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Once upon a time, online daters were mocked as lonely losers, or worse. Today, at least 40 million Americans are looking for love on the Web. Like sex, love and attraction, online dating is an object of fascination and confusion.Some commentators credit it with helping singles feel more secure and confident, while others blame it for “ruining romance,” “killing commitment” and contributing to the rise of the hook-up culture. While women generally prefer men around their own age, men are most attracted to 20-year-olds, period.It’s an all-too-common trope: Online dating has made casual sex easy but relationships hard.One somewhat hysterical Vanity Fair article recently claimed that sites like Tinder have brought on a “dating apocalypse,” with young men and women meeting online, getting together for sex, then never talking again.Although there are no comprehensive numbers, executives with other sites report similarly low levels of abuse.Additionally, dating sites have taken steps to respond to concerns.It’s very deliberate — after all, you’re looking for a partner through an interface — and that creates a safer environment. This premise is so well-worn that sites like Tinder, Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel offer little information about users beyond a collection of pictures and a two-line profile.
Also, people almost universally pick public places for their initial online dates: coffee shops, restaurants and the like.Experts say that one-third of recent marriages in the United States started online.Those couples tend to be happier, too, research suggests.Ok Cupid creates something like 30,000 first dates every day, and complaints about dangerous meetings are extremely rare.I remember only a handful in my 12 years at the company.