A contention I’ve encountered in response to data on attractiveness/height and mating outcomes I’ve presented is that it understates the effect as it’s not up to date enough to be relevant, with the reasoning generally being that dating apps have dramatically altered the playing field, leading to what can be summed up as the ‘Tinder-driven chadopoly’.

I’ve shown already that the most promiscuous men in general aren’t getting more promiscuous, but it remains possible that their promiscuity may be more dependent on physical attractiveness than it was before the introduction of dating apps which encourage snap judgments based on little more than a few images. In the black pill worldview dating and attraction never really goes beyond this anyway, so I guess in that case the focus would be on the discretion and ease of access that they enable.

This is an empirically testable hypothesis. If it is indeed the case that dating apps have facilitated a radical shift in dating culture toward women all hopping on the top 1% chadrone c*ck carousel, then the correlation between attractiveness and sexual partners should have definitely been amplified along with their rise.

First, a meta-analysis of studies conducted before Tinder took off yields a summary effect size of .15.

Men's facial attractiveness and sex partners correlations pre-dating apps meta-analysis

Now, I have collected the most recent studies containing relevant information and included some analyses of GSS data. I selected heterosexual 18-35 men and correlated their interviewer-rated looks with their reported sex partners in the past year as more recent partners are more likely to have been encountered on dating apps.

The correlations for Kordsmeyer et al. (2018) are also for the past year, the second one from a follow-up study 18 months later. For Foo et al. (2017) it was lifetime sexual partners. The mean ages were 24.2 and 20.8 respectively. The ratings were made by a group of opposite-sex judges in Foo et al. and a mixed gender group in Kordsmeyer et al., though men’s video-rated sexual attractiveness rated by a female only group showed the same results.

With that out of the way, how much has this changed post-Tinder? Nada. The estimate is virtually identical.

Men's facial attractiveness and sex partners correlations post-dating apps meta-analysis

The partners in the past year measure may have less room for variance so let’s look at the longer term counts for good measure. In the 2018 GSS attractiveness correlated at .07 with partners in the past 5 years and .09 with number of partners since 18. In Kordsmeyer et al. it correlated at .11 with total one-night stand partners and .06 with total sex partners without interest in a long-term committed relationship in T1, and .01 and .04 in T2 (sample was reduced somewhat). In the 2022 GSS it correlated at .18 with partners in the past 5 years and -.19 with lifetime partners. The correlations remain small no matter how you slice it.

The association between height and sex partners also remains trivial.

Men's height and sex partners correlations post-dating apps meta-analysis

So, not only is the meme of an intensifying sexual skew not supported by the data, there is also no evidence that the variance that does exist is now more influenced by attractiveness or height than it was before dating apps supposedly destroyed the chances of all but the most physically superior specimens. If this were the case, we’d see a very strong correlation. There’s no way around it. It doesn’t make any sense for this to be true but also for women to rate young men’s attractiveness, have them report their sexual escapades, and then have this be the result:

Men's facial attractiveness and sex partners correlations

If there has been no change, then why is this such a pervasive belief which has spilled well beyond the confines of incel ideology? What is causing this mass delusion? I guess the simple reason is that the gender dynamics of dating apps create a powerful perception which is reinforced by a continuous stream of ‘chadfish experiments’, rageposts, and so on. As the media has been pushing the narrative of a male-driven sexlessness/singleness crisis a lot lately (I won’t reiterate how a more thorough analysis raises serious doubts about this) this has demanded an explanation, and this is one that inevitably pops up a lot. I won’t reiterate everything in my post on the dating app meme either, but as with many surface level intuitions, it’s not as straightforward as it might seem.

People often see Tinder is often seen as Grindr for straight people, so if most guys aren’t hooking up much through it then I guess the conclusion is that elite minority must be having all those missing hookups. This notion is especially strong among incels who are more on the autistic side and tend to project men’s higher short-term orientation onto women due to lacking a robust theory of mind.

A paper by Harrison et al. (2022) however cast further doubt on the popular notion that they’re a hookup facilitator however, finding in their regression model that the love motive but not the hookup motive or sensation seeking was a predictor of having met a match in person. Consistent with other data there was also no effect of gender, and while men reported a much higher hookup motive than did women, they also reported a relationship motive at least as high.

Phone apps haven’t suddenly dissolved the sex differences in sociosexuality and horniness, and women aren’t simply gay men but more selective. You could argue that it happens in a more subtle way, such that men lead women on by feigning interest in a committed relationship while the women keep getting burnt because they refuse to settle for their ‘looksmatch’, but this probably overestimates how many ‘chads’ are manipulative dark triad types (you could argue this is a misandristic assumption) and also how many women fall for it so quickly. Even of the men who are theoretically willing to do this, most of them would probably prefer to simply find a steady partner of similar attractiveness rather than go through that song and dance just to add some notches to their belt.

It’s also not like there was no way to discriminate on the basis of looks before dating apps existed, or that women would’ve somehow needed to expand their selection pool to thousands of men to find this elusive chad, unless he is now defined as being in the top 0.1% of attractiveness.

As small as it may be we do see an effect of attractiveness on sociosexual behaviour for men, so it’s not like there’s no room for this to ever happen or for a man to have a consensual hookup with a more promiscuous woman who is perhaps below his attractiveness level, but we can safely say that it’s not happening any more than it did before apps came onto the scene.

References

Feingold, A. (1992). Gender differences in mate selection preferences: A test of the parental investment model. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1), 125–139. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.112.1.125

Bogaert, A. F., & Fisher, W. A. (1995). Predictors of university men’s number of sexual partners. Journal of Sex Research, 32(2), 119–130. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499509551782

Gangestad, S. W., & Thornhill, R. (1997). Human sexual selection and developmental stability. In J. A. Simpson & D. T. Kenrick (Eds.), Evolutionary social psychology (pp. 169–196). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Thornhill, R., & Gangestad, S. W. (1999). The scent of symmetry: A human sex pheromone that signals fitness? Evolution and Human Behavior, 20(3), 175–201. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1090-5138(99)00005-7

Rhodes, G., Simmons, L. W., & Peters, M. (2005b). Attractiveness and sexual behavior: Does attractiveness enhance mating success? Evolution and Human Behavior, 26(2), 186–201. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2004.08.014

Hönekopp, J., Rudolph, U., Beier, L., Liebert, A., & Müller, C. (2007). Physical attractiveness of face and body as indicators of physical fitness in men. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28(2), 106–111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2006.09.001

Peters, M., Rhodes, G., & Simmons, L. W. (2008). Does attractiveness in men provide clues to semen quality? Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 21(2), 572–579. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2007.01477.x

Shoup, M. L., & Gallup, G. G., Jr. (2008). Men’s faces convey information about their bodies and their behavior: What you see is what you get. Evolutionary Psychology, 6(3), 469–479. https://doi.org/10.1177/147470490800600311

Visser, B. A., Pozzebon, J. A., Bogaert, A. F., & Ashton, M. C. (2010). Psychopathy, sexual behavior, and esteem: It’s different for girls. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(7), 833–838. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.02.008

Rhodes, G., Lie, H. C., Thevaraja, N., Taylor, L., Iredell, N., Curran, C., Tan, S. Q. C., Carnemolla, P., & Simmons, L. W. (2011). Facial Attractiveness Ratings from Video-Clips and Static Images Tell the Same Story. PLOS ONE, 6(11), e26653. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0026653

Hill, A. K., Hunt, J., Welling, L. L. M., Cárdenas, R. A., Rotella, M. A., Wheatley, J. R., Dawood, K., Shriver, M. D., & Puts, D. A. (2013b). Quantifying the strength and form of sexual selection on men’s traits. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34(5), 334–341. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.05.004

Foo, Y. Z., Simmons, L. W., & Rhodes, G. (2017). Predictors of facial attractiveness and health in humans. Scientific reports7, 39731. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep39731

Kordsmeyer, T. L., Hunt, J., Puts, D. A., Ostner, J., & Penke, L. (2018c). The relative importance of intra- and intersexual selection on human male sexually dimorphic traits. Evolution and Human Behavior, 39(4), 424–436. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.03.008

Polo, P., Muñoz-Reyes, J. A., Pita, M., Shackelford, T. K., & Fink, B. (2019). Testosterone-dependent facial and body traits predict men’s sociosexual attitudes and behaviors. American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council31(3), e23235. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23235

Von Borell, C. J., Kordsmeyer, T. L., Gerlach, T. M., & Penke, L. (2019). An integrative study of facultative personality calibration. Evolution and Human Behavior, 40(2), 235–248. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2019.01.002

Harrison, M. G., McAnulty, R. D., & Canevello, A. (2022). College Students’ Motives for In-Person Meetings with Dating Application Matches. Cyberpsychology, behavior and social networking25(2), 130–134. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2021.0031

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