Right-swipes and flags that are red 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 plus the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. The Safety danger and health on Dating Apps task is definitely an ARC Linkage partnership with ACON health insurance and Family preparing NSW.

Anthony McCosker currently gets capital 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 member associated with the Conversation AU.

The discussion UK receives funding from all of these organisations

Popular commentary on dating apps frequently associates their usage with “risky” intercourse, harassment and poor psychological state. But those who have utilized a dating app understands there’s a lot more to it than that.

Our brand new studies have shown dating 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 first to invite app users of diverse genders and sexualities to generally share their experiences of software usage, well-being and safety. The task combined a survey that is online interviews and innovative workshops in metropolitan and local brand New Southern Wales with 18 to 35 year olds.

While dating apps were used to satisfy individuals for sex and long-lasting relationships, these people were more widely used to “relieve boredom” as well as “chat”.

The most used apps utilized had been Tinder (among LGBTQ+ ladies, straight men and women), Grindr (LGBTQ+ guys), okay Cupid (for non-binary individuals), and Bumble (right females).

Dating apps are generally utilized to ease monotony go to my site as well as for talk. Oleg Ivanov/Unsplash

We discovered that while application users recognised the potential risks of dating apps, additionally they had a variety of techniques to greatly 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 right women and men commonly used condoms.

Simply over one-third of homosexual, bisexual and queer males commonly used PreP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to stop HIV transmission.

Half (50.8%) of right people stated they never ever or hardly ever 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 ended up being “always the one which needs to start a sex talk over messages”. She used chat to talk about exactly just exactly what she liked, to say her need for condom use, to offer a merchant account of her very own intimate wellness, and also to feel “safer”.

Some homosexual and men’s that are bisexual – such as Grindr and Scruff – provide for some settlement around intimate health insurance and intimate methods in the profile. Users can share HIV status, therapy regimes, and “date last tested”, along with saying their favored intimate activities.

Warning flag

Numerous individuals discussed their techniques of reading a profile for “red flags”, or indicators that their physical or psychological safety might be in danger. Warning flags included not enough information, not clear photos, and profile text that suggested sexism, racism, along with other unwelcome characteristics.

Confusing pictures could be a red banner on dating apps. Daria Nepriakhina/Unsplash

Apps that want a shared match before messaging (where both events swipe right) had been observed to filter down a great deal of undesirable discussion.

Numerous individuals felt that warning flag had been more prone to can be found in talk in the place of in individual pages. These included possessiveness and pushiness, or communications and images that have been too intimate, too early.

Charles (34, gay/queer, male, metropolitan), as an example, defined flags that are red:

nude pictures entirely unsolicited or even the very first message that we have away from you is five pictures of the cock. I might genuinely believe that’s a right up signal that you’re not planning to respect my boundaries … So I’m perhaps maybe perhaps not likely to have a way to say no for you whenever we meet in true to life.

Negotiating permission

Consent emerged as a concern that is key every area for the research. Individuals generally felt safer once they could actually clearly negotiate the sorts of intimate contact they desired – or didn’t want – with a partner that is prospective.

Of 382 study individuals, feminine participants (of most sexualities) had been 3.6 times more prone to would you like to see information that is app-based intimate permission than male individuals.

Amber, 22, suggested consent that is negotiating safe intercourse via talk:

It is a fun discussion. It doesn’t need to be sexting, it doesn’t need to be super sexy … We just desire it had been easier simply to talk about intercourse in a way that is non-sexual. The majority of the girls which are my buddies, they’re love, “it’s method too embarrassing, we don’t explore sex by having a guy”, not really whenever they’re making love.

Nonetheless, others worried that sexual negotiations in talk, as an example regarding the topic of STIs, could “ruin the moment” or foreclose permission choices, governing out of the possibility which they might alter their head.

Chelsea (19, bisexual, feminine, local) noted:

Have always been we going, “okay so at 12 o’clock we’re planning to repeat this” after which what if we don’t wish to?

Security precautions

With regards to came to meeting up, females, non-binary individuals and guys that has intercourse with males described safety strategies that involved sharing their location with buddies.

Ruby (29, bisexual, feminine, urban) had an on-line team talk with friends where they might share information on whom they certainly were ending up in, as well as others described telling feminine loved ones where they planned become.

Anna (29, lesbian, female, regional) described an arrangement she had together with her buddies so you can get away from bad times:

If at any point We deliver them a note about sport, they realize that shit is certainly going down … So if We deliver them a note like, “How may be the soccer going?” they know to call me personally.

While all individuals described “ideal” security precautions, they would not constantly follow them. Rachel (20, right, feminine, regional) installed an application for telling buddies once you expect you’ll be home, but then removed it.

We tell my buddies to simply get together in public places despite the fact that We don’t follow that guideline.

Handling frustration

For several individuals, dating apps supplied a place for pleasure, play, linking with community or fulfilling people that are new. For other people, app usage could possibly be stressful or irritating.

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

certainly can deliver somebody into a depression that is deep well as an ego boost. You begin to question yourself if you’ve been on the app and had little to no matches or no success.

Henry (24, straight male, metropolitan) felt that lots of right men experienced apps as an area of “scarcity” in comparison to “an abundance of choice” for women.

Dating apps is frustrating and stressful. Kari Shea/Unsplash

Leave a Comment