The recent data breach of Ashley Madison, a website designed for cheating spouses to find each other, has created an opportunity to study and determine the gender-based behaviors of men and women on dating websites. I think this gives us a very accurate picture as to why so many men struggle with online dating because I think what we have learned from the users of Ashley Madison applies to other dating websites in the USA. So far much of the press and the public seem preoccupied with determining which public, high-profile figures and celebrities we will find that have used the site.
As for me, I wanted to know whether or not women are even on these sites. A study was done and published on Gizmodo that pretty much confirmed what men that have done online dating have always suspected:
- There are orders of magnitude more men on the site than women.
- That significant numbers of profiles are fake. They were created by bots or the people who worked at Ashley Madison
- That the men were much more active on the site than the women are.
Yep, it’s pretty much a sausage fest on Ashley Madison. Check out the raw numbers by gender:
Anybody who has spent time on dating websites knows that just because you see a profile on the internet, it doesn’t mean that they’re active. Gizmodo also looked at activity by seeking profiles of people who regularly check their message boxes and use the chat feature (strong indicators of activity).
This lopsided difference even applies for the chat feature.
It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Out of the 5.5 million female profiles on Ashley Madison, only a couple thousand of them represented real, active women. As such they literally have a pick of the litter.
But now it’s time to get real. The point that Gizmodo and other analysts that take a look at the leaked data are going to miss is that none of these women will actually be (physically) cheating. Maybe we can count on our hands the number of women that have actually cheated through Ashley Madison, but it might as well be zero. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that women crave attention. Women aren’t wired for sex like men are. If a woman puts up a profile on the internet and get’s bombarded with messages, invitations and likes, this will be enough to satisfy their ego. They’ll still think they got it….even after they hit the wall. It’s men that actually want to date and have sex. They’ll want to actually do the act.
And if you think about it, 10-20 million men as active users are a significant portion of the adult male population in the US. That’s a lot of lonely men doing an activity that won’t get them laid! Instead they end up sending messages and interest into the aether.
It makes you wonder if there are some dating sites that give men a more balanced ratio. The good news is that there are. But you have to go to foreign sites and mail order bride sites. You still encounter fake profiles, but the balance is much better and the response rate is better (albeit not perfect–there are scammers out there). This is one reason why I think the foreign bride phenomenon will grow. American men will seek greener pastures when it comes to dating and initially that will involve the internet. Once he sees how much better foreign searches works for him, there won’t be any turning back.