“We are in uncharted territory” when it comes to Tinder et al., says Justin Garcia, a research scientist at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.“There have been two major transitions” in heterosexual mating “in the last four million years,” he says.“But you’re ordering a person.”The comparison to online shopping seems an apt one.Dating apps are the free-market economy come to sex. tracking to show whether matches have recently “crossed paths,” use it too.In fact, they can remember whom Alex has slept with in the past week more readily than he can.“Brittany, Morgan, Amber,” Marty says, counting on his fingers. Alex, his friends agree, is a Tinder King, a young man of such deft “text game”—“That’s the ability to actually convince someone to do something over text,” Marty explains—that he is able to entice young women into his bed on the basis of a few text exchanges, while letting them know up front he is not interested in having a relationship.“How does he ”But Marty, who prefers Hinge to Tinder (“Hinge is my thing”), is no slouch at “racking up girls.” He says he’s slept with 30 to 40 women in the last year: “I sort of play that I could be a boyfriend kind of guy,” in order to win them over, “but then they start wanting me to more …and I just don’t.”“Dude, that’s not cool,” Alex chides in his warm way.
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.Some, like writer Hanna Rosin, see hookup culture as a boon: “The hookup culture is …bound up with everything that’s fabulous about being a young woman in 2012—the freedom, the confidence.” But others lament the way the extreme casualness of sex in the age of Tinder leaves many women feeling de-valued.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.In the 90s it was Craigslist and AOL chat rooms, then and But the lengthy, heartfelt e-mails exchanged by the main characters in (1998) seem positively Victorian in comparison to the messages sent on the average dating app today. ’ ” says Jennifer, 22, a senior at Indiana University Southeast, in New Albany.“They’ll tell you, ‘Come over and sit on my face,’ ” says her friend, Ashley, 19.Mobile dating went mainstream about five years ago; by 2012 it was overtaking online dating.It’s a balmy night in Manhattan’s financial district, and at a sports bar called Stout, everyone is Tindering.The tables are filled with young women and men who’ve been chasing money and deals on Wall Street all day, and now they’re out looking for hookups.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.“I always make a point of disclosing I’m not looking for anything serious.