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Eight years ago this month, hookup apps came out of the closet and started a sexual revolution that changed the world. When Grindr burst on the scene in Marchonline cruising leapt from laptop computers to the palm of your hand. If you believe the hype, gay romance died with the very first download. True, hookup websites were long part of gay culture, ranging from s AOL chatrooms to Gay. But Grindr gamified the thrill of the hunt in real time and real space with geosourcing networking.
Now your next big thing could be as close as 10 feet away. Grindr eliminated all the awkwardness and pretense of first dates, as well as all the chasing and waiting of closing time hookups. Shopping for sexual partners quickly became as easy as shopping for any other consumer product. Gay men slowly mastered the art of being multipresent: navigating an above-the-line existence in the real world, while simultaneously exploring a below-the-line existence in a stigma-free, sex-positive world of brutally honest browsing.
Since the days of hankie codes and tearoom trades, hookup culture has always been part of gay identity.
So why were hookup apps such a big deal? It meant semi-anonymous sex was no longer dirty, scary or shameful. Looking for love online has been normalized. Social historians believe that apps like Grindr have finally liberated LGBTQ youth from the internalized homophobia that haunted past generations. Hookups were once the alternative to serious dating.
I suspect that underneath that need for newness is the old idea that the grass is always greener elsewhere. I also know that the ever-present temptation of newness is more than some relationships can handle. Hookup apps have been blamed for promiscuity, sexual addiction, increased sexually transmitted infections, and the spread of HIV. Surprisingly, Grindr and Scruff might be doing a better job of inspiring HIV prevention through PrEP pre-exposure prophylaxis awareness than government health agencies.
Grindr has actually been a leading advocate for PrEP sinceand regularly broadcasts safe sex messaging to its users. In a recent Grindr for Equality survey, 26 percent of participating Grindr users were already taking PrEP and another 56 percent were interested in taking it in the future. Ninety percent had been following the recommended daily dosage since the time of prescription. Is it any wonder that one-third of the gay bars in America have closed since Grindr launched in ?
Grindr was only the beginning. Her, the lesbian version of Grindr, arrived in Hookup apps have definitely inspired new levels of sexual curiosity, flexibility and exploration. Keeping kosher? Looking for a threesome? More specifically, looking for a bisexual threesome? Searching for someone in the kink community?
Want to find someone who hates the same things you do? Only interested in smart people? Serious about sci-fi lovers? Trek Passions. Like bearded men? ing the Mile High Club on your next flight? There are definitely some human anthropology lessons emerging here, as social technologies are creating entirely new social behaviors. Surrounded by game-players, fakers, flakers, lurkers and stalkers, it can be very difficult to believe in true love.
App culture can sometimes seem very dehumanizing. Spoofing, the latest Grindr trend, might be the strangest yet. Imagine finding out that someone had used your social media s to create a fake, and very aggressive Grindr profile for you.
Imagine having Grindr refuse to remove the counterfeit profile until you sued for defamation. This recently happened to a New York actor, who found himself besieged by over sex-seeking men before his ordeal was over. We should also consider how many LGBTQ and questioning youth began exploring and expressing their sexuality online first. Although Grindr requires all users to confirm they are age 18 or older, most app-related sex crimes involve older men connecting with minors. A quick Google search brings up dozens of these sordid stories, as well as one especially curious turnabout.
Last year, Grindr and Tinder were linked to over violent crimes in the United Kingdom alone. Dating app crimes saw a percent increase in two years, compared to crimes involving Facebook 21 percent or Twitter 19 percent. Even in Milwaukee, missing persons stories often involve someone being suspiciously separated from their friends after receiving a message on their phone, only to never be seen again. Given our increasingly volatile political landscape, it should surprise nobody that Grindr is being weaponized as a voice of resistance.
Dating apps have become a complex world of looking into an abyss and knowing the abyss is looking right back into you. And you never know when you might be tempted to look. You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Learn more. If you are an existing member, -in to leave a comment. Have questions? Need to report an error?. Today. Press Releases. More New Faces. Take the next step, become a member. Ditch theget free stuff. Tired of seeing banner on Urban Milwaukee? Become a Member - Member. By Michail Takach - Mar 14th, pm.
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The Rise of Hookup Apps