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Having read in several places about skewed Male:Female sex ratios on online dating sites, i thought I’d do a little experiment and try counting them myself. I used Plenty Of Fish, which currently is the most widely used site. Since I can’t actually count every male and female site member and then calculate the male:female ratios and I don’t have access to the Plenty of Fish database, I decided to use a count of the members who are Online Now to estimate the male:female ratio. This is pretty easy to do with POF because it shows up clearly on the search result pages and when you do the search you just choose Sort by Last Visit and the everyone who’s Online Now comes up first in the results.

For the other search terms I used:

  • All Profiles (with or without picture)
  • For Anything (Dating, Long Term etc.)
  • All Ethnicities
  • Within 25 miles

The search was done using a central Toronto postal code and was done over four different evenings at slightly different times, all of which seemed to exhibit a pretty similar pattern.

As to the age splits I chose, they seem reasonable. Any choice of groupings is at least somewhat arbitrary and could probably be criticized, but short of doing a separate count for each and every age this seemed like a good choice.

The ratios ranged from a high of 3.43:1 (age 30-34) to a low of 0.86:1 (age 45-49), though varied from evening to evening for those age groups. Overall, the data for the different dates all show a similar pattern with the sex ratio most highly skewed in the late 20’s and early 30’s, being fairly even in the 40’s and then increasing a bit in the 50’s.

Here’s the actual data and graphs for the four data sets.

And finally here’s a table showing the data for all four evenings together and a chart of the male:female sex ratio by age group based on this data.

A short test of how many responses women get on internet dating sites. I had read in some discussions that women get tons of messages regardless of their profile, which seemed like a dubious claim to me.

So using Plenty of Fish as my test vehicle, I set up a female profile with an attractive but not risqué picture of a woman I had pulled off the internet. Age 40 and the written part of her profile was fairly conservative. The profile lasted for  11 days before it got deleted for some reason by POF. There really wasn’t anything obviously fake about the profile, like I said it was actually pretty conservative. I read all the messages but responded to none.

In the first two days there were a fair number of messages, but after that it declined rapidly, especially on days when I did not sign on under the ID (and the profile dropped back further in the search queue).  There were 15 and 14 messages the first two days after the profile was created, but there was a sharp drop after that. Had the profile lasted longer I’m not sure what would have happened.  Perhaps a steady low response rate or dropping even further with occasional zero days (though there isn’t much room to drop).

Maybe I’ll setup another one later and find out. But for now here’s a graph of the messages received over the life of the profile.

And another graph showing the responses on days when I had signed on and when I had not signed in. The red columns indicate signed on (1 is signed on that day, 0 is not signed on that day) and the blue columns represent the number of messages.

As to the quality of the messages, I guess that’s a somewhat subjective matter. My opinion was that they were generally pretty low. A lot of very simple messages like Hi!, but from speaking to some women who’ve used the site, if the simple message gets them to look at a strong profile it can work. There were a few that were very good and had quite thoughtful profiles, but I’ll just present the messages as they were received (subject line & body) and you can opine for yourself.

Day 1
1 Hi
hey, how are you today?
I would welcome an opportunity to share thoughts with you and it would indeed be a plus if you are feeling the same way too.

Catch you soon

3 ring ring
4 Hi
i’m interested in getting to know you .
would you like to chat and see where it go’s
5 Hi
Hi there, I was trying to chat on the site but was unsucessful. Let me know if you like my profile perhaps we can chat.


6 Hiya
I am intrigued by your profile and I think we have few things in common. How have you been? Have you been watching the WC?

Do you like to backpack as well?


7 hi
hi there
8 May we Dance?
Hi, I’ve read your profile several times, and you sound absolutely beautiful….. from deep within your soul. Second chances at first impressions are usually very hard to come by, so I will take my time writing this, and hopefully something will spark your interest in me, just as mine was when I saw and read your profile. i won’t like to loose contact with you if you are also interested in me,so i will advise you write me directly to my regular email address. I’ll be waiting to read a mail from you on :

really looking forward hearing from you…

Ernie.. 416-###-####

9 Hi there

How are you? Just wondering if you’d like to chat.

A little about me, I live and work in downtown Toronto and love it. I work in the investment industry dealing with institutional clients. How about you?

I love music (attended 10 concerts last year), golfing, travelling (got back from a week in Florida in March, was in Vancouver for the last weekend of the Olympics, was in Spain for 2 weeks in Oct and I just got back from Ireland and Scotland). I also enjoy trying new restaurants around the city and just hanging out with friends. I’m also pretty active and I participate in many different activities such as baseball, soccer, touch football and slo-pitch.

I’d love to hear more about you. Where did you grow up, what’s your favourite restaurant, and do you have any upcoming vacation plans?

I hope you’re doing well.


10 so well said!
Hi yohiki,

Less is indeed more in my eyes. I also place a firm belief in creating where we are headed, but we must learn from our history to aid in the process.
Safe to create this..”happiness is the perfect moment shared, doing what ever it may be, that evokes passion unconditionally”

It was nice to read an eloquent, intelligent profile.
Keep inspiring and being inspired…maybe even by my message!

cf aka Ralph

11 Hello
Interesting profile and nice picture I would like to learn more about you; let me know if you would like to talk.


12 Hi
hi yohiki,

i am wondering if that is your name…. I would love to get to know you; i live in Ajax, just 25 minutes from Toronto. My son, 13, lives with me full time. Hope to hear back from you,


13 Hi
I enjoyed your profile. Have a look at my profile. If you would like to chat please respond back to me. With the nice weather here it would be nice to spend it with a new friend. Hope to hear from you soon. My email address is


14 Hi
I would like to have a chance to learn more about you and listen to your goals and ideas. Do you mind?



15 i agree…
…. that the best way to predict the future is to create it, but sometimes the 3 sisters of fate throw us a curve ball. Most times our future does not only turn out the way we see it.

An introduction. I am a successful TV producer and screenwriter. I wrote and executive produced a large mini series for ### last year. We shot it all last summer in ####### so it was not all glamorous. One of the main themes was actions have consequences. The protagonist was also in a way his own antagonist, he kept getting in his own way.

I not only write but produce different projects. I work with the NHL on DVDs I just got back from Halifax where I was shooting a Fishing show called ########. Our host can’t catch fish which is becoming a major issue.

I like going to all differnt types of event. I’m going to Stratford this Friday see the opening night of THE TEMPEST with Christopher Plummer. I enjoy Leaf games, small plays, just about anything. I see you like opera and I went to my first this year. I saw Carmen in Feb and quite enjoyed. To me in many ways its seeing history played out in front of you. Do you go to many operas, are you a member of the COC?

I’ve take up more than enough of you time. I never know how to end these things which is embarrassing for a writer. IF you like to contact me feel free. If not, good luck in your search.


Day 2
1 Raffi
I am looking to find a special LADY that will complete me and be able to share all the rewards and defeats of life. To be a witness to all the laughs and tears along the way, and to know that anything can be accomplished if the desire to do so is there.

Do you think you would be the one?


2 On A Wednesday Morning
Good Morning, Yokihi-San:

Please allow me to say Hello.

I very much enjoyed reading your profile. It makes interesting and intuitive observations.

I particularly agree about the croquet.

Are the quotes yours or borrowed from favorite writers?

Hope your day goes well. Hopefully, we’ll chat more.

Are you cheering for anyone in particular at the World Cup?


– Alejandro

3 Hiya.
Croquet? That’s awesome! I didn’t think anyone played that game anymore. I’m up for it! 😉

So how has POF been treating you so far?

4 Hi
I like your profile,,
would you like to chat?

have a nice day

5 Hi
Hi its Domenic. How are you? any luck on this, Ok let see a little about me. I’m 6 feet, good shape, dark hair, dark eyes and Italian, I enjoy traveling,Sports working out, and going out for Dinner, if you like feel free and give me a call, I talk better than I type,(LOL) my number is (416)###-#### also if you like leave a contact number and I will give you a call. Ciao
6 Hi
Thought I’d message you to show my interest in your profile. I seem to be working from home for the week due to the G20 summit.

I am trying to prescribe to that last statement you made…
“need little, want less, love more” … but still working on it =)

Hope to hear from you. Otherwise, good luck out there..


7 ring ring
keeping busy?
8 Hi
please tell me your into black guys? love your look and i have pictures and more to say if so ??
9 Hello
looks like you are into wang culture…
10 pretty smile
how doing, you looks great, i would like to know more things about you, so i would like to meet you and share a cup of coffee under conversation, i hope to hear from you ..take care
11 Interesting!
I like your forwardness. I too think that talk is better than words.
Would you like to meet for a meal?
Talk to you soon,
12 Hi

I enjoyed reading your profile. It was more thoughtful than most.

It would be nice to learn more about you.


13 Hello
how are you to day? I’m Marco and originaly I’m from Italy, I living alone in North York in ##### st from ##### to #######., long time divorce and I’m 55 I looking for very long term relationship and more if we start real love, I like what you write in your profile and I like you in the photo. Please read my profile and if you interesting please send me message here, thank you
My photo here are recentely


14 Hi Yokihi
Hope you are having a nice week. Did you feel the earthquake today? I felt it. Our building downtown shook for about 20 seconds. Do you work downtown?


Day 3
1 lady
How are you??
Are you free to go for coffee?
Bye for now.
Stevie G
2 You
I’m an attractive 44 year old white man, single, 5’10”, honest, sincere, non-smoker, loving, caring. If interested please get back. Here is my picture below:
Take Care,


3 Hi

How are you doing?

Your profile caught my attention.

I’d like to start a conversation.

Hope to hear from you.

4 You
Are you interested in getting to know each other?


5 Hello

How are you?


Day 4 (no sign ons)
1 Hi there
I read your profile, would you like to talk?

Have a great time

2 Hello
How are you?

I’ve read your profile and I am interested in getting to know you.

My name is ####### I’ve been raised mainly in Canada, I was born in Portugal and I have in Canada since I was 8 years old. I work in Information Technology in the public sector. I am an easy going person that likes to have fun with friends and family. I just moved in to a new townhouse which is pretty exciting for me. I am pretty busy these days with my new place, work and going to the gym as often as I can. I like to be healthy and fit.

Well I think this info is good for now. Hope to hear from you.

Take Care,


Day 5 (no sign ons)
1 Hi
HI! Nice to meet you. May I ask what part of Toronto are you in ?
Thanks !
Day 6 (no sign ons)
1 Hello Princess
I supposed your choice of the name might have been influenced by the 1955 movie by Kenji Mizoguchi? There’s quite a bit of controversy in her character though; a servant girl groomed to be a princess, a family that caused havoc to the country. A beautiful movie none the less, I heard.

Summer in Toronto brings out the best of people, sweetened by summer light is quite appropriate. Of coure I am also thinking about the sweet tomatoes, strawberries, etc.

A Japanese woman working in the science/medical (or enforcement) field who enjoys arts, outdoor, movies and food, quite my type. Rifles is the mysterious piece though.

Sure enjoy your refreshing profile and the tiny photo with a cheerful smile.

2nd best

2 Hello
I enjoyed reading your profile. Perhaps you could take a look at mine and let me know if you’d like to talk more. Thanks.
Day 7
1 Good Morning and Hello
How are you doing this Morning?

Hope you are enjoying this summer
weather and a bit of rain.

I would love to chat and meet you, get to
know you and start from there.

Maybe go for a walk or a drink even a nice

Let’s see what this journey can bring us.

Hope to hear from you


2 Hi
nice cute picture
3 Hi/ ni hao
Steve from Markham would like to know you more 🙂 i am fit and athletic good looking guy with all my hair lol . I am sucessful bizness owner with 2 great kids . Drop me a note and i will return my pic to you and we can chat a bit . A great place to meet and talk and relax is Talk soon . Steve
4 Hi
You have a delightful smile–warm, natural, and engaging. Your profile is intriguing as well. Care to read mine and respond?


Day 8
1 Hi
Hi there nice profile hope to hear from you thanks M
2 Hi
hi, how are you..
3 Hi
Hi there , how are you ?
I Just read your profile and I thought I would say hi and if you have a chance to read my profile and would like to chat, just drop me a quick msg here .

Thank you

4 Hi, how are you today?
You have a lovely smile.
Have you ever taken a walk in Edwards Garden?
It’s lovely there.


Day 9
1 Hi Beautiful
your profile though short an sweet is rather concise
l like the way you think, an how you expressed yourself
don’t let my rough an gruff grizzly bear appearance scare you
l’m more of a teddy bear
oh l give great hugs
hope to hear from you
(sooner then later)
for now an till then
have fun play safe
2 hello
love your profile would love to chat and find out more about you so i hope to hera back


3 Hi
you look great, this link will show you some pics I have on facebook. If your interested to get to know each other better let’s chat on msn

hope to talk to you soon,


4 RE:hi
hello good afternoon how are u just dropping by to say hi i read your profile and find it very interesting u seem sincere in your words and i love your smile hi im fernando would u care to chat pls thank u
5 Hello
Hello how are you today, I wonder about one of your interests rifles could you tell me more about that? Its more I am curious I rarely see rifles mentioned in a woman’s profile.

Old movies, are we talking 1920 silent pictures or 1930 to 1950 etc. I have been collecting a few movies in my time : Cagney G-men is my most recent viewing pleasure.

I would be interested in a conversation sometime as some of the areas of interest would make for a good time together.

You refer to common values but I don’t see a belief system, I see a interest in personal growth and learning but I think that any mature person should accept that learning never ends and that life is change.

Well, I hope you write back.


Day 10 (no sign ons)
1 Hi
HI, HAppy Canada Day.. You are a Lovely lady with a nice profile.
All the best.
2 interesting
you list rifles as an so?
not everyone likes the ballet or opera.but what are some of your summer and winter activities?
Day 11
1 Hi
I like your profile and would be curious to know what values underly your interest in ballet and opera. RIFLES!! 🙂


2 hi im joe i have a pic on msn msg
wow you are beautiful hi im joseph im sorry i dont have a pic but i think we could hit it off hope to hear from the most beautiful on this site


3 Hi
I liked your profile so thought I would reach out and introduce myself. If you are interested and want to communicate to see if there may be some common interest, I would like to hear from you. Thanks.

I guess it really can be a lonely life.