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Comment: The dark side of gay dating sites

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  1. I agree people sending explicit pics before even a face pic (sometimes as a first greeting) is annoying and arrogant. How are you supposed to police something like that without restricting sending explicit pictures altogether, which I think is restricting and unnecessary.

    The truth is if explicit pics don’t interest you just block them or mention it on your profile. Grindr/gaydar is there to be used however you wish to use it, the responsibility is yours an yours alone

    1. Spanner1960 21 Feb 2013, 7:47am

      People sending explicit pics before even a face pic basically means “I am a total prick.”

      1. or it means, I actually think my dick is more attractive than my face and haven’t gotten anywhere on men finding me attractive so I’ve lost my self-confidence

  2. when I was younger, we went to gay pubs, spoke an entire evening with somebody and than might ended up with each other. Quite frankly that what you wrote is basically something all youngster have these days to consider, doesn´t matter if gay or straight. Since social Networks it might be easier to meet people but one misses ot on beeing with somebody in person. Of course the hole thing coul have happen alos by meeting somebody in a pub

  3. This seems to me to be the telling line:
    “Whilst sex should be fun and experimentation should be promoted in order that we can all have fulfilling and liberated sexual lives, simply using each other as receptacles for penises totally negates the emotional and psychological aspects of healthy sexuality.”

    Who’s to say what’s fulfilling and liberated? Or, for that matter, the emotional and psychological aspects of healthy sexuality?

    There is a really important point about young gay people being vulnerable in there, but it’s all bound up with one man telling us his idea of what a healthy sex life is.

  4. Staircase2 20 Feb 2013, 5:04pm

    Good article but it didn’t mention the way that sites like Grindr and Gaydar are fundamentally changing the way that gay men are interacting with each other.

    As mentioned by Martin above, the way that men met new people until VERY recently was in real life; pubs and clubs etc.

    The Internet has only been used by most people for about 8 years yet people act as if it was ever thus…

    I don’t like Grindr at all. I never liked the concept, seeing it as the bastard son of Gaydar and cottaging; turning every street corner into a potential sex encounter. This is of course highly addictive.

    I do now have a Grindr account but I find that almost everyone on it (certainly in London) has been affected by the addictive nature of it. This means they are dismissive of people who contact them if they don’t have a personal sexual interest in them. It’s as if they only see the guys on there in terms of real life virtual porn, to be switched on and off as their libido dictates.

  5. Staircase2 20 Feb 2013, 5:12pm

    As Martin quite rightly said, this isn’t only true of gay websites but affects ALL younger people.

    They are losing the ability to deal socially with others which is actually very troubling.

    Unlike Christopher though, I don’t believe for a second that meeting people on the net is any more ‘dangerous’ than it is meeting them in real life.

    Yes there are issues to do with ‘getting to know someone’ beforehand but that was just as true if you met someone in a pub, club or, certainly, a cruise ground.

    The answer is to develop ground rules for ourselves before arranging to physically meet people.

    Mine are 1) photos, 2) chat, leading to 3) telephone conversation (it’s supposing how many men will not engage with someone on the phone – which in itself is indicative that they’re withholding something)

    If someone isn’t willing to engage with me on those three basic levels then I wouldn’t arrange to meet them.

    1. Staircase2 20 Feb 2013, 5:13pm

      That should say ‘surprising’ not ‘supposing’…

    2. “They are losing the ability to deal socially with others which is actually very troubling.” What is your evidence for this?

    3. I do find it interesting how you put a photo before chatting.

    4. I would tend not to give my telephone number out until I had already met him. I don’t like people having my number until I know they’re okay. Not engaging on the phone is not necessarily indicative that someone is withholding something.

  6. There are so many problems with this piece. As others have said, it’s a single individual promoting his own views on sexual morality, without any clarity from Pink News as to what qualifies him to do so. The only evidence offered is anecdotal. It pays lip-service to the founding ideas of 1960s sexual liberation – ” sex should be fun and experimentation should be promoted in order that we can all have fulfilling and liberated sexual lives” – it makes most of its points by promoting the kind of frightened sexual moralism which a Tabloid editor or a maiden aunt might promote: don’t go into the net, men want to rape you there!!!
    The line that gives away the author’s hypocrisy is “not to say that anonymous sex is inherently wrong…” when of course it’s clear the author does indeed think it inherently very wrong indeed.

    1. Absolutely. I found the original article very prudish and extremely moralistic. I don’t go to pubs to meet people as I’d much rather my sexual partner was sober. I’ve used gaydar and lots of other sites for about 12 years, met a ‘large’ number of guys. I seek sexual intimacy not just sex and I’ve found lots of that. I’ve never felt threatened or intimidated in any way. I might choose well those that I meet and usually determine their worth over several messages and asking of relevant questions. I’ve never been raped (or raped anyone for that matter) so I find the article scare mungering as well as inacurate and moralising. I live in the country so gay sites like these are very important to guys like me in making contact with like minded guys after a bit of fun, and if someone special comes along that’s even better. I fully support these sites and what they can do for many people, young and old, who would otherwise never have the courage to make contact with anyone.

  7. Suddenly Last Bummer 20 Feb 2013, 7:01pm

    Oh do shut up Halton. Just cause you balk at a picture of a c0ck despite having a Grindr account TWICE it doesn’t mean the rest of us are potential rapists. I abhor the judgmental way in which some gay guys like Halton seem to think that the rest of us who use Grindr or Gaydar are in some way sleazy or sexually aggressive. Does he go to vegetarian restaurants and then bitch that there isn’t steak on the menu. Its called f**king, there’s nothing wrong with it and if you have a prob with online dating or hook ups then stick to meeting guys in pubs. Sheesh. Is he trying to convince us he’s the Virgin Mary of the gay community.

    1. That anyone, including Halton, believes the “My latest foray is the last one I will make” schtick is astonishing. He’ll be back on Grindr within three months.

  8. “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Albert Einstein

    1. True. And that is the point of it.

  9. Endless, anonymous sex is definitely damaging to your mental and emotional well-being in the long run. It’s great when you’re in your teens and early twenties, but ultimately, we need a deeper emotional connection with the men we have sex with.

    1. Richard Sunderland 20 Feb 2013, 7:54pm

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with anonymous sex, gay or straight, so long as it happens betweeen consenting adults on the basis of equality.

      I personally find Christopher’s arguments deeply disturbing. Claiming that young gay men are “making themselves vunerable”, or are so damaged that they view themselves as “sex objects”, as with the similar and all to frequent arguments about young women, which as a straight man, I seem to hear all to often, seems to reinforce the idea that the blame for sexual violence lies with the victim’s behaviour, rather than the perpetrator’s, much like saying that women who dress ‘provocatively’ or have a history of multiple partners, are “asking for it”. Put the blame where it lies, on those men who use dating sites to committ sexual offences.

    2. Suddenly Last Bummer 20 Feb 2013, 9:27pm

      Utter boll0cks Richard. I’m assuming you’ve had a number of lean years in terms of meeting guys and hook ups, don’t begrudge or condemn the rest of us who like having sex. I’d like to know where you get your psychiatric reports on the mental health of people who have had lots of sex? Are you also the type of guy who would call a woman who has had lots of partners a slut?

      1. Suddenly Last Bummer 20 Feb 2013, 9:29pm

        The above to Richard, not Richard Sunderland

      2. You’re perfectly entitled to you opinion – as I am mine. The old “you only think that because you can’t get laid” argument is tired and boring.

        I wouldn’t call anyone a slut for having lots of casual sex, my point is that in the end it doesn’t have a positive effect on you emotionally.

        1. Suddenly Last Bummer 20 Feb 2013, 10:36pm

          What you fail to see is that there are some people who don’t want connections based on emotions, they want and need physical fulfillment only. There’s nothing wrong with that in your opinion or is there?!

          1. To me that person is already emotionally damaged. Let’s agree to disagree. Be happy.

          2. Suddenly Last Bummer 21 Feb 2013, 12:37am

            Wow, how f—king sanctimonious are you? And what is your view of people who decide to live alone or remain celibate? Are they in some way emotionally damaged? I’d be a lot happier as you recommend if creeps like you took your patronising school marmy attitude and shoved it where you refuse to let a c0ck go. Gimp.

          3. Spanner1960 21 Feb 2013, 8:08am

            @SLB: As somebody that had plenty of casual sex and now lives alone and celibate, I can personally say I think he is right.

            I could have had numerous relationships but I turned against them, and I think a great part of that is due to simply shagging about and not placing any value on sex or relationships. The problem is when a real one comes along, you fail to recognise it and treat it just like any other quick shag.

  10. NorthernIrishGuest 20 Feb 2013, 9:13pm

    I think this makes great points regarding all the dangers. However, could you please do a companion piece to this about the dangers facing women too. As many people are aware, there is no Lesbian/bisexual equivalent of Grindr – simply because it would put queer women in severe risk – it highlights the dangers posed by men. While I understand gay/bisexual men are also at risk, the sheer fact that women can not have a similar website directly shows the higher vulnerability of women.

    So again, I’m not saying gay/bisexual men are safe, but that Pink News needs to highlight the dangers faced by women too.

    1. Spanner1960 21 Feb 2013, 8:05am

      “As many people are aware, there is no Lesbian/bisexual equivalent of Grindr – simply because it would put queer women in severe risk.”

      What complete claptrap.
      Women don’t want hook-ups and casual sex, they want relationships.
      It is an entirely different set of criteria.

      As Billy Crystal once said,
      “women need a reason to have sex, men just need a place.”

      1. NorthernIrishGuest 21 Feb 2013, 6:35pm

        If you happened to look into lesbian Scenes you would see that women want anonymous hook ups too – perhaps not in the same extravagance – but to say that women don’t want casual sex is completely wrong. While women do tend to “settle down” quicker than male counterparts, we still enjoy casual sex and flings. However, my point is that the article should have also commented on the dangers facing lesbian and bisexual women – not on the general sex drive (which by the way, is fairly high.)

  11. Annie Burroughs 20 Feb 2013, 11:26pm

    What a ridiculous article. You say “The problem is that by doing so, these young men are making themselves incredibly vulnerable to exploitation, sexual abuse and even rape. They are risking both their physical and mental health”…
    Well of course they are – the whole homosexual lifestyle is all about damaging your physical and mental health.

    1. Christopher in Canada 21 Feb 2013, 12:29am

      You are so right! I’m going to leave my boyfriend right now, and the football team, change my clothes wash my face, talk str8 and marry you! Thank you so much for pointing out the error of my ways!!

      I do hope you are up to some experimentation in bed, as I’m concerned the limits of your anatomy will severely hamper my joy over the long term!

  12. A great article in my opinion (though I see others disagree!).

    The main thing that stood out to me in the article is the low self-esteem commonly experienced by young gay men, though I’d say it is common amongst gay people of all ages. It was as much of a factor in the days before the internet, when pubs and clubs where the only opportunity to meet other gay people. A person with low self-esteem has always been sexually and emotionally vulnerable. The difference now is that it is much easier for that vulnerability to be taken advantage of, whether intentionally or not, via the internet; however, the internet has literally opened up the world to gay people who previously could have been very isolated.

    Self-esteem, or more precisely the lack of it, is the key issue in my opinion regarding a person’s safety if using gay ‘dating’ websites. It empowers a person to be in control as to when they want to be sexually intimate and with whom …. (cont’d.)

    1. …. and not to feel compelled do anything they feel uncomfortable with. Christopher is correct to conclude that “As a society, it is time we provided adequate sex education that includes everyone so that all gay men learn how to respect both themselves and each other”. The education system in general is woefully inadequate for young gay people – it doesn’t equip them with the self-esteem required for adulthood. The lack of it can have profound effects, being a factor responsible for the high rate of mental illness plaguing many for possibly a lifetime.

  13. Wow, Chris Halton sounds a real fun date (NOT)!

    In his own words: neurotic and uptight.

    Grow a pair, mate!

  14. Spanner1960 21 Feb 2013, 8:00am

    As somebody that was using the internet way before most, and also as a means of hooking up via IRC chatrooms, it’s not as if this article is any revelation.

    I probably had way more sexual partners than most in my day because of this, and since internet and now mobile apps have taken over I imagine everyone is finding more casual sex.

    The gay scene has been in decline for some time now mainly because it primarily acted as a cruising ground for gay men; now alternative means have been found, it means we no longer have to stand around in dark bars all night spending fortunes on drink only to go home alone.

    For me personally, so much sex finally became unfulfilling and ultimately rather boring, and in the end put me off the entire concept of dating and meeting people because it just ended up going through the same old motions. I haven’t had sex in years, I can’t be bothered with relationships as I find gay men shallow and sex-obsessed.

    Just be careful you don’t fall into the same trap.

    1. Perhaps the problem is you are a sociopath and also self contradictory?

      You say you find gay men shallow and self obsessed yet trumpet the fact you used the internet for meeting men before the rest of us cottoned on to it.

      And you had more sexual partners than most, is that not sex obsessed?

      1. That’s Spanner for you!

      2. Spanner1960 21 Feb 2013, 11:11pm

        I agree, I was caught in the same web, it’s just I cottoned on to the web before most others, and yes, I was obsessed with sex. My comment was intended as a cautionary tale. I am not contradictory as my attitude has totally reversed and the gay scene is full of people like I used to be.

        Oh, and I’m not sociopathic. I just hate everybody. :)

  15. I have major problems with dating sites, in general, not just LGBT ones. The idea of meeting up with someone you’ve never met before is just incredibly worrying to me.

    I know this specific article is aimed more at men, but I’ve been on gay dating sites and found out the “woman” I’ve been talking to is a man. Before anyone thinks I’m being remotely transphobic, I do mean a male bodied, male identified straight man. It’s manipulation and it’s scary. If I had decided to meet up with them – well, it could have ended very badly. Not least because I don’t like being lied to.

    I’d much rather start a relationship face to face, and actually truly get to know them before becoming physical. However, in this day and age the idea of “courting” seems archaic and more so in many areas of the gay community. I think, for now, I’m still more at home in the Kink community where most LGBTs are accepted simply as part of the community as a whole, rather than a subsection.

    1. Spanner1960 21 Feb 2013, 11:14pm

      “The idea of meeting up with someone you’ve never met before is just incredibly worrying to me.”

      Eh? come again?
      Anybody you meet has to have a first time, otherwise you would never meet anybody at all.

      1. I don’t think it’s safe to meet up with someone you’ve never met in the flesh yet you’ve shared a great deal with, including photos. Who’s to say they will actually be the person you thought they’d be.

        And if you’re stupid enough to meet up with someone you’ve spoken to online for sex, then really, if you get hurt it’s your own damn fault.

  16. Alex Hornby 22 Feb 2013, 3:20pm

    Anyone going on Grindr and expecting to be asked out for coffee is naive. The author has a strange attitude that anyone who enjoys sex and lots of it is damaged. I would conversely suggest that those frightened of sex are also damaged, maybe more so, as sex is a natural instinct.

    I’m always at pains to understand what gay sex education in schools would consist of.

    Gay sex is entirely recreational and doesn’t belong on a syllabus, as doesn’t teaching straight students the joys of sleeping around. Prepping young males and females on reproduction (or avoidance of) is the priority in schools under the banner of biology. The dangers of sexually transmitted infection, applicable to both the hetero and homosexual worlds, can be covered concurrently and understood by all.

    Discussing your sex life has and always will be the domian of the friends and confidentes, of the trial and error, of learning by mistake and of developing into the person you want to be.

    1. well straight sex education is about the use of condoms to prevent pregnancies … very much telling them it is ok to sleep around, the bit they do leave out is the other need for condoms – sexual diseases, they do not tell people that just because shes on the pill you should still use condoms. The same can be done for LGBT students – telling them the various methods of contraception.

      For too many lgbt people they are not prepared for the first time they have sex, they haven’t understood about the full use of contraception, and they learn through porn – which glorifies more risky practices (again a lot without contraception).

  17. “More pertinently, the most vulnerable individuals on these sites, the young, inexperienced men who really need positive sexual role-models are being taught that in order to receive the attention and intimacy they crave, they must allow themselves to be used as sex objects. Unfortunately, many of these young men do just that, and acquire for themselves a sex education which dictates that submission, relinquishment of power and subserviently allowing yourself to be used sexually are the modes by which you can most expediently access affection, however fleeting and ephemeral it may be.”

    sadly, this exact phenomenon has impacted generations of american hetero women, as well, myself included. it’s not just a gaydar/grindr thing, it’s a human thing that only comprehensive sex ed and compassion can fix.

    1. We need consent education in our schools, as well as safe sex talks that aren’t strictly heteronormative. For ALL our kid’s sakes, LGBT and straight.

  18. The article is based on a particular view of how a relationship shoud work. The author tries not come across as too “conservative” but fails to consider how our understandings of sex and relationships are affected by our culture, history, experiences etc. Rape happens quite regularly in committed, monogamous relationships. Does this make them wrong or suggest we should be wary of them? The gay press continues to pump out this stuff as if it’s new or news. It isn’t. It’s simplistic journalism.

  19. Hi to all

    Just slightly off topic, one of the other negative aspects of internet hook-ups is the number of guys already in (open) relationships trawling the sites for sex and not being open and up front about their relationship status.
    It’s deceitful, deceptive and more common than we realize

    1. It’s only dishonest if they are not clear that they want No Strings. If they are clear that they want only No Strings meets, then their relationship status is irrelevant.

      1. Not necessarily.

        Many of us prefer not to sleep/have sex with partnered guys. For me it’s a case of refusing to be used by someone who wants to have their cake and eat it too. I don’t believe in open relationships and I don’t particularly want to participate in one as a third party.

        On that basis, ‘no strings attached’ isn’t enough information.

        If it’s ‘no strings attached’ simply because he doesn’t want a relationship (even though he is single) it’s a different thing.

  20. David Skinner 23 Feb 2013, 11:45pm

    Indeed who is to judge what is morally wrong or right? Just as long as the partners are consenting and getting enjoyment why should anyone complain? There people who willingly engage in sado – masochism, necrophilia, and paedophilia. Even animals can express their acceptance or rejection of a sexual encounter with a human. I thought that Peter Tatchell said, “There are no borders or boundaries when it comes to Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender human rights. No nationality, no culture, no belief system can stand in the way of the historic quest for LGBT freedom.”
    You either want that absolute freedom or you don’t . Which is it?

    1. Somehow I don’t think Peter Tatchell was referring to beastiality, paedophilia and necrophilia.

      LGBT freedom is not about these things.

    2. What could be more masochistic than slave worshipping a celestial dictator for whom one would only do a right action to avoid eternal punishment, and who could convict you of thought crime at any moment, and after this life is over one can expect to live in a North Korea-like state of eternal praise? Break your mind-manacles, David.

    3. How can a corpse “willingly engage” in sex? Children cannot consent to sexual relations you ignoramus. Who is to judge what is morally wrong or right? In the case of necrophilia and paedophilia, the parents of the children and the relatives of the deceased for a start. God the utter twaddle some people write.

  21. Frank Boulton 24 Feb 2013, 1:17am

    I agree about the horrors to which gay dating services subject their clients. Alternatives are possible. I prefer to use a dating site for all (gay, straight, bi, trans) here in New Zealand. Profiles may not contain nude photos, let alone just penises. It’s friendlier towards older people and less risky for the young and inexperienced. Duing your first couple of messages to each other, your not allowed to exchange anything that looks like and email address or telephone number. It reduces but does not eliminate those who crave instant, anonymous sex. It’s worth checking out the mainstream dating sites to see if they cater for gays, lesbians and bis.

  22. Well done for getting a debate going, Christopher. I absolutely agree that the role schools play in educating young people on sex, relationships and families, and on dealing with self-esteem, is essential. Unfortunately, the religious lobby have driven a coach and horses through equality legislation, and have freedom to teach sexuality according to their ‘ethos’ in many schools. This is child abuse in my opinion.
    I would argue against enforcing moderation though. If folks wish to send photos of their junk, one can always block, ( I am told).
    A cure for all this nonsense would be to get out more, appreciate the world around you. Buy a telescope, visit a library, find a good book…. life is only 1000 months long.

  23. Oh here we go again!!! The Gay community ISN’T just men you know!!!

    Don’t gay women date? Don’t gay women use such dating sites?

    Pink News stop aiming all your stories at JUST the male end of the gay community please it’s getting boring!!!

  24. And whilst I am at it…who sourced the picture? Those hands belong to a woman!!!

    Ye gods they can’t even get that right *rolls eyes*

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