Don’t be too quick to scoff at that friend you have who communicates every little thing through emojis: it’s very possible they’re having more sex than you. Unless you are that friend, in which case, STOP IT.
The conclusions are drawn from two separate but related by the world-famous Kinsey Institute, which specializes in the scientific study of human sexuality. I’ve relied on their studies numerous times for articles on this blog, and I trust them implicitly. But it must have been a slow day at the Institute when someone wondered out loud, “this guy keeps sending me emojis. I wonder how much sex he’s having?” and someone else said “get your clipboard, we need to study that shit RIGHT NOW.”
The first study was surprisingly large and broad, including 5,327 participants aged from 18 to 94(!), with 87% of them identifying as heterosexual and 62% identifying as white. It reflects the demographic diversity of the US pretty well.
The survey was relatively straightforward: the participants were asked if they used emojis and why, and then asked about their dating and sex lives. So, what happened?
38% of respondents said they never use emojis, and 28% regularly use them. (29% rarely do.) 3% use at least one in every message. The reasons given for including emojis were predominantly about perception: people want to give their messages more personality and make it easier to express feelings. Also, it’s faster than typing.
So far, so predictable. So where does the sex come in?
Well, there was a direct correlation between the amount of emojis a person used, the amount of dates they’d been on recently, and the amount of sex they were having. The second survey expanded on that.
This survey was far smaller, with 275 respondents aged from 18 to 71, with 84% identifying as heterosexual and 73% identifying as white.
In this survey, the use of emojis was far more prevalent, with just 3% claiming to never use emojis at all with potential dates. This survey uncovered a further finding though: that frequent emoji use strongly correlated with having more second dates.
And supporting the first survey, the second survey was linked not only to a higher frequency of sex, but more sexual partners over the previous year than those who rarely used emojis. Just to hammer the point home, frequent emoji users were more likely to have slept with the last person they dated, had a second date, and potentially entered into a relationship too.
What’s missing from the research is which emojis were the most successful for landing a date, a second date, or a hookup. That would be some damn useful information up in here. They also only examined the sending of emojis, not the receipt of them, which is a shame because it would be fun to know for sure how different emojis are perceived.
So what did we learn? In the paper’s own words:
“Nearly 30% of this U.S. national sample of adult singles used emojis/emoticons regularly with dates, and most reported doing so because they provide a better outlet for self-expression than strictly text-based messages. Importantly, emoji/emoticon use was associated with more first dates and more frequent sexual activity over the last year.
“The majority of participants reported frequent emoji use with potential partners. Emoji frequency… was related to maintaining connections with a first date (i.e., continued communication, second dates) and with more sexual behavior over the past year. Those who used emojis more with potential partners prior to the first date were more likely to have engaged in intimate behaviors with that person, and were more likely to have established a relationship with this person.”
In short, if you one of those sticks in the mud who resist emojis, you could be missing out.