behavioral shift, they're simply a tool that makes it more convenient to pursue one's interests," Damona Hoffman, certified dating and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Statistically, Tinder isn't a hookup app at all. It's a chat app that allows you to connect with singles but doesn't necessarily lead to more casual connections than most people are making offline."

Do people use Tinder to find hookups? Of course, and there's nothing wrong with that, but that's not the actual intention for most people — and that's pretty telling of our mindset about relationships. Here are six other stats that prove the hookup culture might not be as pervasive as we think.


The Goal Of First Dates Isn't Sex

According to the ABODO survey, only 11 percent of men and less than two percent of women said that having sex was the "goal" of a first date. In fact, about nine percent of men and 32 percent of women said "no way" would they have sex with someone they just met. Overall, Millennials seem to have a pretty go-with-the-flow attitude towards first date sex: over a quarter of men and women are of the 'if it happens, it happens' mindset.


Millennials Use Dating Apps For Entertainment

Almost a third of Millennials said they're on dating apps as a way to curb boredom, and 13 percent are just looking for an ego boost — in short, we want our apps to keep us entertained. "Millennials as a generation feel disconnected, but instead of using the app as a tool to source face-to-face experiences, we are using it to isolate ourselves even more by keeping potential dates in a glass cage," Kali Rogers, Relationship Expert and Found of Blush Online Life Coaching, tells Bustle. "Instead of Netflix and chill, we're resorting to Netflix and swipe."

I'd rather someone swipe right on me out of boredom than because they have a nefarious plan to seduce (and then ghost) me.


Millennials Think Dating App Use When You're Attached Is Cheating

It's totally possible to make a genuine connection on a dating app, at which point you should have an honest convo about when you both want to delete your dating apps. If all Millennials cared about was hooking up, we probably wouldn't care whether or not someone we're dating is still swiping on others "just for fun" — but 70 percent of those surveyed by ABODO said that using dating apps is a hard no, and definitely crosses the "cheating" line.


Millennials Don't Want To Be Single

There's nothing wrong with being single; in fact, it's downright healthy to take some time to yourself in between relationships. But if you're under the impression that all Millennials want to stay single and just casually date for their entire lives, you're mistaken. According to a recent survey by YouGov, only 24 percent of Millennials said they want to stay single, compared to 45 percent of those 55 and up.

"Younger people tend to see relationships and dating in much more positive and idealistic terms," Jonathan Bennett, dating and relationship coach and owner of The Popular Man, tells Bustle. "However, older people, who might have endured years of dating frustrations or dysfunctional relationships, have a lot more cynicism (or according to them realism) about the whole process."


Millennials Are Scared Of Not Finding Love

Even though we might be more open-minded when it comes to casual sex, Millennials still desire long-term love, too. A VICELAND study from 2016 found that 31 percent of Millennials' worst fear was never finding love. Not death, not job loss, not homelessness — over a quarter of Millennials are most worried about not finding someone to share their life with. It's a little sad, but also kind of cute?


...And We're Still Optimistic About Dating

Even though the world of online dating can be frustrating and exhausting at times, Millennials haven't given up hope of finding a real partner. Data from relationship app Hinge shows that 88 percent of Millennials still feel "optimistic" about dating and finding love. That means that, in spite of all the flaky people, ghosts, and breadcrumbers that are lurking out there, Millennials are still willing to give dating apps a chance to help them find real love — and that's pretty inspiring.

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter how you personally like to use dating apps. As long as you're honest and direct about your intentions and genuinely open-minded about meeting someone, you'll be well on your way to finding a partner.