Mench’D: A New Long-Term Dating App for Gay Men

Many gay men know of the smart phone applications, Grindr, Jack’d, and Scruff. These apps are largely utilized to connect gay men for dating, networking, friends, friends with benefits, or just for hooking up. However, there is a new app on the gay dating market now: Mench’D. This up-and-coming app is unlike other popular gay dating apps because it focuses on establishing long-term relationships (LTRs) between gay men. While the other apps out there largely are used for short-term dating and casual sex, the goal of Mench’D is to establish more long-term relationship connections among gay men and to minimize the “quickie” culture of other apps.

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I was curious about this application, so I decided to give it a try. My first impression: I thought the app had some very good qualities. Similar to OkCupid, the app allows gay men to report important lifestyle information (e.g., whether you smoke, have children, want to get married, etc) used for general compatibility. Also, I like how the app has photo-upload categories. For example, the app encourages you to upload a “face” picture, a “body” picture, and “group” shots with friends. Unlike Grindr or Jack’d that allow 100% “body” shots or “headless torsos”, this app allows users to view more pieces of one’s life that aren’t inherently connected to sex. Along those same lines, the introductory video feature on Mench’D is great in my opinion because it allows gay men to showcase their personality rather than just their physical appearance.

I feel that this application is a step in the right direction for gay men looking for more than just sex or short-term dating. Granted, not all gay men are looking for a LTR, however not all gay men are looking for a quick fling either. Gay men who are more long-term oriented may benefit from this application because it allows them to connect based on similarity and personality in addition to physical attraction.

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Currently, the app does not have as many users compared to other mainstream dating applications. However, the good news is that this app is steadily growing. The CEO of Mench’D, Justin Maxx, is hopeful that the application will continue to expand its user base. Still curious about the goals and implications of the new app, I decided to interview Justin about Mench’D:

Q: Why do you think single gay men need Mench’D?

     Justin: I think our community needs a platform that encourages LTRs. Many gay men have vocalized shared frustrations over using Grindr and or other location-based gay “dating” apps. Mench’d is the first matchmaking app on the smartphone.

We think our community is finally realizing that we need a platform like this.

Q: What makes Mench’D different from other gay dating applications?

     Justin: Mench’D functions by utilizing a series of questions to determine one’s personality and compatibility level with other gay men looking for love in their area, pinpointing an exact percentage of compatibility. It’s sexy, simple, and we are growing constantly – a little over 800 users join monthly.

Q: In your opinion, what technical features about Mench’D makes it stand out to its users? I personally loved how there was a video component in addition to the pictures.

     Justin: The video feature is our newest feature, the users are loving it. It helps the guys know that they are talking to the same person who is in the profile picture. You get to hear the guys voice, watch him tell a joke or even just catch his smile.

We also host monthly events in a couple cities around the world. Our single and mingle events are growing every month.

Q: What implications do you think this app has for gay men’s dating patterns?

     Justin: I wanted to create a visually stunning platform, one that didn’t forget that we are still men. I wanted the users to feel like it was a quality service where they will find quality men. Our new update is coming out soon on android and app store. It’s going to be life changing.

Gay dating isn’t about scrolling through profiles that say “masc into masc”! Mench’D doesn’t forget that sex is a huge part of our worlds and is necessary to sustain a relationship but we don’t put that at the center of our mission. We allow our users to connect emotionally first and flirt later.There will always be something different about logging on to a platform that you know everyone on there is looking for the same thing. Love.

There are so many apps for “encounters” and one-night stands, and this is what I’ve focused on staying away from. The casualness is cool, but it doesn’t allow for a dating life. We all deserve to be loved sexually and emotionally and the truth is, it’s hard to find that! At the end of the day, we are all looking for a best friend and a life partner, and you can find this on Mench’d.

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For more information on Mench’D, please visit the official website: http://www.menchd.com/

Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man

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Recent research conducted by my colleagues and I have demonstrated that women receive good mating (sex) advice from gay men. However, I had no idea that I would see this phenomenon be performed LIVE! That’s right – a new off-Broadway comedy in New York City has their audience raving for more as a gay man provides straight women with smart SEX TIPS in order to score a sexy guy.

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This production is given “TWO WET THUMBS UP” by Out.com, and is also based on the best-selling book of the same title, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. In the play, a straight woman (Robyn) attempts to moderate a discussion of the book, but the gay man (Dan – author of the book) aims to entertain those in attendance with a fun, sex-tip seminar. Not only do the actors interact with one another, but audience members are also selected to participate on stage! Additionally, the hunky stage assistant, Stefan, is one piece of eye candy that neither straight women nor gay men would want to miss. According to the Sex Tips play, Stefan might be used for more than just moving heavy scenery as the actors dive into the interactive sex-tip seminar!

To me, this production looks like one of the most hilarious and entertaining plays I have come across, so I recommend seeing it LIVE while you still can! To all living in New York City or going to New York, I would get your tickets ASAP! Consider taking that special someone or your best friend. There is no possible way your night will be a bore. Visit their website at sextipsplay.com, and don’t forget to LIKE them on Facebook!

Click here for a special offer so you can receive up to $18.00 off your ticket! And keep an eye Gay-Straight Relationships’ Facebook (LIKE US if you haven’t yet!) as I will be giving away FREE tickets to the show – stay tuned!

 

 

Straight and Gay Athletes: A Changing Culture?

A couple of decades ago, many gay men would never have considered coming out as gay athletes. This has recently changed. In the past few years, many men in various types of sports have gathered up courage to come out to their coaches, team, and institution. A few of these men include Derek Schell, Matt Korman, and Jason Collins. Not only are these men receiving great encouragement from LGBT-supporters around the country, but they may also be receiving full support from their straight team members.  Although more anecdotal, I thought this short post could highlight some of the changes that occurring in the professional athletic culture.

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It has been very well documented in the previous literature that straight men have more negative attitudes towards gay men than do straight women1.  Gay men who perceive these negative attitudes from their straight teammates might have found it difficult to come out. However, now that gay men are feeling more comfortable with the idea of coming out to their fellow teammates, could it be possible that the attitudes of straight men are changing?

Many prominent straight athletes are now speaking out about the rejection that gay athletes have experienced by their team and management. In turn, team management and many straight team members have come out with full support for their gay male players. Even straight players who have uttered gay slurs have been reprimanded by sports management. An example of this was seen last month when NASCAR punished Nelson Piquet Jr. for uttering a gay slur via Instagram2. Piquet was fined $10,000 and ordered to attend sensitivity training for his action. Even though we would want such an action to be reprimanded, a gay slur wouldn’t even have been considered deleterious to other team members in the past.

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Athletes Derek Schell (left) and Matt Korman (right)

Granted, prejudice towards gay men still exists in the professional athletic world. Nonetheless, because of the recent positive press that gay athletes are receiving along with the positive support from their team, it is possible that negative attitudes towards gay men are slowly being extinguished.

Are you a straight man or a gay man on sports team? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

References

1. Herek, G. M. (1988). Heterosexuals’ attitudes towards lesbians and gay men: Correlates and gender differences. Journal of Sex Research, 25, 451-477.

2. http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2013/10/01/nelson-piquet-jr-joey-logano-fines-nationwide-nascar/2904977/

Housewives and their Gay…Handbags?

While the relationship between gay men and straight women can be viewed as positive, both gay men and straight women may have the potential to turn their relationship sour. Specifically, straight women have recently been criticized for treating their gay male friends as personal accessories. Many gay men have spoken out about this unfair treatment, saying that they would rather be treated as friends rather than personal stylists, make-up artists, or shopping gurus1. Even though this criticism has been targeted towards all women, it may be most relevant to the women who are under the watchful eyes of the media: wealthy women (e.g., the Real Housewives of XYZ).  Why do these rich, powerful women treat gay men as their accessories?

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Gay Men’s Perceived Skill. Although not all gay men may be regarded as having superb fashion or design sense, it is possible that these women generalize all gay men as possessing such knowledge. Because women generalize these specific skill sets to gay men, it isn’t surprising that women turn to gay men to assist them with enhancing their appearance or improving their home décor. There may be a few reasons why women generalize these skills to their gay male friends, but I will name one. Because the media embraces the stereotypical professions that some gay men pursue, women who are in the media spotlight may consider it to be commonplace to have a gay male friend who is a designer or hairdresser. Through witnessing gay men in these roles and professions (specifically on the Bravo channel), these women may perceive gay men to be valuable resources for themselves.

Heightened Competition. Not only are female celebrities are expected to look good while on camera, but they are constantly motivated to look top notch in front of their attractive female friends and their wealthy husbands. Because of this, these women may desire to have their outward appearance enhanced on a daily basis. Whether it be wearing the latest fashion trends or ensuring that their hair is flawless, these women constantly feel that they need to look their best. In order to achieve this goal, these women may rely on others to provide such assistance or advice. However, wealthy housewives don’t just consult anybody about beauty. Rarely do we see these women relying on other women to assist them in this respect. Rather, they mostly rely on gay men to take them shopping, do their hair, or put on their make-up. This is most likely due to the fact that women are in direct competition with other women for mating partners (especially in an environment where many women are in direct competition for wealthy, attractive men), thus these women may be less apt to trust other women with such duties. Gay men may be heavily relied upon because of their trustworthy opinion with regards to a woman’s dress or outward appearance2.

Here is an entertaining video to illustrate this phenomenon:

References:

  1. http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/college-student-takes-%E2%80%98gay-bff%E2%80%99-stereotype-amazing-speech080713
  2. Russell, E.M., DelPriore, D. J., Butterfield, M. E., & Hill, S. E. (2013). Friends with benefits, but without the sex: Straight women and gay men exchange trustworthy mating advice. Evolutionary Psychology, 11, 132-147.

Will and Grace Effect: Fact or Fiction?

To some level, the media has been blamed for portraying gay men and straight women in a stereotypical fashion. In popular television shows such as Will and Grace, gay men and women are characterized as friends who shop with one another, watch romantic comedies together, and spend countless hours talking about men. Even though there may be a handful of friendships like this, not all gay male and straight female friends feel they possess these characteristics. The fact that some gay men and straight women don’t identify with these characterizations makes the iconic relationship of Will and Grace appear extremely stereotypical.

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Although the Will and Grace relationship may not characterize every gay male-straight female relationship, it does not discredit the possibility that these relationships are built upon a similar dynamic. In general, gay men and straight women are able to share a harmonious relationship based upon their similar interests. However, many argue against this notion and claim that close relationships between gay men and straight women do not exist outside of popular television programs like Will and Grace. In fact, there is even an idea out there that Will and Grace may have begun the gay male-straight female friendship trend:

“The years of Will and Grace have likely influenced gay men and straight women to be best friends.” (Will and Grace Effect)

While this idea provides an alternative explanation that the media influences our perception of this relationship, it lacks the specific evidence to support a cause-and-effect relationship. It is implausible to say, for example, that Will and Grace has influenced the friendships between gay men and straight women that we observe today. In fact, there is more evidence to back up the opposing claim: close gay male-straight female relationships have existed long before these media influences. For instance, the close-knit relationship between gay men and straight women has been documented in literature dating back to the late 1970s1-3. Therefore, it is possible that these relationships originally inspired or gave rise to television programs like Will and Grace. In addition, this relationship is noted across cultures4. This indicates a minimal influence that Will and Grace or any other related television program has had on gay male-straight female friendship formation.

The relationships between gay men and straight women may not fully mimic the patterns and social dynamics observed in popular media. However, it is important to note that this relationship is not a complete result of the media and may be an everyday pattern of social interaction.

References:

1 Malone, J. (1980). Straight women/gay men: A special relationship. New York: Dial Press.

2 Nahas, R. & Turley, M. (1979). The new couple: Women and gay men. Seaview Books: New York.

3. Warren, C. A. (1976). Women among men: Females in the male homosexual community. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 5, 157-169.

4. Torre, B. A., Manalastas, E. J., Sese, D. G. A., & Catanghal, A. (2005). Fag hags in Filipino gay culture: Friendships, identities, and personality. Paper presented at “Sexualities, Genders, and Rights in Asia: The 1st International Conference of Asian Queer Studies” in Bangkok, Thailand.