Sexual Attraction: Takes a While to Get There
As pointed out in the online dating model, determining ‘physical chemistry’ or ‘sexual attraction’ does not usually take place until the couple meet face-to-face. Off-line flirting usually takes places because one or both individuals find the other physically attractive. Individuals probably do not make it to the interaction phase if there is not at least some physical chemistry there. Of course knowing for sure if there is a desire to take the attraction further does not take place usually until phase 4 in Givens’ model.
In comparison to face-to-face, online daters can only guess and hope that they find the person they have meet online to be someone they are physically attracted to and in turn if that person reciprocates that attraction. Judging from a couple of photographs (which may well be out of date or developed in photoshop) is a tricky process and individuals can only hope that they will find the person physically attractive when they meet in the flesh. Moreover, research has also found that judgments are often skewed because people increase their expectations about the type of person who might be attracted to them (Whitty & Carr, 2006). So unlike off-line, where individuals initially find the other attractive and then move to get to know the person, for online daters it is more about knowing the person and then determining if there is any physical attraction. Spending the time interacting and then meeting can seem like a waste of time for individuals if they find there is not any physical chemistry when the pair meet face-to-face. Some online dating sites are encouraging users to also place videos of themselves on the site— this might go some way towards reducing the problem of delayed determination of physical attraction.