The rise of technology has shaped how sexual interactions take place today in a culture where we are connected 24/7. Although it may be difficult to read the tone in texts and emails, emojis can bridge the gap, leading to better sex, dates, and even marriage, according to Match.com’s recent dating survey.

With a whopping 40 million Americans using online dating services, it’s no surprise emojis have become such a fixture in the way we communicate, and in the flirting and courtship process. Online dating is largely text-based, which is good, but it leaves us unable to read things like tone or body language when talking to a potential date. However, emojis can help mediate physical absence by giving us a clue into the person and their personality.

In its fifth year, the Match.com survey led by Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University, analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of over 5,600 single Americans regarding their use of emojis and romantic encounters and desires. Based on the results, it seems emojis could evolve to be the digital aphrodisiac for Singles in America. Fifty-four percent of singles who communicate with emojis have more sex than the 31 percent of singles who just use words.

“[Emoji users] want to give their texts more personality. … They don’t just have more sex, they go on more dates and they are two times more likely to want to get married,” Fisher told Time magazine. Sixty-two percent of single emoji users admit to wanting to get married. In contrast, only 30 percent of singles who don’t use them want to tie the knot. This pattern was found to hold true for people of all ages, from their 20s to 40s, all over the country.

Emoji use does vary when it comes to gender. The data revealed women were more likely to use the basic, happy smiley face and kissing-lips emoji than men. Men tend to favor the kissing face and heart eyes more than women. Furthermore, a woman who uses kiss-related emojis is found to have an easier time achieving orgasms with a familiar partner. This may be tied to the belief emoji users care more about finding partners who see communication as a desirable trait. The most popular emojis used by singles include the “wink” face followed by the “smile” and the “kiss.”

In a world that is naturally text-based, online users are striving to personalize their profiles, including avatars. A 2014 study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found an online avatar can reveal a lot about someone's personality. For example, outgoing and sociable people tended to create avatars that communicate their personality, whereas neurotic participants created more obscure avatars, and agreeable participants created avatars that could elicit friendship from others.

Digital contexts may activate the desire for us to be more expressive than we normally would be in a real-world context because of the comfort of “hiding” behind a device. We are able to create a virtual persona through avatars or emojis to make the dating game easier to play. Of course, it’s best to establish boundaries before you take your emoji game to the next level by sending the infamous “eggplant” or “cat” emoji.

Source: Fong, K., Mar, R.A. What Does My Avatar Say About Me?: Inferring Personality From Avatars. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2014.