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In February, one study reported there were nearly 100 million people—perhaps 50 million on Tinder alone—using their phones as a sort of all-day, every-day, handheld singles club, where they might find a sex partner as easily as they’d find a cheap flight to Florida.“It’s like ordering Seamless,” says Dan, the investment banker, referring to the online food-delivery service.“I can go on my phone right now and no doubt I can find someone I can have sex with this evening, probably before midnight.”And is this “good for women”?Since the emergence of flappers and “moderns” in the 1920s, the debate about what is lost and gained for women in casual sex has been raging, and is raging still—particularly among women.
Dating apps are the free-market economy come to sex. tracking to show whether matches have recently “crossed paths,” use it too.The innovation of Tinder was the swipe—the flick of a finger on a picture, no more elaborate profiles necessary and no more fear of rejection; users only know whether they’ve been approved, never when they’ve been discarded. Hinge, which allows for more information about a match’s circle of friends through Facebook, and Happn, which enables G. It’s telling that swiping has been jocularly incorporated into advertisements for various products, a nod to the notion that, online, the act of choosing consumer brands and sex partners has become interchangeable.“It’s instant gratification,” says Jason, 26, a Brooklyn photographer, “and a validation of your own attractiveness by just, like, swiping your thumb on an app.You see some pretty girl and you swipe and it’s, like, oh, she thinks you’re attractive too, so it’s really addicting, and you just find yourself mindlessly doing it.” “Sex has become so easy,” says John, 26, a marketing executive in New York.As the polar ice caps melt and the earth churns through the Sixth Extinction, another unprecedented phenomenon is taking place, in the realm of sex.Hookup culture, which has been percolating for about a hundred years, has collided with dating apps, which have acted like a wayward meteor on the now dinosaur-like rituals of courtship.