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How Do You Feel About Using Gay Sex Apps?

Grindr mental health

The Grass Is Always Grindr, the first of a new three-part web series from 56 Dean Street, a sexual health and HIV clinic in London’s Soho district, focuses on the complexities of hooking up on Gay Sex Apps, and how doing so affects mental and sexual health.

Check it out above.

Body Conscious Gay Men's Health, Sex, and SelfSelf esteem, body image, disclosure, STDs, honesty, intimacy, and loneliness are all tackled in the first clip, in which a young man named Joe searches for sex online, eventually hooking up with a closeted boxer named Adam.

Right off, the clip tackles the process of improving one’s public persona in order to received the desired feedback, perhaps the most elemental aspect of online dating – marketing oneself on a supermarket of pecs and abs.

What’s going to increase the possibility of a sexual payoff?

In the clip, Joe edits his response to Adam’s query of “how are you feeling?” from the honest yet more ambiguous answer of “I’d like some company” to “horny lol.”

Said the series’ writer Patrick Cash to GSN:

“I think we’ve all been there, haven’t we? Writing something that you think is too honest or sad, and then re-editing to what you think is more sexually attractive. And in the case of Joe, all the stuff that he’s really feeling – he’s feeling lonely, he’d like some company – he can’t bring himself to express because he assumes the other guy won’t be interested in such a loser. So instead he edits it all to sex talk. It’s funny, I hope, but also there’s a bit of pathos as I think it mirrors some of our interactions in real life.”

Joe is successful and Adam comes over for sex.

Grindr mental health

It doesn’t always happen though, and that’s much of what drives the use of Gay Sex apps – the possibility of payoff.

They leverage a psychological concept called ‘variable ratio enforcement’ according to Jack Turban, a physician and medical writer at Harvard Medical School, who conducted an informal poll of Grindr users to find out “why they’re on the app so much and how it’s affecting their relationships and mental health.”

Writes Turban on Vox:

Variable ratio reinforcement is one of the most effective ways to reinforce behavior, and it makes stopping that behavior extremely difficult. Slot machines are a classic example. Because gamblers never know when the next payout will come, they can’t stop pulling the handle. They hold out hope that the next pull will give them the pleasurable sound of coins clanking against a metal bin, and they end up pulling for hours.

Now imagine a slot machine that rewards you with an orgasm at unpredictable intervals. This is potentially a powerful recipe for addiction and may explain why one user I spoke with stays on Grindr for up to 10 hours at a time, hoping to find the perfect partner for casual sex.

Turban’s study was non-scientific. He received around 50 responses after querying users on the app, and while not everyone on the app found it to be a negative experience – he spoke to a man who met his future husband on Grindr, and others who told him it hasn’t affected them negatively, but he said the majority of his research was somewhat troubling:

The users I interviewed told me that when they closed their phones and reflected on the shallow conversations and sexually explicit pictures they sent, they felt more depressed, more anxious, and even more isolated. Some experience overwhelming guilt following a sexual encounter in which no words are spoken. After the orgasm, the partner may walk out the door with little more than a “thanks.”

And yet they keep coming back for that temporary emotional relief. One user told me that he feels so bad after a hookup that he jumps right back on the app, continuing the cycle until he is so tired he falls asleep. Every once in a while, he deletes the app, but he finds himself downloading it the next time he feels rejected or alone.

Turban also cites a recent study by Time Well Spent, a nonprofit focused on the digital attention crisis, which revealed that 77 percent of Grindr users felt regret after using the app.

Time Well Spent

Turban thinks it’s time that we start thinking more about gay sex apps’ affect on our mental health, and for companies to be more proactive in thinking about how they affect mental health. Grindr recently began reminding users to get regular HIV tests. How do you think they could be more proactive about mental health and do you think they have a responsibility?

Also…

How do you feel about using gay sex apps? Do you feel regret after using them? What do you love about them?

Do you find them to be a negative or positive experience?

Do you think they keep you from forming lasting relationships? How do you feel like they affect gay social life in general?

Can you relate to the guys in the ‘Grass is Always Grindr’ video? Do you know how to date in person, or is your dating life always centered around casual hook-ups?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

The post How Do You Feel About Using Gay Sex Apps? appeared first on Towleroad.



This post first appeared on Towleroad - News With Homosexual Tendencies, please read the originial post: here

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How Do You Feel About Using Gay Sex Apps?

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