Right-swipes and warning flag – how teenagers negotiate sex and security on dating apps

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Right-swipes and warning flag – how teenagers negotiate sex and security on dating apps


Professor of Media and correspondence, Faculty of wellness, Arts and Design, Swinburne University of tech

Connect professor in Media and Communications, Swinburne University of tech

Disclosure statement

Kath Albury receives funding through the Australian Research Council plus the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. The Safety danger and health on Dating Apps task is definitely an ARC Linkage partnership with ACON health insurance and Family preparing NSW.

Anthony McCosker currently receives financing through the Australian Research Council, Department of personal Services, Department of Premier and Cabinet (VIC), Paul Ramsay Foundation, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.


Swinburne University of tech provides capital being member associated with the discussion AU.

The discussion UK gets funding from the organisations

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Popular commentary on dating apps frequently associates their usage with “risky” intercourse, harassment and bad psychological state. But those who have utilized an app that is dating there’s a whole lot more to it than that.

Our research that is new shows apps can enhance young people’s social connections, friendships and intimate relationships. Nonetheless they can be a supply of frustration, exclusion and rejection.

Our research could be the very very first to ask app users of diverse genders and sexualities to fairly share their experiences of application usage, well-being and safety. The project combined a paid survey with interviews and imaginative workshops in metropolitan and regional brand brand New Southern Wales with 18 to 35 12 months olds.

While dating apps were used to satisfy individuals for intercourse and long-lasting relationships, these people were more widely used to “relieve boredom” and for “chat”.

The most used apps used had been Tinder (among LGBTQ+ ladies, right people), Grindr (LGBTQ+ guys), okay Cupid (for non-binary individuals), and Bumble (right females).

Dating apps are generally utilized to alleviate monotony as well as for chat. Oleg Ivanov/Unsplash

We unearthed that while application users recognised the potential risks of dating apps, additionally they had a variety of techniques to assist them to feel safer and handle their well-being – including negotiating consent and safe intercourse.

Secure consent and sex

Nearly all study individuals frequently used condoms for safe sex. Over 90% of right women and men frequently employed condoms.

Simply over one-third of homosexual, bisexual and queer males frequently employed PreP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent HIV transmission.

Half (50.8%) of right people stated they never ever or seldom talked about safe intercourse with possible lovers on dating/hook-up apps. Around 70% of LGBTQ+ participants had those conversations to some degree.

Amber (22, bisexual, feminine, local) stated she had been “always the one which needs to start an intercourse talk over messages”. She used chat to talk about just exactly exactly what she liked, to say her need for condom usage, to provide a free account of her very own intimate wellness, and to feel “safer”.

Some homosexual and bisexual men’s apps – such as Grindr and Scruff – provide for some settlement around intimate health insurance and intimate techniques inside the profile. Users can share HIV status, therapy regimes, and “date last tested”, along with saying their preferred intimate activities.

Warning flag

Numerous individuals talked about their techniques of reading a profile for “red flags”, or indicators that their physical or safety that is emotional be in danger. Warning flag included not enough information, uncertain pictures, and profile text that suggested sexism, racism, along with other unwelcome characteristics.

Uncertain pictures could be a red banner on dating apps. Daria Nepriakhina/Unsplash

Apps that want a shared match before messaging (where both events swipe right) had been identified to filter a lot out of unwelcome conversation.

Numerous individuals felt that warning flags were prone to come in talk instead of in individual pages. These included possessiveness and pushiness, or communications and images which were too intimate, too quickly.

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