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Are Hookup App Users Looking for Sex or Love?

Are todays Grindr users online to find love or sex

Are hookup apps only good for finding sex partners, or can you still find love? Survey says —


Behind every Grindr message there is a smidgen of hope that perhaps this time it could turn into something deeper (no, not that kind of deeper). I’m talking about those rare instances when love finds us in unexpected ways, and the sex morphs into a different kind of attachment — one with strings.

In the good old days, chat rooms were a space for anonymous messaging. I remember having multiple conversations with different guys from all over the world. In fact, I thought I was in love with one throughout high school: “StarBottom4.” Now he was a looker.

Today, hookup apps offer more than a safe space. By their very nature, they require instant gratification, giving us sex at our convenience, allowing us to misplace our morals for an hour or two so that we’ll make a delivery for a guy two blocks away who’s freshly showered and ready for anything. Is there room for love in this kind of hookup culture?

According to a survey from, 24 percent of guys use hookup apps solely for the purpose of hooking up, while 10 percent are looking for dates or relationships, and 45 percent say they prefer a date but would hookup if it feels right.

Out of the 4,000 men surveyed, 71 percent claimed to have started a relationship through hookup apps. Still, were these guys consciously looking for love or did it happen by fate? Turns out, honesty can be wishy washy when it comes to not only being forthright about what you’re looking for, but also to disclosing your status.

37 percent of HIV-negative users say they were more likely to initiate contact if a poz user says their status on their profile, showing that 57 percent of HIV-negative men discriminate against out poz users. 43 percent of poz users actually do disclose their status on their profile, while 31 percent of HIV-positive users choose to disclose their status before meeting up, and 10 percent choose not to disclose until they’re asked.

Last year for World AIDS Day, Grindr came out with a survey in partnership with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Gilead's science team. It revealed that nearly 26 percent of its users are on PrEP, while 56 percent claim to be interested in taking it in the future.

Virtual sex was all about anonymity, but it doesn’t encourage bringing sex to your doorstep unless you want it to. I’m not saying we don’t have a choice on Grindr — we do — but has there been a visible shift in how we view sex and love because of personalized apps? Has it diminished our capacity to love?

Never having had a serious relationship, I’m going to have to take people at their word when they say love exists outside of a profile image.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for progressing technology, but has culture become a victim of its own success?

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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David Artavia