And the most popular time of year for online dating is…

Though it’s hard to tell with this weather, the summer is almost over. What does that mean for us? Autumn leaves, family gatherings and winter holidays are right around the corner. For single people, however, it might also mean something else – time to find a mate.

A recent study by Markey & Markey (2012) took a look at Internet search patterns across a 5 year period. They compared the frequency of using sex or relationship-related search terms with those for more mundane topics (i.e. pets, popular websites and car parts). They found that during winter months (and early summer) there is a consistent trend in increasing internet searches for online dating, pornography and prostitution. Now, I am in no way suggesting that these things go together – only that they all involve seeking out a mate for something other than friendship. Interestingly, these results coincide with findings of other studies showing similar seasonal trends of internet searches for keywords about births, sexually transmitted infections, condom sales and abortions.

One theory suggests that because Western cultures focus on these times of the year as holiday seasons, we have more free time and therefore more time to search (and possibly a stronger motivation to find somebody to share this free time with). Others say it could be part of an evolutionary biological cycle us humans go through when gaining the desire to find a mate.  Whatever the case may be, if you are still waiting to find that special someone online, you can expect a boost in potential suitors as the holidays grow nearer.

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