Hooking Up Becomes Mobile With Sex Radar Applications

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Possessors of smart phones have multitudinous advantages over their unconnected counterparts, but never before has the advantage been so distinctly tied to the user's evolutionary prospects. Now, with the advent of certain applications such as Grindr and Skout, people can use GPS to find their future soul mates - or their next one-night stand.

Such applications have somewhat replaced their more antiquated predecessors - websites like eHarmony and Match.com, which pair two people based on interests and compatibility of personalities. Dating apps, however, reintroduce the serendipity into finding a partner, according to Joel Simkhai, CEO and founder of Grindr, an application that helps gay and bisexual men find others nearby.

"The goal is to make it easier to meet others around you - the guy across the street, or around the block," he said in an e-mail. "People you may have never met otherwise but could end up being a great friend or the love of your life."

Grindr has become one of the most successful GPS-employing date apps, with more than 1.4 million users in 180 countries worldwide and about 300,000 men logging on every day, Simkhai said in the e-mail.

With Grindr, users can log on anywhere and see a cascade of photos of the men who are logged in around them. For both Skout and Grindr, as well as similar applications, the user's exact location is not given away for safety reasons. Rather, an approximate location is provided as distance in feet, or it is left for the users to communicate to each other.

Grindr is what you need it to be, Simkhai said in the e-mail. For some, it is a way to hook up without the sometimes awkward process of ascertaining whether the other guy is gay. For others it is the perfect travel companion, enabling you to meet friends to get a drink with in foreign places, and for still others it is a game of entertainment in the form of "grind-and-go-seek," where you log on to Grindr in a public place and try to find the people who pop up on the screen in real life.

"Grindr is unique in that it's completely mobile - there is no computer needed and no accounts or registration," Simkhai said in the e-mail. "You can travel anywhere in the world, log in, and start chatting instantly with other guys around you. That was the intended purpose - to get people away from their computers and out to socialize with others. Grindr is a means to an end in that it is a tool to help you start a conversation with someone near you, and hopefully find someone that you want to actually meet in person."

For many it has done exactly that. On its website, Grindr displays stories from users who have had success. Jason of Girdwood, Alaska was one of those users.

"After being blown up by all these random blokes. I found a guy who was sweet, and cute," he wrote. "Little did I know he would become the love of my life."

And the same can be said of Skout and other, less well-known but similarly intentioned apps. The chatting feature of these apps allows the couple to break the ice, and from there they can take their own pace.

"It has really let me be more social," wrote one reviewer of Skout. "Whereas before I was afraid to go out on a limb and talk to girls, it has boosted my self confidence and now I am able to just be comfortable around people I haven't ever met, but have chatted with on Skout!"

Tags: SEX, SEX ISSUE 2011, GRINDR, SKOUT


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