Love, Sex and Grindr

Posted by Michael Dale Kimmel in lgbt 04 Oct 2019

This column originated in questions that I’ve gotten from my clients, such as:

Is it true that too much Grindr or Scruff sex makes you numb?

Does Grindr encourage sex addiction?

My friend met his husband on Grindr: why can’t I?

Has Scruff replaced dating and going to bars?

Grindr, Scuff and similar apps let you look at pictures of other men and read how they describe who they are and what they want. I have used both apps and have had both terrific and not-so-terrific experiences. This seems typical, regardless of who you are. Yes, even the beautiful people have bad experiences on Grindr…or so I’m told.

Recently, on Scruff, a guy asked me, “What are you looking for today?” A very good question. Why do any of us use these apps? Are we lonely? Horny? Bored? Do we just want to “window shop” (as one client calls it) or do we want to find someone hot and get off? Do we want an emotional connection first (meet for coffee) or is it purely physical (just sex, with little to no emotion or conversation)?

Whatever you want to use these apps for is fine with me (yes, you have my official psychological stamp of approval). If you do, I recommend that you be clear about what you want and ask for it – directly and respectfully.

Years’ ago, I was a go-go boy in a popular gay club in Manhattan. I was very clear on why I was doing it: (1) money, (2) to reap the benefits of working out intensely, and (3) to give my self-esteem a boost. I didn’t last long, but I’m glad I had the experience. Similarly, I think Grindr and Scruff offer us a variety of experiences: we may have some great adventures, meet some great guys, and/or waste a lot of time in the chase (I hear that from clients too).

I’ve heard people say that Grindr and Scruff encourage sex addiction. Don’t be so naïve. Sex addiction has been a problem long before these apps existed. You can use the apps to deepen your sex addiction, or use them to talk with and meet interesting men. The apps work the same, how you use them is totally up to you.

Too much meaningless sex would make anyone feel a bit numb. If you don’t know the guy you’re with and don’t care about him, there’s little human connection there. If you’re just using someone to get off, be honest with yourself about that, but don’t expect it to leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy afterward.

I have a client who met his husband on Grindr, and his friends wonder: “Why can’t that happen to me?” Well, let’s look at the odds: I am not a statistician, but the likelihood of a Grindr-originated marriage are not in your favor. These two guys were not looking for a husband when they met on Grindr. They hooked up and had a lot of fun…so much fun that they wanted to get together again, and again. Eventually, it wasn’t just sex that they were enjoying. About a year later, they got married. And are still quite happily married in an open relationship that works well for both of them.

If you’re looking to get married, Grindr and Scruff may not be your best apps (Pete Buttigieg used Hinge). On the other hand, you never know!

Some people who are active on Grindr and Scruff rarely go out to bars anymore because they used to use bars to hook up. However, many people like going to bars for other reasons: to be social, relax and have a drink with interesting people, go somewhere where the bartender (and regulars) know your name.

People ask me, “Have hook-up apps made the concept of dating passé?” It seems like “hanging out” with someone seems to have replaced dating. Regardless of the verbiage, the idea is the same: spending time with someone and getting to know them.

Love, sex and Grindr are an interesting trio. While it’s true that you never know where you’ll find love (or sex), Grindr and its fellows are one more place to look. It’s great to have options. Use them wisely and see what (and you) you discover.