Men may sift through Tinder with their fingers, but they’re figuratively swiping with their dicks.

Tinder has become an essential instrument in today’s hook-up culture, offering a platform where young men and women can connect with an unspoken agreement to touch one another’s genitals.

For most users, the goal to orgasm is the primary impetus behind maintaining a Tinder account. But a brief browse through its catalog of ladies sometimes tells a different story. Every now and then, you’ll stumble upon young women who aren’t looking for quick and convenient sexual stimulation. Marked by profiles that include warnings of “NO HOOK-UPS,” these honeys reject the implicit Tinder culture of casual sex and one-night stands.

To comprehend why these women use a notoriously sexualized dating app for non-coital purposes, we scoured the internet for impassioned forums on the subject, matched with a few females, and spoke to women of the “no hook-up” persuasion to summarize the notions of ladies at large.


They're open to anything, but they prefer something long-term over a one-night stand

“After little over a month of being single, I could fill an encyclopedia with the insight I’ve gained about dating,” says Sophia, a flirtatious friend and serial Tinderer. Like most other solo young ladies, she’s discovered single life is an endless trial and error.

For some women, this is as simple as exploring whether she adores or abhors blonde beards. For others, it’s as complex as determining if she can have casual sex without catching the feels.

Such was the case with Sophia. She ran an experiment, hooking up any with eligible bachelors who could admirably charm their way into her bedroom, and soon began to feel uneasy about these emotionally-detached encounters. To cut back on their frequency and switch gears in an effort to find something more fulfilling, she edited her Tinder profile to filter out the one-and-done fellas.

“I’m actually still down to hook up, but I’d rather have something more serious,” Sophia explains. She and the women who share her mindset are aware that the “no hook-ups” disclaimer may be dismissive, but they don’t see the men who are deterred by it as a serious loss. Better to clear the air before wasting time on someone with contrasting intentions.

They say "no hook-ups," but they mean "no random hook-ups"

“There’s a pretty clear miscommunication between what ‘hook-up’ means for men and women,” explains Taylor, a young lady we found on the soapbox of a Reddit thread, outlining the merits of a Tinder no hook-up policy. She attributes the confusion to different definitions of the same expression.

By most men’s standards, women hook up all the time. But by many women’s standards, they’ve never once hooked up. These opposing reports derive from distinct interpretations of what “hooking up” means.

To Taylor and the young women that surround her, “no hook-ups” mean that they’re not interested in meeting a stranger for the explicit purpose of on-the-spot sex. It means they don’t want unwarranted dick pics or requests to meet at someone’s house to watch Netflix, fuck without making eye contact, and slink away before things get awkward.

While the ladies with this point of view are not interested in an AM booty call, they will meet up with you in public for a drink. “That way, I can see if I still find you attractive in person and can escape if you're not,” Taylor says. If they find that you’re a good match and you genuinely like one another, they’re open to the idea of getting physical. Apparently not so prude after all.

They say “no hook-ups” because they believe hooking up is for women who are selling themselves short

“Tinder is an unlimited source of eager men. When I’m making so many matches, all I have to do is sit back and wait for the best offer to come along,” explains Jenny, a self-assured local lady we snagged using a handsome friend’s Tinder account as bait.

While most women we’d met were willing to hook up with their Tinder dates under the right circumstances, Jenny seemed fundamentally opposed to Tinder’s traditional no-strings-attached culture. “I’ve hooked up,” she admits, “but I always feel disgusted with myself afterwards, so now I just tend to avoid it.”

Jenny and numerous other ladies like her have an idealistic desire behind their involvement in Tinder. They’re hopeful that a meaningful relationship can be formed using the platform, and that connection doesn’t necessarily have to start off with sex. They’re looking for friendship or fairytale love, and nearly nothing in between will interest them.


Even still, the “no hook up” policy could be counter-intuitive to the men of Tinder. They may adamantly argue that claiming you’re “not looking to hook up” on such a superficial dating app is analogous to posting to a job site and adding the caveat that “you’re not looking for an interview.”

But the “no hook-up” policy communicates these women’s intentions, protects them from unwanted advances, and weeds out the worst of Tinder’s prospects. Evidently, its meaning also varies immensely from woman to woman. If you’re willing to interpret its individualized meaning to your lady of interest, go ahead and swipe right. Your open-minded approach may mean it’s a match.

[originally published November 28, 2017]