Right-swipes and flags that are red how young adults negotiate sex and security on dating apps

Right-swipes and flags that are red how young adults negotiate sex and security on dating apps


Professor of Media and correspondence, Faculty of wellness, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of tech

Connect professor in Media and Communications, Swinburne University of tech

Disclosure statement

Kath Albury receives funding through the Australian Research Council together with Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. The Safety danger and health on Dating Apps task is an ARC Linkage partnership with ACON health insurance and Family preparing NSW.

Anthony McCosker currently gets financing through the Australian Research Council, Department of personal Services, Department of Premier and Cabinet (VIC), Paul Ramsay Foundation, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.


Swinburne University of tech provides money as being a known user of this discussion AU.

The discussion UK gets funding from all of these organisations


Popular commentary on dating apps frequently associates their usage with “risky” intercourse, harassment and bad psychological state. But those who have utilized an app that is dating there’s so much more to it than that.

Our research that is new shows apps can enhance young people’s social connections, friendships and intimate relationships. However they can be a way to obtain frustration, exclusion and rejection.

Our research could be the very very very very first to ask app users of diverse genders and sexualities to share with you their experiences of software usage, security and wellbeing. The task combined a survey that is online interviews and imaginative workshops in metropolitan and local brand brand brand brand brand New Southern Wales with 18 to 35 12 months olds.

While dating apps were used to fulfill individuals for sex and relationships that are long-term these were more widely used to “relieve boredom” as well as for “chat”.

Typically the most popular apps used had been Tinder (among LGBTQ+ ladies, right gents and ladies), Grindr (LGBTQ+ males), okay Cupid (for non-binary individuals), and Bumble (right ladies).

Dating apps can be utilized to alleviate monotony as well as chat. Oleg Ivanov/Unsplash

We discovered that while software users recognised the potential risks of dating apps, additionally they had a selection of techniques to simply help them feel safer and handle their well-being – including negotiating permission and sex that is safe.

Secure intercourse and permission

Nearly all study individuals commonly used condoms for safe intercourse. Over 90% of straight women and men frequently employed condoms.

Simply over one-third of homosexual, bisexual and queer men frequently employed PreP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to stop HIV transmission.

Half (50.8%) of right people stated they never ever or seldom talked about sex that is safe prospective lovers on dating/hook-up apps. Around 70% of LGBTQ+ participants had those conversations to some degree.

Amber (22, bisexual, feminine, local) stated she had been “always one that has got to start an intercourse talk over messages”. She used chat to talk about exactly just just just just what she liked, to say her need for condom usage, to offer a merchant account of her very own intimate wellness, also to feel “safer”.

Some homosexual and bisexual men’s apps – such as Grindr and Scruff – enable some settlement around intimate health insurance and sexual methods inside the profile. Users can share HIV status, therapy regimes, and “date last tested”, in addition to saying their favored intimate activities.

Warning flag

Numerous individuals talked about their methods of reading a profile for “red flags”, or indicators that their real or psychological security might be in danger. Warning flag included not enough information, uncertain pictures, and profile text that suggested sexism, racism, as well as other qualities that are undesirable.

Security precautions

Meeting up, women, non-binary people and men who had sex with men described safety strategies that involved sharing their location with friends when it came to.

Ruby (29, bisexual, feminine, metropolitan) had a group that is online with buddies where they might share information on whom they certainly were ending up in, as well as others described telling feminine household members where they planned become.

Anna (29, lesbian, female, local) described an arrangement she had together with her buddies to get away from bad times:

If at any point We deliver them an email about sport, they already know that shit is certainly going down […] So if We deliver them an email like, “How could be the soccer going?” they know to phone me personally.

While all individuals described “ideal” security precautions, they failed to constantly follow them. Rachel (20, right, feminine, regional) installed an application for telling buddies whenever you expect you’ll be house, but then removed it.

We tell my buddies to simply get together in public places and even though We don’t follow that guideline.

Handling dissatisfaction

For a lot of individuals, dating apps supplied a place for pleasure, play, linking with community or fulfilling new individuals. For other people, app use might be stressful or aggravating.

Rebecca (23, lesbian, female, local) noted that apps:

absolutely can deliver somebody as a depression that is deep well as an ego boost. In the event that you’ve been in the application and had little to no matches or no success, you start to concern your self.

Henry (24, directly male, metropolitan) felt that numerous right men experienced apps as a place of “scarcity” in comparison to abundance that is“an of” for women.

Dating apps could be stressful and annoying. Kari Shea/Unsplash

Regina (35, right, feminine, regional) recommended that application users who felt unsuccessful had been very likely to keep this to by by by by by themselves, further increasing emotions of isolation:

I do believe when individuals are receiving a time that is hard the apps they truly are quite personal about this. They’ll just share with friends whom they understand are regular or present users and may reveal their use – even bordering on obsession with swiping – in a moment that is sensitive.

Individuals shared a selection of individual approaches for handling the stress connected with application usage including taking periods, deleting apps, turning off “push” notifications and restricting time allocated to apps.

Many individuals welcomed more awareness of apps among health care professionals and health that is public, they cautioned them against determining apps as “risky” spaces for intercourse and relationships.

As Jolene (27, queer, feminine, metropolitan) stated:

application dating is just element of regular dating life and consequently wellness advertising should completely incorporate it to their promotions, in the place of it be something niche or various.