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.

menchd pic

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/

Why Dating Apps are Prevalent Among Gay Men

Dating applications on smart phones provide a great, convenient way for individuals to find a potential short-term or long-term mate. However, dating apps targeted towards gay men (e.g., Grindr, Jack’d, etc) seem to be used extremely often among gay men; it is difficult to find a single gay guy who has never used these apps. Why might gay men rely on these apps so heavily? There may be more than one reason:

The Difficultly Meeting Gay Men

First, I will mention the primary reason dating apps for gay men (like Grindr) were created: to help gay men locate and contact one another directly. Without Grindr (or the Internet for that matter), gay men would have a much greater difficulty meeting one another. Although many gay men can drive to their local gay bar to meet one another, gay men in smaller towns or areas of the country may not be able to do this as easily.

Let’s keep in mind one particular dating challenge that gay men uniquely face: a limit to their number of dating candidates compared to heterosexuals’ dating candidates. Because gay men make up a smaller portion of the population compared to straight males, it is much less likely for gay men to run into other gay men in person at other establishments (e.g., the grocery store). Additionally, because gay men must also determine whether an attractive guy is gay or straight, this also hinders their confidence to express interest. For example, imagine a gay man going down the aisle in a grocery store and seeing a man they find extremely attractive. The gay man could try to decipher whether the man is gay; however, considering that gay men are roughly 5-10% of the population, it is likely that this man plays on the other team.

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Grindr seems to alleviate these challenges for gay men. Not only are gay men able to view and select from a pool of gay men but they are also able to contact them directly. This seems to bypass the problem of 1) distinguishing gay from straight men, and 2) making gay men more accessible among the general population.

Talking to that Hot Guy

Another benefit that gay men take advantage of on dating apps is being able to talk to men that they otherwise would not in person. When a gay man sees a very attractive man on Grindr, they are likely to send him a message with no problem. However, this is not the case in person. If that same attractive guy appears in at gay bar, it is extremely unlikely that this man would be approached in person in a similar way that he is messaged on Grindr. This is most likely due to a confidence factor. Insecurities are likely not worried about on Grindr, whereas it might be a different ball game when meeting them in person.

Curiosity

Let’s face it – gay men (perhaps men in general) are curious individuals, especially when it comes to their potential dating opportunities. Some gay men can’t help but load Grindr to “see who is around” in places or cities where that they have never been before. Additionally, this curiosity may translate into desire for quick hook ups, especially when gay men are away from their hometown. Because many dating apps for gay men function based on proximity, gay men who desire more short-term flings than average could increase their number of sex partners rapidly. Indeed, recent research has suggested that app users may be more sexually active in general1.

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Dating Ambiguity

Another reason gay men may be less apt to delete applications like Grindr is these applications perpetuate a cycle of dating ambiguity. What do I mean? Well, when gay men end up going on dates with guys that they meet off Grindr, some gay men may worry whether the date went well or not. This anxiety may translate into gay men’s need to line up alternative dating candidates in case their current dating candidate doesn’t pan out. Because Grindr contains a plethora of alternatives for gay men to choose from, it isn’t surprising that gay men are tempted to keep using Grindr even after they go on a few dates with the same guy.

On average, it is hard to find a gay man who has never used a gay dating application like Grindr. Although many gay men pledge to delete Grindr at “some point,” these apps tend to be extremely pervasive in the gay community. The purpose of this post is not to insinuate that Grindr or any other dating application is “bad” – Grindr and other applications that allow gay men to meet one another have their positive qualities (e.g., networking, friendship, etc.). Regardless of the stigma associated with the application, some gay men may “need” to have a go-to source to contact other gay men.

References

1. Lehmiller, J.J., & loerger, M. (2014) Social Networking Smartphone Applications and Sexual Health Outcomes among Men Who Have Sex with Men. PLoS ONE, 9(1), e86603.