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Is LGBT Online Dating Different?

How LGBT daters approach online dating.

Passport and computer
Source: Passport and computer

To what extent do those who identify as LGBT use online dating as a way to find a partner? In the U.S., it is estimated that nearly 20% of online daters identify as gay and seeking a same-sex partner. Intriguingly, this percentage is a lot higher than those who report being lesbian or gay in the general population, where the figure is just below 4% (Dating Scout. 2018). In this article, we look at how LGBT daters present themselves in online dating.

In a recent study, online dating experts Dating Scout investigated the types of dating profiles constructed by LGBT daters and the differences between these and the profiles constructed by heterosexual online daters. To do this, they analyzed profile pictures of around 22 million people from over 15 other different countries across the world, employing an artificial intelligence method to scan dating profile pictures, looking for details such as different backgrounds, and what people might have been wearing or holding in their profiles. One of the reports from their study looks at the characteristics of how LGBT daters portray themselves in their profiles.


Their first reported finding was in terms of appearance. They found that gay men focused very much on appearance in online dating. A high number of gay men appeared very interested in the types of clothes they wore. For example, lots appeared with denim or leather and they posed either with a hands-in pockets-style posture or showed chest hair.

Slightly more perplexing was the number of gay men who appeared with marsupials or holding balloons. The authors of the study speculate that this may be explained in terms of the men attempting to convey that they see online dating as a fun pursuit, or that they are trying to put across the image of them being fun.

The study found that lesbian women attempted to show themselves focusing on their lifestyles more often. For example, lesbian women seemed to display a liking for politics, art, and animals. They also seemed to want an array of interests in the types of partners they desired. In this way, they signified that they were very particular in what they wanted from a dating partner.

Other features and differences evident in the profiles of gay and lesbian daters are as follows:

  • Gay men and lesbian women appear with their tongues protruding more often, which again appears to convey a fun aspect.
  • The profiles of gay men show them more lightly dressed than straight men, which is consistent in what was mentioned above about the emphasis on clothes.
  • It appears that gay men smile more often in dating profile pictures compared to straight men, which again would appear to convey a sense of fun.
  • Lesbian women appear wearing caps and hats a higher proportion of the time when compared to straight women.
  • When it comes to tattoos and piercings, lesbian women are seen with these more often than straight women.

Similarities with the appearance of straight men

Similar to straight men, gay men choose to display their physical strength. However, in comparison to straight men, gay men tend not to illustrate and show off about strength, but rather show themselves performing activities such as yoga or dance. Lesbian women also appear to sometimes show off their strength, featuring themselves in sports such as soccer and rugby.


Quite often, conveying a desire to travel or having experience of traveling can be seen as attractive in portraying a sense of adventure. The Dating Scout survey reveals that the same appears to be true for LGBT daters as they exhibit the same desire for travel as heterosexual daters. Interestingly, the survey shows that there seem to be a high number of LGBT daters in locations such as Brazil, Denmark, and Hong Kong. Why they head for these destinations is open to speculation. Furthermore, there also appear to be a high number of LGBT daters who have visited Disney parks.

The Dating Scout survey reveals a number of interesting facts and findings regarding the ways in which LGBT daters portray themselves, with some fascinating similarities and differences to straight daters. Overall, the survey would seem to reveal a passion for fun and enjoyment in online dating.

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