Casual Sex: There's an App for That

What Women Really Think
Feb. 2 2010 1:29 PM

Casual Sex: There's an App for That

Clark Harding's essay in the Daily Beast today calls attention to a most wondrous and entirely inevitable development in the world of virtual dating: a GPS based hook-up service. Grindr, as the smartphone app is called, is for gay men only (as of now, at least). Gone are the often-messy complications of Craigslist posts or dating sites: You download the app, create a profile, and upon login up pop the profiles of men seeking men, their distance away listed in feet. My friend has the app, and just by logging in at work once or twice he's discovered there are at least two other gay men in his office. Just from using the app with him, I've seen more abdominal "situations" in a 15-minute span then I have over the last five years.
Advertisement
The upside: It makes everything so easy. But as Harding points out, there's a potential downside to always being seen, and water-cooler awkwardness is the least of it:
The problem with casual sex with people in close proximity is that they never really go away. And though Grindr allows you to block profiles for various reasons (check out GuysIBlockedOnGrindr.com ), it doesn't change the fact that they are still 30 feet from you. It sounds shallow, but as I was quickly learning, being a few feet from someone isn't always a good thing.
If the virtual world has been good for anything besides the spread of grammatically disabled cat photos, it's been forging a new utilitarianism for sexual relations. There are already Web sites for casual hookups and forums for finding someone to play out your sexual fantasies. You don't have to take off your wedding ring at a hotel bar Don Draper-style to have an affair-you can just log on to AshleyMadison.com and find another, no-strings-attached, willing adulterer. When I was 16, a girl in my math class asked me what "blue balls" were. I thought it was an ice-cream brand. (I was thinking of Blue Bell, obvs.) Now teenagers outfitted with iPhones are hardly misinformed about anything anymore. This isn't wholly good, but it's definitely not wholly bad, either. There's going to be a Grindr-esque app for everyone sooner or later, and it's going to rock boatfuls of social-moral milieus. It's just inevitable.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

An Iranian Woman Was Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist. Can Activists Save Her?

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Women’s Sports Show

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now, at Least.

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 2:08 PM We Need to Talk: Terrible Name, Good Show
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Oct. 1 2014 1:53 PM Slate Superfest East How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 3:01 PM Netizen Report: Hong Kong Protests Trigger Surveillance and Social Media Censorship
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 2:36 PM Climate Science Is Settled Enough The Wall Street Journal’s fresh face of climate inaction.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.