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The internet is the primary meeting space for same-sex pairings, whether casual or more than casual: 70% of same-sex relationships start online.“This is a very big shift in how people find their partners,” observes Reuben Thomas, a sociologist at the University of New Mexico.More personal because the phone is intimate in a way the keyboard is not, camera-ready and always with you. Many people now feel quite happy swiping left or right on public transport, gossiping to their friends about potential matches.Screenshots of possible partners fly back and forth over Whats App and i Message.
The internet thus helps those with similar, and sometimes quite specialised, views on what makes for good sex, or indeed on more or less anything else.Americans are charging ahead; Germans, comparatively, lagging behind.India, which has long had a complex offline market for arranged marriages within religious and caste boundaries, has seen it move online.Yu Wang, the chief executive of Tantan, founded in 2015 and now one of China’s largest dating apps, says the country’s offline dating culture is practically non-existent.“If you approach someone you don’t know and start flirting, you’re a scoundrel,” he says.
Last year saw a rare Indian tech-sector IPO when raised 500 crore rupees ($70m) to help it target the marriage market.