Despite that stigma, in recent years Tinder and online dating websites like Ok Cupid have become increasingly popular among upper- and middle-class Egyptians looking to find anything from hookups and sex to dates to new acquaintances in Cairo, Egypt’s chaotic capital of over 20 million people.For the far fewer Egyptian women than men on these sites, however, secrecy is also part of the game: Most women interviewed requested anonymity because they feared for their reputations if family, friends, or colleagues knew they dated or met partners online.
Internet and smartphone access have been steadily rising since the 2011 Egyptian revolution, which enabled new spaces to challenge social and gender standards, and the 2013 military coup, after which political activism of any kind has become increasingly restricted.
All the while, the country’s economic problems have made it increasingly hard for young men to afford traditional rites of marriage.
Cairo, Egypt – When one graduate of Egypt’s prestigious American University of Cairo (AUC) recently became engaged, she told her parents in southern Egypt that she met her fiancée through mutual friends.
The truth: they met after both swiping right on a dating app.
They also reported being flooded with matches and responses.
For the now-engaged AUC graduate, her foray into Tinder began in 2015, when she and two other AUC friends started using tinder together as “a support group” when they were bored.
“I am not pro this [dating apps and websites] if it’s not about serious commitment to marriage,” the well-known Egyptian sexologist and TV show host Heba Kotb, who is popular for her conservative, though sometimes controversial, opinions on sex and religion, told Vocativ.
Kotb, who is also a Professor of Psychology at American University of Cairo, is rare in Egypt for her TV show that openly answers viewers questions on sex, including her views that homosexuality and masturbation are wrong.
“Some guys were like all over you, which is not okay.” She and her now fiancé casually dated, including sex, for about six months before they began formally dating and then got engaged after a year.
Another friend in the circle, however, felt less satisfied with her dates, casual sex, and few relationships through Tinder.
Many young Egyptians now have secret boy and girl friends through Facebook and Whatsapp.