Opinion Brief

Grindr: The new frontier of casual sex?

A wildly popular GPS-enabled iPhone app allows gay men to hone in on nearby hookups. Will a new heterosexual version take off, too?

It's being called the evolution of online dating: Grindr — an iPhone app originally designed to help gay males find sex partners using GPS-enabled technology — is going heterosexual, with a new version launching later this year. Grindr, which already has over 700,000 gay fans, makes hooking up convenient by "tantalizingly" listing potential mates by their distance (in feet) from the user's location. Will the straight Grindr, as some bloggers say, revolutionize casual sex the way online dating changed courtship? (Watch a profile about Grindr)

Grindr's impact could be profound: This sexual equivalent of ordering takeout will drastically "reconfigure the the landscape of human relationships," says Polly Vernon at The Guardian's Observer blog. Using Grindr offers an "intoxicating" rush on par with the first time I searched Google; it's clear it will "alter things on a profound level." This application is either "brilliant" or "disastrous," depending on who you talk to, but "either way, it matters."
"Grindr: A new sexual revolution?"

Grindr could open a Pandora's box of trouble: "Remember online dating? Gosh, that seems so last century," says Delia Lloyd at Politics Daily. But the "speed," "intensity," and free-loving fun of Grindr has a dark side: it "chips away at the norm and practice of monogamy," leaving users and their loved ones wide open to infidelity and the rapid spread of STDs. 
"Grindr iPhone app: GPS for the sex superhighway"

We need a gender revolution before a Grindr one: Grindr won't take off in the heterosexual market anytime soon, says Kate Baxter at Shiny Shiny, because, "rightly or wrongly," women and men will always be "poles apart" when it comes to sex. While a man's virile drive is perceived as "normal and fun-loving," women who advertise themselves for sex will be perceived as "easy, desperate, or both." Without a "level playing field" where both genders are seen as wielding equal power in the pursuit of sex, the "unfortunate old double standards" will continue to apply.
"Grindr goes mainstream — but what will it take to make it in the straight market?"

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