Curating the perfect photo for your dating profile can be a little tricky. You want to show what you actually look like, while also highlighting your 10/10 personality. While there are some definite dos, such as including that photo of your cute pet, there are also some don’ts — we’re swiping left on fish pics. However, according to new research, it turns out that it’s not just pictures of fish or cars that are putting people off of your dating profile — people who use sexy photos on their profile are more likely to be viewed as incompetent and unlikeable by potential suitors.
A study from the University of Arizona explored the culture of self-sexualization across dating sites and apps, in order to find out how sexy photos can affect the perception of other users. For the study. 262 heterosexual students participated to evaluate what they thought was a new dating website, with fake mock-up profiles.
Approximately half of the profiles featured sexualized photos, which were classified as pictures that included people wearing lingerie or revealing outfits, using come-hither poses or even exposing parts of themselves.
They discovered that people with sexualized profiles were rated lower in task competence, liking and social attractiveness by other users. They were also perceived as less likely to seek out long-term relationships than people with nonsexualized profiles.
Male daters were also judged more harshly when they sexualized their profile photos compared to women. (We’d guess that it has something to do with men wrongly equating muscly and shirtless pics with being attractive to the female gaze.)
The takeaway? If you’re looking for a serious partner on a dating app, maybe save your hotter photos for sexting one on one, after you’ve made a connection.
See also: Sign up for the Slice newsletter.