Two Different Worlds: When It Comes to Hooking Up Online, Lesbians Are from Venus and Gay Men from Mars. (Love & Sex on the Internet)

By Allen, Dan | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), February 4, 2003 | Go to article overview

Two Different Worlds: When It Comes to Hooking Up Online, Lesbians Are from Venus and Gay Men from Mars. (Love & Sex on the Internet)


Allen, Dan, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


That the Internet continues to revolutionize dating for gays at a faster pace than for heterosexuals is no surprise. "Gay people are just early adopters of new technology in general, especially when that technology allows them to connect with one another," says Leyla Farah, vice president of portal integration for PlanetOut Partners, parent company of PlanetOut.com and Gay.com. But do lesbians and gay men utilize the technology in the same manner? How different are our experiences? Farah has compiled market data about the way the sites' combined 6 million members behave online and, in particular, the differences in how their male and female constituents make use of online dating's various tools.

So how do lesbians and gay men date differently online?

I think on a general level men are much more adventurous and more interested in poking around and seeing what's there, whereas women will really take time and really investigate possible partners or dates online. I find that women tend to keep a lot of things private in their profiles. On our sites, for example, you can mark pictures as private, which means that you can only share them with someone you're actually chatting with. Because of security, women tend to take advantage of that feature more.

Is it true that women are more likely to write to people whose profiles don't include photos?

That is true. That really points to the investment that women will make in their online personae. They will spend much more time than men in filling out every piece of the profile. They'll actually fill in the essay questions, which men rarely do. They will write long essays and not include a [public] photo. And that's markedly different than the behavior of men. For men, pictures are really a deal-breaker.

I suppose there's no way to know whether gay men or lesbians are more apt to meet up with one another offline. …

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