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There’s room for love even on mobile apps known for hook-ups

Reuters/Andrew Kelly
The best way to find your soulmate is never to look.
By Rachel Feltman
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Grindr is full of romantics. Though the app is known for facilitating gay hook-ups, a recent survey of 18,600 of Grindr’s 7 million users found that 45% of them were actually looking for dates and relationships. The app is based on location, encouraging users to meet up with their matches right away. To many, this feature is synonymous with casual hookups. But CEO and founder Joel Simkhai says that isn’t true, or at least not the whole story.

Superficial, yes, but still looking for love.

“Grindr is all about meeting as quickly as possible,” he told Quartz, “but that’s just the best way to find someone in general.” Endless messaging back and forth, he said, can be a waste of time if you have no chemistry at the first face-to-face. The community is definitely a sex-positive one: The survey also found that 40% of users have sex multiple times a week. But the promise of instant gratification doesn’t preclude love. “About half of our users are open to dating,” Simkhai said, but they’re not going to enter a meeting expecting their next boyfriend. “I think it’s a bit different from the straight community,” he said. “Certain women are looking specifically to settle down,” and dating websites often cater to that desire, allowing them to evaluate other users as potential longterm partners before ever meeting them. “I don’t think that quite applies for gay men. There’s no biological clock, and there’s not the same pressure to settle.” So even if men are looking for Mr. Right, Simkhai said, it’s his experience that they’re willing to keep an open mind—realizing that the stranger they’re meeting could be a one-night stand, new best friend, future partner, or forgettable first date.

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