“Daddy looking for son.” “Furry bear looking for cub.” “Submissive looking for dominant.” These are just a few of the jarring messages you might see if you open the gay dating app Grindr. Oh, and stay on the app for more than a few minutes, and you’ll likely get sent some unsolicited pictures of male genitalia as well.
I’m a gay, agnostic libertarian, but if I spend too much time on Grindr, the most popular dating app for gay men, I start to think that social conservatives might have a few things right.
For example, basic social values like monogamy and sexual modesty are in large part absent among gay people, while open relationships, three-member “throuples,” and all sorts of unorthodox romantic arrangements are common. A typical scroll through Grindr will earn you invitations to “group sessions,” and you’ll likely encounter several profiles that bear the image of a couple seeking a third.
Go to a gay club with your boyfriend, and you may be approached by other men seeking to join a threesome. Meanwhile, anonymous encounters and late-night hookups are the norm in gay culture, while actual dates and long-term relationships are often an anomaly.
The result of this promiscuity? Nearly 60 percent of American gay men in relationships cheat, while 50 percent of British gays admit to infidelity. Only 10 percent of LGBT people are married, and while that may be partially influenced by the fact that same-sex marriage was only recently legalized in some states, it’s undeniable that many gay people have no interest or success in establishing long-term relationships, let alone starting families.
That’s sad. Studies show that marriage greatly increases lifetime happiness, and many of those gains are also present for long-term relationships. Married people are also healthier, less likely to get heart disease, and more likely to survive cancer. They save money on taxes, insurance, and countless other expenses. Oh, and on average, a married person’s net worth outweighs that of a single person by 77 percent.
Gay people need to take a cue from social conservatives, because what we’re doing now just isn’t working. One mental health expert from Yale dared to be a tad politically incorrect in his evaluation of Grindr culture: “It causes a lot of distress.” As it turns out, rampant sexual promiscuity isn’t good for your physical or mental health.
A survey from HumaneTech found that most Grindr users spent an hour on the app daily, but 77 percent reported feeling unhappy or dissatisfied after its use. It’s not hard to see why. Shallow sexual encounters don’t make anyone feel good in the long-run.
Many gay men report feeling more anxious or depressed after using the app for anonymous hookups. Wouldn’t you feel worse about yourself after sending naked pictures to a stranger, or meeting someone at midnight for a hookup? These behaviors aren’t exclusive to gay people, but they’re undoubtedly more common.
Yet unfortunately, the company behind Grindr isn’t interested in addressing these issues. They’d rather pander to political correctness instead. Grindr recently revealed a “Kindr” initiative, where they will attempt to “fight sexual racism,” by which they mean racial dating preferences. This is clearly an exercise in absurdity. In the absence of ill intention, racial dating preferences are no more racist than preferring men to women is sexist.
Grindr also wants to fight “body shaming” and other alleged offenses. If only the company was as concerned about combatting rampant sexual immorality as they are about punishing people who find physical fitness attractive.
In the face of such nonsense, it’s clear that some of the basic principles behind social conservatism could help gay people. But there’s also no shortage of LGBT-related issues where social conservatives are dead wrong. They’re right to sing the praises of monogamy and celebrate marriage, especially as marriage so closely correlates to financial and social stability—yet they’re wrong on both constitutional and moral grounds when they want to exclude same-sex couples from such an important institution, or otherwise seek to stimigatize homosexuality.
One Slate report found overwhelmingly that when societal acceptance of homosexuality increases, so does monogamy within the gay community. If conservatives really to want to pass their values onto LGBT people, which could be beneficial, they’ll do so much more successfully with an open hand than with a closed mind.
I won’t be declaring myself a devotee of Mike Pence or donating to the Family Research Council anytime soon, but gay men like me can learn a thing or two from the social conservatives we’re so quick to dismiss.