UCT Students Talk Grindr and Gay Sex

What goes through the mind of a closeted pragmatic teacher? How do coming out gay teenagers find solace? Grindr is not only a sex dating app (and it is not a subsidiary of Tinder, it was actually there first), but it is also a safe haven for gay men to express themselves and find common ground. Or at least that is what some of my Capetonian homosexual peers agree on.

Firstly, if one doesn’t know how Grindr works (I mean it’s 2016, come on!) here are some quick instructions: register with an e-mail, create a cute profile, and off you go! Next, the home page will display a very wide range of horny interesting gay males that are currently located relatively close. I promise it is not that scary… sometimes.

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What happens next? Some are just looking for a quick hookup, while others say they are trying to find Mr. Right, who just needs to have piercing Jon Snow eyes and gleaming Ryan Gosling abs. But maybe, just maybe, one will run into a sharp 21 year old, who wants to discuss Slavoj Žižek‘s cultural studies; or an artsy 32 year old, who will be informed of everything there is to know about Xavier Dolan‘s filmography, and HIS gleamy eyes; or even a 25 year old Mexican student just looking for interesting people to interview for his blog.

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Oh, one cannot ignore the contradiction of present day technology: we spend more time online trying to interact with people through different apps, instead of actually meeting in person. It is not uncommon for Grindr users to entice or impress a potential date with intellectual words or by promising a unique adventure, but the truth is they are only looking for new material to finish yet another masturbating session. 

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Critically acclaimed TV show Queer as Folk once said gay men think of sex more frequently than straight. While this cannot be proved, there is certainly something embedded in gay culture that makes some men more sexually confident, like the closet ejaculated us them out with revved up testosterone and a pack of condoms.

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Grindr was launched in 2009, and now has over 6 million users across the world; but since then, a lot more options have surfaced. From one that intuitively remembers what kind of men the user likes, to another that allows a customised public and private album. Nobody ever said one’s options would be limited.

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Take a look at some diverse conversations I found myself having while journalistically surfing the app. Needless to say, all of the screenshots were taken by me, and my responses are highlighted in yellow (clearly not in blue!). I’m guilty of leading some of them on; but hey, I am not exposing their identities.

One of them said he treats Grindr like Facebook, just another social network to explore…

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…and another one eagerly shared his type of guy…

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…but it’s very real, some of them live a dangerous lie.

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This one dropped the inevitable hint of masturbation…

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…but most of them will get straight to the point and show their goods.

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And a few already have their favourite public spots figured out!

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For some, Grindr is just a growing up phase, a sexual awakening experimentation tool. For others, it may be the exact opposite, a way of making up for lost experiences and turning over a new leaf. Safe to assume, it is an app that has engrained itself in the gay community, whether some like it or not.

I had the pleasure (and fun!) of interviewing fellow UCT students and mates who would rather remain anonymous, for reasons we all should definitely examine (like I said, it’s 2016), but that is material for another post. Check out what they have to say regarding this controversial app.

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