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Mobile dating went mainstream about five years ago; by 2012 it was overtaking online dating.In February, one study reported there were nearly 100 million people—perhaps 50 million on Tinder alone—using their phones as a sort of all-day, every-day, handheld singles club, where they might find a sex partner as easily as they’d find a cheap flight to Florida.
Everyone is drinking, peering into their screens and swiping on the faces of strangers they may have sex with later that evening. “Ew, this guy has Dad bod,” a young woman says of a potential match, swiping left.
Hookup culture, which has been percolating for about a hundred years, has collided with dating apps, which have acted like a wayward meteor on the now dinosaur-like rituals of courtship.
“We are in uncharted territory” when it comes to Tinder et al., says Justin Garcia, a research scientist at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.
You see some pretty girl and you swipe and it’s, like, oh, she thinks you’re attractive too, so it’s really addicting, and you just find yourself mindlessly doing it.” “Sex has become so easy,” says John, 26, a marketing executive in New York.
“I can go on my phone right now and no doubt I can find someone I can have sex with this evening, probably before midnight.”And is this “good for women”?
Since the emergence of flappers and “moderns” in the 1920s, the debate about what is lost and gained for women in casual sex has been raging, and is raging still—particularly among women.
Some, like writer Hanna Rosin, see hookup culture as a boon: “The hookup culture is …and I just don’t.”“Dude, that’s not cool,” Alex chides in his warm way.“I always make a point of disclosing I’m not looking for anything serious.Dan and Marty, also Alex’s roommates in a shiny high-rise apartment building near Wall Street, can vouch for that. “She works at—” He says the name of a high-end art auction house. And yet a lack of an intimate knowledge of his potential sex partners never presents him with an obstacle to physical intimacy, Alex says.In fact, they can remember whom Alex has slept with in the past week more readily than he can.“Brittany, Morgan, Amber,” Marty says, counting on his fingers. Alex, his friends agree, is a Tinder King, a young man of such deft “text game”—“That’s the ability to actually convince someone to do something over text,” Marty explains—that he is able to entice young women into his bed on the basis of a few text exchanges, while letting them know up front he is not interested in having a relationship.“How does he ”But Marty, who prefers Hinge to Tinder (“Hinge is my thing”), is no slouch at “racking up girls.” He says he’s slept with 30 to 40 women in the last year: “I sort of play that I could be a boyfriend kind of guy,” in order to win them over, “but then they start wanting me to more …A lot of us try to hold on to things that might be more toxic or damaging to our psyche rather than just let it go especially when it comes to relationships.