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.

grindr phone image

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.

Why are you still single?

Being a relationship consultant and lifecoach over the past seven years, I hear similar stories of men and women being left alone and deprived of love for numerous reasons. The newest on my “Why are you Still Single? A.k.a., Why are you Thirsty?” list: the Bitch Factor. It is a recent development or trend I’ve noticed, specifically amongst gay men. This is when your gay friend is such a judgmental and drama filled individual that they can’t even keep it to themselves – they must impose it upon other people (most notably like a few pop culture references: Perez Hilton, the cast of A*List Dallas & New York, or certain contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race).

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Over the past few years, many homosexual men have embraced the notion that, at times, it can be appropriate to embrace these unconventional social norms; most, even those not familiar with the culture, would deem this as inappropriate. But, in reality, it has always been inappropriate for your gay friend to act like this. Is it possible that this “bitch” factor would likely leave your straight female friends in the same “single and ready to mingle” party?  The answer is Yes.

Most suitors process their prospect’s friends, family, and living environment to get a better idea of who they are.  Within the strokes of a couple keys, you can learn the most intimate details of a person and their social circle by just knowing what to look for.  A woman’s closest friend’s attitude weighs heavy and, at times, can cause a person to lose interest. Why? Because you are the company you keep.  So for those men that embrace the “bitch factor” you are not only causing yourself to be single, but also you could be keeping your straight friends from finding a good mate. No one wants to deal with drama.

We all have basic interests: being loved, valued, and happy.  Don’t be the one with the “bitch factor” in your social circle.  Realize that you could be “winning” in all of your social circles if you left your “bitch factor” at the house.  Not only will it help you, but it could help your best pal in their relationships, as well.

Here are a few tips to keep you going down the right path:

1. Be comfortable – Most people are attracted to others that are comfortable in their own skin.  People more often cross paths with people that are insecure.  Don’t be ignored by your potential suitor, stand out!

2. Be confident – Be confident, not arrogant. Possessing this trait well get you noticed immediately but will also get you iced out if you don’t control yourself.

3. Have an opinion – No one ever wants just a “Yes” man.  Engage people often.

4. Be independent – Have your life on pace regardless of whom you come across. Why? Most people have people dependent on them personally or professionally. Don’t add more weight to their ship called “life”.

5. Be Open to Change, but offer stability – Ever heard the classic saying, “A house is not a home?” This is tricky but achievable.  We are all living an evolutionary lifestyle, but little things that never change are much appreciated.

6. Be the Company you want to keep – Negative people can be toxic. Not just for you, but for new relationships.

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My job is not to critic and spread negativity, it is to enhance and educate. As a relationship consultant, I cannot guarantee love or marriage, but I can ensure that I place individuals in a better position to receive love. If we all check our egos at the door, we have the ability to grow and evolve towards something greater. A man regardless of his sexual orientation should not be excused from good manners and a level of self-respect. Don’t jump off or burn the bridge, enhance and make it stronger so others may cross.

We thank Thomas for his guest post to Gay-Straight Relationships. Thomas Massaquoi is a life coach and relationship consultant in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. http://www.thomasmassaquoi.com/