Dating Intentions and Sexual Self-Presentations: A Content Analysis of Users’ Profile Pictures on Online Dating Services
AdvisorStevens Aubrey, Jennifer
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractOnline sexual self-presentation is a strategy in which individuals utilize sexuality to promote themselves in the online environment. Based on the self-presentation theory and self-sexualization, I postulate that the behavior of sexual self-presentation will be demonstrated visually in the profile photos that online daters post. This study systematically investigated a total of 250 online daters’ sexual self-presentations on two dating services Wild and Plenty of Fish. In particular, seven sexualization-relevant cues (i.e., sexualizing eyes, clothing, body exposure, selfies, body focus, self touch, and other touch) were examined. Further, this study explored how online daters’ sexual self-presentations differ according to daters’ relational intentions, gender, age, and race. Results indicate that after removing “cannot tell” codes, one-third (33.2%, n = 78) of the profile photos (n = 235) displayed at least one explicit sexualized cue—revealing clothing and body exposure; half (49.6%, n = 124) of the profile pictures (n = 250) presented sexualized eyes. Additionally, 95.2% (n = 220) of the dating profile photos (n = 231) suggested potential body objectification (i.e., either utilizing selfies or partial/full body shots). The study also found that daters’ relational intentions were not associated with sexual self-presentation. Nevertheless, statistically significant gender differences existed in the world of online dating, with female daters utilizing more revealing clothing, body exposure, sexualizing eyes, and selfies in their profile photos than male counterparts.
Degree ProgramGraduate College