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Newswise — CHICAGO - Although hookup apps require users to be 18 or older, a new Northwestern Medicine Sex finder Palmyra Virginia found that more than 50 percent of sexually active gay and bisexual boys ages 14 to 17 met male sexual partners on apps such as Grindr and Scruff. It also was common for these teens to use the apps to connect with friends and find new gay, bisexual and queer friends and boyfriends, which sheds new light on who uses adult male hookup apps and why.
The study was published today, May 18, in the Journal of Adolescent Health. It is the first known study to document that gay and bisexual teenage boys use sex and dating apps deed for adult men to find male partners. These features might be appealing to gay and bisexual adolescent boys who are not as open about their sexual identity, who have a smaller pool of potential partners compared to their heterosexual peers and who are navigating dating and sex with same-gender partners for the first time.
Teenage boys who used the apps were more likely seek out important sexual health services, such as HIV testing, the study found. It is common for adolescents, regardless of their sexual orientation, to use sexually explicit media such as apps or porn to explore their sexuality. In the study, sexually experienced gay and bisexual adolescent boys ages 14 to 17, who were recruited from Facebook and Instagram, completed online survey questions assessing their use of apps to meet partners for dating and sex, as well as their sexual behavior and HIV risk.
Overall, More than 80 percent of the youth reported using hookup apps such as Grindr — the most-downloaded app worldwide for men who have sex with men — and dating websites because they felt like they had few options for meeting gay, bisexual and queer partners in their neighborhoods. More than 30 percent of study participants said they used these technologies to prevent other non-LGBTQ people from learning about their sexual orientation.
Thirty-four percent of participants said they used the apps to meet a new gay or bisexual friend. The study highlights just how little parents, educators and health care providers know about how teens spend their time on apps and online technology that is constantly changing. Mustanski was senior author.
Co-authors were David A. Moskowitz, Dennis H. Request an Expert. Foreign Relations See all channels. Upcoming Theme Wires.