Online dating and mating: Methodological and personal reflections on our journey

Danielle Couch, Pranee Liamputtong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


While driving home one night, listening to a mainstream, commercial radio station, I (Danielle) heard an advertisement for an online dating website. I was curious. When I arrived home, I found the website, registered, set up my personal profile, and began my first forays into the world of online dating. I was soon receiving contacts from other members of the website. I was astounded by the spontaneity of it all and the ability to interact with so many people that I could potentially meet in person. This particular website was an adult site, which meant that it was sexually focused, with members listing their sexual preferences along with basic demographic details. These sexographic details included sexuality, relationship status, sexual interests such as spanking (light or hard), oral sex (giving or receiving), anal sex (giving or receiving), one-on-one sex, group sex, erotic picture swapping, erotic email, and numerous other options. Details also included whether the member was registered as a single person, or part of a couple or group, and whether the member's interests were in other members who were male, female, transgender, single, couples, or groups. Members could also nominate safe sex preferences from a choice of always, sometimes, or never practice safe sex.

After becoming familiar with this website, I soon discovered another major online dating website that was more about dating and less about sex. I was working in public health and completing my master's of public health at that time. These sites and other similar sites I found myself or read about in the media started me thinking about the potential health impacts of online dating and the resultant sexual interactions that could come of the dating. I had been contemplating what I would do for my minor thesis as part of my master's and now I knew—my research topic would be online dating and mating.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQualitative Journeys
Subtitle of host publicationStudent and Mentor Experiences with Research
EditorsVictor Minichiello, Jeffrey Kottler
Place of PublicationThousand Oaks, California
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781412956765, 9781412956772
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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