WORDS BY: Anthony Gilét
There was a time, like many gay men, that the only time I’d meet up with guys was through the radical digi app that told men where the nearest other men who liked men were. And it not only made afternoon quickies the new first date and group chem sex the new one night stand, but it also made fear of rejection something of the past. Hiding behind the photo a city landscape made approaching strangers with deviant sexual requests so simple.
It’s safe to say that the introduction of these apps revolutionised the way we see dating and sex; whether that was for the better or for the worse is something that is frequently up for debate.
Those highlighting the negative impact would say “we’ve swapped dinner and a movie for orgies and a Tina pipe,” while those supporting their relevance would say that they “encourage sexual freedom and bring the gay community together to safely indulge in their pleasures – and that those who abuse it (and their health) are responsible for their own actions.”
Well, Grindr like other compulsive activities, such as fast food and drinking, can be fine in moderation but when abused becomes unhealthy. Albeit, stuffing yourself with a Big Mac isn’t quite the same as stuffing yourself with an 8-inch cock, and nor is guzzling Tequila quite the same as guzzling bodily fluids. So what does it say about our society when an intelligent 23 year-old can’t get a date or a fling, other than via his mobile phone?
Does it say more about ones individual character, or more about a minority groups reaction to the development of technology? This might seem somewhat over-analytical, but while that is your lifestyle it’s not something you’ll really think about.
So when does it change and when do we living app-free ever after? For some people relatively soon after the first five minute fumble with a personality-free 6-pack, for others, never. But the fact of the matter is, it usually has to be a self-realisation. Which, in some cases will only happen when you’ve fully come to terms with the fact that promiscuity is about as glamorous as a Jeremy Kyle DNA test.
It might come after a couple of months attending the odd drug-fuelled sex party, experiencing the occasional surface of shameful sex photos, a few semi-awkward run-ins with couples whose names you can’t remember, or perhaps a hard-hitting conversation from a good friend. A conversation which brings to light how problematic such a lifestyle is; not only to your health but to your reputation; and what obstacles this could cause for you in the future of finding a worthwhile relationship.
So you decide that noshing off more players than the England rugby squad every Friday morning after Gravity isn’t quite your scene, and you simply just stop going to them because you’ve realised what a state the messes that do it for years are in. But you keep your Grindr because sometimes you meet another seemingly suitable guy willing to go on a date, or the rare hungover hook up with the slightly above average looking guy. But what you begin to notice is that you use it less and less because even those occasional shags just don’t live up to your expectations, usually because when somebody has a body full of plant chemicals they don’t perform as well as they could.
That, and there’s something unsatisfying about hopping two stops on the overground to a stranger’s council flat on a Sunday morning for the sake of a facial. Let’s face it, unless he’s Channing Tatum, an orgasm just isn’t worth that much effort. So because this means you’re becoming less forthcoming with who you sleep with, (the Grindr freaks anyway), you begin getting to know people a little more before having sex.
And because as humans, and in particular, gay men – we have a natural urge for sexual satisfaction, it makes us subconsciously start to look harder; it makes us confident and more flirtatious. As a result, you give off better vibes, are more attractive and meet more men in the real world.
Now, the real world ain’t no paradise either, you’ll still make mistakes and have crap shags with basic boys (especially while drugs and alcohol are involved), but at least you didn’t go in more or less completely blind. And once you realise how great it feels to make a connection with someone before ragging each other’s brains out, as opposed to building a sexual chemistry based on ingesting alloy cleaner and one good torso shot, the apps become about as relevant as Jessica Simpson.