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

Right-swipes and warning flags – 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 Technology

Disclosure statement

Kath Albury receives funding through the Australian Research Council while 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 gets capital 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 financing as a known user of this discussion AU.

The discussion UK receives funding from all of these organisations

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

Our brand new studies have shown dating apps can enhance young people’s social connections, friendships and intimate relationships. However they can be a way to obtain frustration, exclusion and rejection.

Our mail order wife research may be the very first to ask app users of diverse genders and sexualities to talk about their experiences of application usage, well-being and safety. The task combined a survey that is online interviews and imaginative workshops in metropolitan and local brand New South Wales with 18 to 35 12 months olds.

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

The most famous apps utilized had been Tinder (among LGBTQ+ females, straight men and women), Grindr (LGBTQ+ men), okay Cupid (for non-binary individuals), and Bumble (right females).

Dating apps can be used to alleviate monotony as well as for talk. Oleg Ivanov/Unsplash

We discovered that while software users recognised the potential risks of dating apps, they also had a variety of methods to help them feel safer and handle their well-being – including negotiating permission and sex that is safe.

Secure consent and sex

Nearly all study individuals commonly used condoms for safe intercourse. Over 90% of right women and men commonly used condoms.

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

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

Amber (22, bisexual, feminine, regional) stated she had been “always one that has got to start an intercourse talk over messages”. She used chat to talk about exactly just what she liked, to say her need for condom usage, to give a merchant account of her very own health that is sexual and also to feel “safer”.

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

Warning flag

Many individuals talked about their techniques of reading a profile for “red flags”, or warning signs that their real or psychological security might be in danger. Warning flags included not enough information, uncertain photos, and profile text that suggested sexism, racism, as well as other qualities that are undesirable.

Confusing 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 recognized to filter away a great deal of undesirable connection.

Numerous individuals felt that warning flag had been more prone to come in chat instead of in individual profiles. These included possessiveness and pushiness, or communications and photos which were too intimate, too early.

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