Geosocial Dating Apps and the Romantic Lives of Young Gay and Bisexual Men
Arthur, Tim W.
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This study explores the role of geosocial dating applications in the romantic lives of young gay and bisexual men. Technology is rapidly changing the way individuals seek romantic and sexual partners. Due to social stigma surrounding homosexuality, virtual mediums have been popular among the LGBT community since their inception. Young gay and bisexual men are among the most likely to use virtual dating mediums. Ten one-on-one, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with participants ranging in age from twenty-three to twenty-nine years old. Using a quasi-inductive, grounded theory approach, transcripts of the interviews were analyzed and coded for relevant themes. Erving Goffman’s theories on the presentation of self, stigma, and the interaction order, combined with the conceptualization of dating apps as partner markets, provided the theoretical framework for data analysis and discussion. Findings suggest that geosocial dating apps offer users a mixed bag of benefits and challenges. Men are able to interact with one another while retaining control over the release of identifying information. However, the ability to withhold or mask personal details about themselves can also create interactional challenges and impediments to relationship formation and retention.