SEX & Social Connections on a MONDAY

(Modern ONline Dating for older Adults & Young people)


Given the rise of Dating Apps (e.g. Bumble, Tinder, Plenty of Fish etc.) since 2010, the very nature of social connections, entering sexual relationships and seeking companionship has changed.

Loneliness and Social Connectedness are important factors to positive health and wellbeing to individuals’ in society, and for these two cohorts in society, who through the advice of friends, family and/or peers they may choose to download one or several Dating Apps onto their digital devices, as a means of searching for a connection, companionship, friendship and/or lover.

The rules of Dating has changed and for older adults who may have been married for many decades, becoming single in later life could be a daunting prospect. Moreover, young disabled adults who have chronic life-limited conditions also desire to connect with individuals for companionship, sexual relations, dating, and love.

This initial study explores a myriad of facets associated to the experiences of Dating Apps in a bid to identify and experience social(sex) connections, intimacy, sexuality by adults aged 50+ years and by young disabled adults.

Aims & Objectives:

This multi-methods initial study aims to:

  1. Explore the motivations of using mobile Dating Apps by adults in society who are aged 18+ years and older adults (50+ years)
  2. Explore the motivations of using Dating Apps by young disabled adults with life limited conditions and with older adults, groups that are known to experience social isolation and loneliness
  3. Explore the barriers and enablers of using technology to access Dating Apps
  4. Explore the privacy and risk associated facets of using Dating Apps
  5. Explore the design features associated to Dating Apps and the impact these features have on user engagement
  6. Explore the adults wellbeing, and social connections, of users engaging with Dating Apps
  7. Explore the intimacy, fulfilment and sexual experiences and pleasure of engaging with users via Dating Apps
  8. Explore the behaviour and narratives of users who have met via Dating Apps

Research Questions:

  1. What impact do Dating Apps offer adults across the life span in their emotional, physical health and wellbeing?
  2. How do Dating Apps (if any) reduce social isolation and enhance social connectedness for diverse populations(e.g. adults aged 50+ years and young adults with life limited conditions)?
  3. What are the Impact, behaviour and usability experiences and associated technologies of engaging with Dating Apps?

Project Partners:

Dr Hannah R. Marston (PI) – is the Research Fellow in the Health and Wellbeing Priority Research Area

Dr Sarah Earle (Co-I) – is the Director of the Health and Wellbeing Priority Research Area

Dr David Lee (Co-I) – is a Reader at Manchester Metropolitan University

Ethical Approval

Approved. Ref: HREC/3441/Marston


This initial study was funded through the 2019-2020 H&W PRA September funding call

Video Series

Walter Perry the founding Vice Chancellor of the Open University had a vision for the university to be at the cutting edge of both education and research and was instrumental in ensuring that the OU engaged in research in Health and Wellbeing. 50 years on we take a look at some of the exciting work taking place today. ‘Walter was adamant that the university was committed to high-quality...

MK Innovates Festival

The festival showcased Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics excellence in Milton Keynes on 11th October 2019. Open University's Health and Wellbeing Strategic Research Area hosted a stand to showcase the breadth and depth of our research. A few pictures posted here from the...

Early Career Research Grant awarded by the AHRC

Dr Victoria Newton, Senior Research Fellow, has been awarded an Early Career Research Grant by the AHRC for a project titled Reproductive Bodylore: the role of vernacular knowledge in women's contraceptive decision-making. The project draws together folklore studies and health research. An approach which is uniquely innovative and novel. The study of vernacular knowledge can tell us much about...

Developed by

KMi Logo