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I downloaded the app a few weeks into my freshman year in New York City, and it became — as it has for many gay millennial men — my first introduction to sex, a digitized But it’s certainly a far cry from what I was expecting.In moving to New York City from a suburb of Baltimore, where the prospects for sexual activity for a gay teen are dire, I imagined I was migrating to a place where queer folk commingled in gay bars, a place where the telegenic gay romances we were trained to pursue — Glee’s Kurt and Blaine, specifically — took place in real life, for everyday bow-tie-wearing urbanites.As a freshman in college, I sat at the Washington Square Diner with a female friend during finals week and received a confounding message on Grindr: “Want a blow job and some cash?” I had crammed for a philosophy exam and was devouring a chicken Parmesan panini, but this opening was so abrupt, so direct, that I was intrigued — .“I wonder if this makes me some sort of monster, but I think many people use Grindr that way, to scratch a passingitch.” But Ethan, on some level, is a romantic.“I’m always complaining about how hard it is to meet people — in the Grindr era, we are far less likely to have a nice, little meet-cute like in the movies,” Ethan tells me.It provides an alternative on a medium that’s second nature to us, a time-wasting tonic that we return to compulsively just as we do Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.

By clicking “I agree” below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms.My Grindr profile is nameless, largely unidentifiable.Even my height, which is really five-foot-seven, is listed as five-foot-nine.In places like New York City, sex, or the prospect of it, is laughably easy to procure thanks to Grindr, which launched in 2009, when my friends and I were closeted 14-year-olds, going to high school in provincial suburban towns, watching our straight classmates dip their toes into the world of promiscuity as we hunkered down and studied, sexless.It’s a bit like Seamless — rendering a hookup, or, if you’re looking for them, drugs, as readily available as a carton of General Tso’s and as stringently transactional, too.

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