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Words You Should Never Use on Your Adult Dating Profile. Besides “Married.”

Have you ever read through someone’s adult dating profile and cringed?

Er, let’s rephrase that: Have you ever read through someone’s adult dating profile?

Well, many people have. Probably. And they didn’t always like what they found. New research has analyzed nearly half a million profiles and the way they were engaged and found that there are definitely some dos and don’ts when it comes to the language you use on your profile. In addition to “Married,” “Sexual Predator,” and “BBW,” here are some profile descriptions that are scientifically (apparently) guaranteed to be turn-offs.

For Both Sexes

If you’re Shy, Happy, and Quiet, knock it off. Or at least keep it to yourself, which should be easy enough. These were among the top turn-offs when found in the dating site profiles of both men and women. What gives? People can’t be happy? And we like when people are quiet, especially women (we theorize); “Shy” we can understand. I guess a word that means “I’m Not Comfortable Talking to You” is probably not ideal on a dating profile. If you are shy, be shy about it. And if you’re Spiritual, be Modest about it, as both of those words are turn-offs when appearing on either gender’s profile. We get that: saying you’re modest is humble-bragging, pretty much the opposite of modesty. And being spiritual is great for you, but on a dating site profile it kind of reads “prudish.” If you’re a Good Listener shut up about it on your profile. There’s no such thing as a good listener: just people waiting for their turn to talk about themselves, and people trying to appear to be good listeners. But you probably shouldn’t put Great at talking about myself on your profile, either.

For the Man’s Profile

Avoid saying that you’re Trustworthy. It kind of sounds like you’ve had to defend yourself against accusations to the contrary. “I’m trustworthy, Margaret! I am!” It’s not very exciting, and at the Viewing Profiles on Adult Dating Sites stage of dating, trust hasn’t really begun to be a factor. “I just want to find someone trustworthy to chat semi-anonymously with and maybe never meet or speak to” said no one, ever. Energetic. That could go a couple of ways. Evokes an incontinent terrier, right off the bat; or someone trying to be energetic, or more energetic, or change rooms once per week, at least. Respectful. Redundantful. The dude who puts that on his profile was raised by a single mother and probably still lives with her. Same dude is also likely to describe himself as Kind, Sweet, Loyal, and Caring, which is a fine way to describe a golden retriever, if golden retrievers could be priests; hell, throw in energetic and you may as well be one of Robin Williams’ less successful characters. No one wants to date Patch Adams.

For the Woman’s Profile

We’re going to try to be gentle about this, because we like a woman with a little meat on her bones, but Curvy has become an overused euphemism and no one is really sure what it means anymore. Are we talking Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook,” or the oil-painting elephant from the YouTube video? It makes a difference. Christina Hendricks in “Mad Men:” Yes, please; the QE2, or a Chemex coffee brewer: No, thank you. See, Curvy just doesn’t cut it. As a word, we mean.

If a man knows what Articulate means, he knows what it means on an adult dating site profile: loquacious, voluble, garrulous, prolix. Verbose. We’re glad you can express yourself: do it with smaller words, please, we’re men. Rational. If you have to insist you’re this, bless your heart. Romantic is scary because men are lousy at being that. We’re sorry. Not everyone can be Pablo Neruda. For most of us, being romantic means rationalizing banging an articulate curvy girl to demonstrate how respectful, kind, sweet, loyal, and caring we are.

Dating Research

The research also yielded the words that do work on your adult dating profile, for both men and women.

Sexy. You should think of yourself as sexy. No curvy cop-outs. A lot of being sexy is under the surface, in your Confidence, not just in how Physically Fit you are. Profiles that included the words Sexy, Confident, and Physically Fit all yielded good responses and more matches. The word Honest plays as a more natural-sounding alternative to Trustworthy, as something someone takes pride in. It’s a rare commodity these days, and certainly something a user will look for, even if they’re going to start slow with just some innocent online chatting and sharing pictures of their sex organs. Perceptive scored well, although it seems like a kind of ambiguous term. We guess it’s encouraging to a potential match that if they send you a message, you’ll notice it. Passionate is probably the word you should be using in place of Energetic. They mean different things, but they have enough in common, and at least Passionate doesn’t evoke an auctioneer trying to tie two cats together on a conveyor belt in a hurricane. Humorous made the list, but that’s a double-edged sword: you had better deliver. The pressure’s on. If all you’ve got are corny pick-up lines, and fart jokes, delete the word Humorous from your profile. Along with Shy, Happy, Quiet, Spiritual, Modest, Curvy, and Respectful.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t ever use these words. What does empirical research and scientific data know? It’s a free country. What we’re saying is that the money you’re saving not going on dates can be spent on Jergens, and Kleenex.

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