Skip to main content

Brief Report: Tinder Users Are Risk Takers and Have Low Sexual Disgust Sensitivity


Tinder is the leading online dating application. The users have different motivations to use the application, and casual sex is one of the major ones. Having casual sex has risks for the individuals’ health and safety. Casual sex may also result in suboptimal sexual behaviors. This study aimed to answer three questions: (1) Do Tinder users and non-users differ in their sexual disgust and health/safety risk-taking? (2) Does sexual disgust sensitivity and health/safety risk-taking predict the motivation use Tinder for casual sex? And, (3) does sex influence these differences? Results from 271 Amazon Mechanical Turk workers showed that Tinder users take more health/safety risks and have lower sexual disgust sensitivity than non-users. Also, propensity of health/safety risk-taking and sexual disgust sensitivity predicts the motivation to use Tinder for casual sex. Furthermore, the effects of health/safety risk-taking and sexual disgust on Tinder use operated differently according to sex.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Al-Shawaf, L., Lewis, D. M., & Buss, D. M. (2015). Disgust and mating strategy. Evolution and Human Behavior, 36(3), 199–205.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baker, M. D., & Maner, J. K. (2008). Risk-taking as a situationally sensitive male mating strategy. Evolution and Human Behavior, 29(6), 391–395.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baker, M. D., & Maner, J. K. (2009). Male risk-taking as a context-sensitive signaling device. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(5), 1136–1139.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blais, A. R., & Weber, E. U. (2006). A domain-specific risk-taking (DOSPERT) scale for adult populations. Judgment and Decision making, 1, 33–47.

    Google Scholar 

  • Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100(2), 204–232.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Byrnes, J. P., Miller, D. C., & Schafer, W. D. (1999). Gender differences in risk taking: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 125(3), 367–383.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fleischman, D. S., Hamilton, L. D., Fessler, D. M., & Meston, C. M. (2015). Disgust versus lust: Exploring the interactions of disgust and fear with sexual arousal in women. PLoS One, 10(6).

  • Frankenhuis, W. E., Dotsch, R., Karremans, J. C., & Wigboldus, D. H. (2010). Male physical risk taking in a virtual environment. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 8(1), 75–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • LeFebvre, L. E. (2018). Swiping me off my feet: Explicating relationship initiation on Tinder. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35(9), 1205–1229.

  • March, E., Grieve, R., Marrington, J., & Jonason, P. K. (2017). Trolling on Tinder® (and other dating apps): Examining the role of the dark tetrad and impulsivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 110, 139–143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moran, J. B., Salerno, K. J., & Wade, T. J. (2018). Snapchat as a new tool for sexual access: Are there sex differences? Personality and Individual Differences, 129, 12–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ranzini, G., & Lutz, C. (2017). Love at first swipe? Explaining Tinder self-presentation and motives. Mobile Media & Communication, 5(1), 80–101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schmitt, D. P., Alcalay, L., Allik, J., Ault, L., Austers, I., Bennett, K. L., et al. (2003). Universal sex differences in the desire for sexual variety: Tests from 52 nations, 6 continents, and 13 islands. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(1), 85–104.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sevi, B. (2018). Hookup Culture. In T. Shackelford & V. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of evolutionary psychological science. Cham: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sevi, B., Aral, T., & Eskenazi, T. (2017). Exploring the hook-up app: Low sexual disgust and high sociosexuality predict motivation to use Tinder for casual sex. Personality and Individual Differences.

  • Shapiro, G. K., Tatar, O., Sutton, A., Fisher, W., Naz, A., Perez, S., & Rosberger, Z. (2017). Correlates of Tinder use and risky sexual behaviors in young adults. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 20(12), 727–734.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Strubel, J., & Petrie, T. A. (2017). Love me Tinder: Body image and psychosocial functioning among men and women. Body Image, 21, 34–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sumter, S. R., Vandenbosch, L., & Ligtenberg, L. (2017). Love me Tinder: Untangling emerging adults’ motivations for using the dating application Tinder. Telematics and Informatics, 34(1), 67–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Timmermans, E., & De Caluwé, E. (2017). To Tinder or not to Tinder, that’s the question: An individual differences perspective to Tinder use and motives. Personality and Individual Differences, 110, 74–79.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Trivers, R. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man: 1871–1971 (pp. 136–179). Chicago: Aldine-Atherton.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tybur, J. M., Lieberman, D., & Griskevicius, V. (2009). Microbes, mating, and morality: Individual differences in three functional domains of disgust. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(1), 103–122.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Tyson, G., Perta, V. C., Haddadi, H., & Seto, M. C. (2016). A first look at user activity on tinder. In Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), 2016 IEEE/ACM International Conference on (pp. 461–466). IEEE.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Barış Sevi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sevi, B. Brief Report: Tinder Users Are Risk Takers and Have Low Sexual Disgust Sensitivity. Evolutionary Psychological Science 5, 104–108 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Online dating
  • Sexual disgust
  • Risk taking
  • Sex differences