How Teens use Grindr

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Anyone who’s used Grindr knows that it can be a better way to make friends than lovers. Sometimes hookups become friendships, once the masc4masc posturing is over and you realise a conversation might be more successful than fumbling around in the dark. Now, happily, a new study has confirmed what we already knew to be true.

The Journal of Adolescent Health took a survey of 200 sexually active teenage boys from ages 14 to 17, and found that more than 50% of them said they used Grindr and other hookup apps for more than just sex. This is despite the apps being 18+, which as we know, has never stopped anyone from looking at porn.

The study’s been seized upon as showing that Grindr and its ilk provide a sense of community for often closeted teens. “We found that teens in this study were super excited that somebody was paying attention with what was going on in their lives, and how these apps played a role in their sexual development and coming-out process,” Dr. Kathryn Macapagal told the Chicago Tribune when asked about the survey. “I was surprised we didn’t know this information when we started the study, but a lot of folks don’t do research on people under the age of 18, especially on LGBT teens under the age of 18, for a variety of reasons.”

While those polled reported greater risk of unprotected sex, they also had greater odds of getting tested for HIV and more engagement with sexual health services. “The sooner we understand the role these apps play in the lives of gay and bisexual teen guys, the sooner we will be able to tailor sex education and HIV prevention efforts for this population and help them live healthier lives” added Dr. Macapagal.

Grindr, obviously, released a predictably lame statement that will do nothing either to stem the tide of sexually active teens using dating apps, or reassure adults who worry about them. “Grindr does not condone illegal or improper behaviour and we are troubled that an underage person may have been using our app in violation of our terms of service. Grindr services are only available for adults.”

The sooner e know more about adolescent sexuality, the more we can do to help at risk teens find the safe spaces and access to the community they so obviously need and want.

Comments 11

  1. #1: duh. #2: the boy is gorgeous. #3: I’ve been hit up by many “18-year-old” guys who end up being 16 or 17. I tell them right away we aren’t gonna talk about sex, but I don’t mind giving them advice and someone to talk to who is an adult who went through what they went through.

  2. Sometimes friendship leads to sex, sometimes sex leads to friendship, when either leads to neither, it’s still all good. Young gay boys need a way to find each other while still preserving their discretion – an all-important consideration for many at that age, and for that matter, every age.

  3. This is an interesting parallel to what Playboy, Hustler [and others] were to [straight, generally] teens when I was those ages. We all found some of those magazines to look at from around 13 or so. How a society can “regulate” anyone over the age of 13 from looking at and experiencing [legally available] public porn and more, is totally stupid. Not just for boys, but girls as well. It’s so hypocritical to acknowledge (and teach in schools) that adolescent ages are for learning and the getting satisfaction of curiosities about everything around them ……… but tell them, and make laws against, they can’t learn or be curious about sex while their bodies are changing and everyone of them are becoming in their own way, sexual …… because that’s what humans are all about. It takes all of us a lot of years to get to the point of our biological purposes when we’re young with all kinds of “rehearsals” [erections for males, menstruations for girls as examples] and then make what comes naturally to them illegal is really unconscionable for any society to impose.

    Younger humans will always emulate what older humans do — that’s part of the human psyche. We drink alcohol in front of the younger, they want to drink some too when they finally get the urge. We smoke [various things] in front of the younger, they want to smoke some too when they finally get the urge. Not everyone, of course, but it’s so prevalent with adults, it’s only natural that younger ones will seek out and do whatever they can if they’re curious enough ……. and that includes sex as well — all kinds.

    It would make an interesting study [assuming they can get honest answers] to find out just how many “pure, straight” people engaged in [what’s considered to be] “homosexual sex” when they were under 18 ……… so that they could learn and practice the acts so they could be more “experienced” for their eventual loved one. Again, this would apply to girls as well as boys.

    1. QUOTE: It would make an interesting study [assuming they can get honest answers] to find out just how many “pure, straight” people engaged in [what’s considered to be] “homosexual sex” when they were under 18 ………

      I’ve seen estimates ranging as high as 80% of teenage boys have enjoyed homosexual sexperimentation with their friends and cousins. Seriously, who didn’t have a J/O buddy as a young teenager? Gay play certainly drops off for most as adolescence progresses to mid-teens and most boys get their first wet fingers, blowjobs, and actually getting laid.

      Teenage boys need to get off at least once and usually twice a day. When a couple of friends spend all day together, and then sleepover or camp out, sooner or later their ‘schedules’ are going to cross, and they have to take care of business. Every guy knows every guy duz it, so it’s no big thing to just do it together. And boy is that fun!

  4. I agree with the above replies. LGBTQ teens need an outlet, and many of the ones legally open to them are homophobic at best. I am not at all surprised by this study. My only concern is, are there police and homophobes pretending to be gay youth trying to entrap gay men?

  5. “We found that teens in this study were super excited that somebody was paying attention with what was going on in their lives.”

    This one single sentence neatly explains the emotionally barren emptiness that is modern society. So many teens I met here and elsewhere who just needed someone to fucking listen to them for a while.

  6. I got on Grindr as a joke. I mean I’m past the daddy type, I’m the granddaddy type at this point. I figured there wouldn’t be any interest, or if there was it would be from the prostidudes that infest the app.

    I was honest, put real pic, real stats, said I was looking for right now, in addition to relationship and friends. Next day got a couple of responses, then more and even more. 90% were from college age guys, I live a mile away from a campus of a large university.

    First meeting was in a dorm room, he had 3 roommates that he introduced me to before retiring to bedroom for 2 1/2 hours. That set the pattern, I haven’t been with anyone over 25, most have been 18-22.

    Now, I was at a local fast food place. Only person in there, 4 teenage boys come in. I knew at least one had to be 16 because they were driving. Cute as hell, all of them. Not sure if they heard that Grindr message arriving sound before they sat down but they sat down right in front of me. At the time I was having 5 different conversations and the phone was going berserk.

    I saw the tallest one smirk, talk to the others sotto voce, then they asked if I was really that good. I played dumb until the boy nearest me showed me his Grindr profile. Ended up going to one of their houses and it was great.

    Same thing happened at Denny’s restaurant, except two teen college students.

    If you’re looking for sex, Grindr is the place to go. No matter your age or your desires. I even went to my doctor and got Truvada just in case. Oh and to start I figured vers bottom would be best but there’s like 80% vers bottoms so I went to vers top and messages increased almost exponentially.

  7. Every time I come across someone underage, I offer to talk to them and give them advice.

    There used to be Trevorspace for gay teens. It’s died out, but when I was young it was nice to have a safe place to talk to people my age about more than just sex. We need something like that again.

    1. Sometime around 1999-2002 (rough guess from memory), there was a website (blog) called something like, “All About Sex” or something similar, that had a lot of young people (quite some time before serious trolling became “popular” — although I do think some were fake) write in with personal experiences as well as some serious questions — including some not-so-vague incestuous experiences. These were by gays, straights, bi’s, and some trans as well. The site took the questions seriously and answered most with thoughtful and very reasonable answers — with no homophobic attitudes.

      After about a year or so, it was closed down by authorities — simply because they “allowed” and answered many quite young persons’ accounts (some identified themselves between 12-15, in that range), be they experiences or just serious questions out of curiosity. The religious-right got involved somehow and worked [successfully] to get the site closed down by the local authorities. So much for honest education. The religious-right just couldn’t handle that young teens could and would identify themselves as anything resembling homosexuals.

  8. I’m on Grindr. Cornflake got it 100% correct.

    As someone who is older and all new to being gay at the same time, some of the younger guys have been magical for me- what’s going through their mind and what’s going through mine is much the same, even though there can be a big age difference.

    And I’m smart enough to know, show someone some kindness and it’s amazing what you might get in return!

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