Dating and online dating

A 2012 paper co-written by Rosenfeld found that the share of straight couples who met online rose from about zero percent in the mid-1990s to about 20 percent in 2009.

When in the 1840s the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard called anxiety “the dizziness of freedom,” he wasn’t slamming the door on modernity so much as foreseeing its existential contradiction: All the forces of maximal freedom are also forces of anxiety, because anybody who feels obligated to select the ingredients of a perfect life from an infinite menu of options may feel lost in the infinitude. Our friends and moms were underserving us.”Historically, the “underserving” was most severe for single gay people.

Last week, I tweeted the main graph from Rosenfeld’s latest, a decision we both mildly regret, because it inundated my mentions and ruined his inbox.

“I think I got about 100 media requests over the weekend,” he told me ruefully on the phone when I called him on Monday.

want partners, and online dating seems to be serving that need adequately. “In the past, even if mom was supportive of her gay kids, she probably didn’t know other gay people to introduce them to,” Rosenfeld said.

The rapid adoption of online dating among the LGBTQ community speaks to a deeper truth about the internet: It’s most powerful (for better and for worse) as a tool for helping minorities of all stripes—political, social, cultural, sexual—find one another.

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