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Which dating app is right for you? Use this guide to figure it out.

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Online dating is officially mainstream. “We met on Tinder” is the new “we met at a bar.” 

Countless children have been born whose parents met via an online dating app like Match or eharmony. According to a survey conducted by popular wedding planning site The Knot, online dating is the most popular way that currently engaged couples met, up 5% in just two years.

SEE ALSO: Best hookup apps and sites and how they can help you get it on

With so many options, it can be hard to know where to find the best crop of potential mates. Each of the dating apps out there has features that will matter differently to you depending on your lifestyle, what you want, and what’s most important to you. Looking for Mrs. Right? Or perhaps just Mr. Right Now? It’s helpful to know how each dating app is different so that you’re surrounding yourself with people who want the same thing as you. Read more…

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Swiping right on virtual relationships

There’s an episode in the latest season of the Hulu original series Casual, where the main character, Alex, tries his hand at dating in virtual reality. He quickly meets a woman and develops a big, adrenaline-inducing crush only to realize she’s a scammer out for his credit card information.

The season takes place around 2021 or 2022, when technological advances have made dating in VR both possible and socially acceptable. We’re not there yet, and we probably won’t be there as soon as the writers of the show think, but it’s time to imagine and plan for a future when entire relationships exist in and as a result of virtual reality.

Sextech entrepreneur and advocate Bryony Cole has built a career around the assumption that a full pivot to VR will happen in our lifetimes.

She’s the chief executive officer of Future of Sex, a podcast-turned-media company and sextech accelerator. Future of Sex has just released its inaugural report on virtual intimacy and plans to produce content on other topics at the intersection of technology and sex. 

Today, most people are more interested in Magic Leap’s new Angry Birds VR game than the ways in which VR can aid struggling relationships, but the report is full of interesting nuggets on how tech, like teledildonics (Internet-connected sex toys), is transforming intimacy.

There’s a whole class of startups named in the report embracing the notion that human experiences can be improved when powered by apps and devices. No, they aren’t advocating for you to bring your smartphone to the bedroom, but rather claiming that customizable tech can heighten the senses or create new avenues for exploration.

Kissenger, for example, has a mobile app that lets you exchange a kiss over the Internet. Fleshlight and Lovense sell Bluetooth-connected vibrators. And CamasutraVR streams virtual versions of real-life porn stars.

VR is the future of couples therapy

VR, Cole says, is a the forefront of the sextech industry’s transformation and if used correctly, can bolster relationships.

“It’s a new way for couples or thruples, or whatever relationship you’re in, to bond,” Cole told TechCrunch. “The ability to empathize with another person is enriched in this context, which is great, especially for understanding a lover.”

VR can facilitate more meaningful interactions for couples in long-distance relationships. If used right, it can fill the “intimacy gap,” or the space between a couple’s shared happiness and an individual’s personal happiness that, when too big, leads to many couple’s demise. 

As a safe space for experimentation, two people can explore fantasies, engage with educational content and even visit a couple’s therapist in VR. 

The release of the report is hot off the heels of Future of Sex’s fourth sextech hackathon. In New York, the company asked participants to create tech-enabled solutions to reinvent sex education for teenage boys, among other prompts. 

Women in sextech

Future of Sex partnered with porn site YouPorn to co-host the event and asked hackers to come up with ways to leverage YouPorn’s content, which includes VR porn, to improve the sex lives of viewers. VR porn is not a new phenomenon and while it can allow for more personal sexual experiences, researchers have warned that blurring the line between the real and the virtual could lead to ethical issues. How, for example, do you give consent in VR?

Women, who are often exploited for the purposes of sexual entertainment, need to be at the table while this content and other sextech are in development. Fortunately, Cole says, women are entering the sextech community in droves.

“[It’s] exploding at the moment and more and more women entrepreneurs are having a go at building a company,” she said. “It’s Important to highlight why women are getting involved in sextech especially in the current climate of #MeToo.”

On stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF this year, Unbound, which makes fashion-forward vibrators and other sex toys for women, took home the second-place prize.

“Our dream at Unbound is for female sexual health to be viewed through the same lens as male sexuality — as a part of our overall health that deserves a conversation, platform, and shopping experience that doesn’t feel like a flaming pile of garbage,” Unbound founder Polly Rodriguez told TechCrunch’s John Biggs.

Rodriguez is a close friend of Cole’s — the community is still small — and she’s appeared on the Future of Sex podcast.

The podcast, hackathons and the 12-week accelerator program for sextech startups are part of Cole’s effort to expand the dialogue around VR & sextech, invite new voices into the movement and remove the stigma around having open and honest conversations about sex and intimacy.

“There has to be a way to invite more people into this conversation,” she said. “If we can normalize the conversation, we can raise the standards around talking about sex.”

Chinese dating app Momo sees record revenue growth thanks to live streaming

American dollars falling in the sky Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on TechNode, an editorial partner of TechCrunch based in China. Momo, China’s top location-based social networking app, has continued its impressive user growth from last year and added solid financial figures to back it up, according its most recent earnings report. The company, which was previously backed by Alibaba, went public… Read More

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Shut it down: Jesus is on Tinder now

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Jesus may be your lord and savior, but could he also be your next boyfriend? Just swipe right on his amazing Tinder profile to find out.

A dating app doesn’t seem like the most obvious place to find the son of God, but this is 2017. Anything can happen. And Jesus has recently been popping up on Tinder, where he displays his characteristic modesty by listing his profession as carpenter. 

He’s looking for love with both men and women. So if you’re into beards, draped robes and much older men — he’s listed as 21 but he reminds you in his profile that he’s actually several thousand years old — this could be a match made in, er, heaven. Read more…

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Tinder rival Paktor launches ‘Labs’ division to experiment with the future of social apps

bio-lab It turns out that Asian dating app Paktor’s quiet acquisition of Down was more than just a one night stand. The deal, which TechCrunch broke news of last week, was part of a number of acquisitions that has led to the creation of Paktor Labs, an experimental division that is led by Down founder Colin Hodge. Paktor, best known as a Tinder rival in Asia, has been pushing to diversify… Read More

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The League brings its picky dating app to Android

The League The League, the dating app known for its exclusivity, has now officially launched on Android. The company has been accused of elitism, though founder and CEO Amanda Bradford has said her vision is more about creating a service that welcomes ambitious women. The app still makes users apply to join, and it screens them based on their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, but it also redesigned… Read More

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