Showing posts with label sex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sex. Show all posts

August 2, 2017

The Future of Sex

What is the future of sex? Forget robots and tech-enabled fornication. There is progressive potential in the digital world to engender healthier sexual practices.
Robots at a trade fair in China.Robots at a trade fair in China. Photo: Tang Yi/PA Images. All rights reserved.What is the future of sex? Perhaps you’re seeing visions of artificial intelligence, vibrators that steal your data, four-square based fornication. Or something like deleted R-rated scenes of I, Robot, the dystopian Hollywood film starring Will Smith, with highly intelligent robots conspiring to enslave the human race?
The digital realm is monopolising how we see and engage with sex. This manifests itself in sci-fi visions – but also in the transformation of sex, often considered a private issue, into something that is publically consumed online. Demands for sexual and bodily autonomy and notions of ‘sex positivity’ (and its nemesis slut shaming) are also on the rise. More people are talking about sex outside of reproduction and avoiding sexually-transmitted diseases.
demands for sexual and bodily autonomy, and notions of 'sex positivity,' are on the rise
Digital spaces are both a blessing and a curse in this context. Take the negativeeffect of online porn on young people (especially boys), presenting sex as something that is ‘rough and ready’, reinforcing impossible body goals for women as well as very dodgy conceptions of consent. Adding to this are acts of‘revenge porn’, where sexual images of (mostly women’s) bodies have been distributed online, without their consent.
Positive ideas can also be shared and developed in online spaces, whilst problematic ones can be exposed and challenged. Much public engagement with sex is still, at once, wildly exposed yet extremely covert. You can use sex to sell anything from coffee to tires, but discussing one’s own sex life in public remains largely taboo. The digital realm can help us unpack this and build healthier sexual practices.
the digital realm can help us build healthier sexual practices
A lack of holistic sexual education in schools and at home is a significant issue worldwide. Many countries lack comprehensive sexual education; some seem to ban it altogether, often under the flawed premise that it will simply encourage young people to have sex. African countries have notably conservative views on sexual education – arguably in contrast to historical practices.
In her 2010 paper Osunality (African Erotic), Nigerian-born scholar Nkiru Nzegu explores how a number of tribes across Africa had ‘sexual schools’ in pre-colonial Africa (and in some spaces in present-day) which sought to equip young people with all the knowledge they needed to know to keep the sex steamy once they were married.
These ‘schools’ focused on pleasure and sought to make sure that all parties enjoyed sex. They were set up by tribes such as the Gola, Bassa, Laobe, and Dipo in west Africa, as well as by the Tonga of Zambia and the Makhuwa of Mozambique. In some countries, such spaces to pass on sexual knowledge still exist.
Many people are already using audio visual and social media tools to build and challenge ideas of sex online.The digital realm has the potential to replicate these spaces. Many people are already using tools from audio visual material to 140 characters to build and challenge ideas of sex online. 
Many people are already using audio visual and social media tools to build and challenge ideas of sex online. Photo: Siphumeze Khundayi.The art of storytelling, the power of narrative and the interconnected nature of the online world can help us engage differently with these issues – in online publications, conversations using hashtags and digital platforms for communities to gather and connect.
Blogs like Adventures From The Bedrooms of African Women and HOLAAfrica!, multimedia spaces like The Spread Podcast and Twitter titans includingMbongomuffin and Dr Tlaleng are creating space for discussions often seen as uncomfortable or off-limits, around everything from religion to masturbation.
There are gremlins in the system and people who use the digital realm to commit violent and harmful acts. But the potential for digital spaces to archive knowledge, create new content and ideas and build safe spaces seems infinite.
Already, sex is in many places no longer defined exclusively by ‘man and wife’, tradition or cultural practices. Online spaces can help us further examine and challenge ideas that used to be held and propagated primarily in private. Combined with human rights and social justice work, this can help us progress sexual and reproductive health and rights. It is also a chance for more holistic and healthier engagements with sex, in many more spaces.
Join Tiffany Mugo (@tiffmugo) for a Twitter chat on the future of sex at 1pm BST on Friday 4 Augustalong with Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah (@nas009).

March 16, 2017

Vibrator Spying on Its Users Sued

Yes, even your vibrator might be spying on you. Maybe this is what Pres.Trump meant?
A sex toy company has agreed to pay $3.75 million for secretly collecting customers’ data while they were using its vibrators.
Under the agreement, We-Vibe will set aside about $3 million for people who downloaded and used an app that accompanied the vibrator and about $750,000 for customers who just bought its “smart vibrator” before Sept. 26, 2016. Those who controlled the toy with the We-Connect app will get up to $10,000 each, while those who just used the vibrator will get up to $199.
However, people will probably receive much less due to fees, administration costs, and the number of claims submitted.
The amount of the actual payment to Class members will depend on the number of claims submitted and the total amount available in the respective settlement funds after applicable notice and administration costs, the incentive award, and attorney fees have been paid.
The high-end vibrators are designed for couples, enabling partners to text and video chat on the app, as well as adjust and control the toy through Bluetooth. But what they didn’t know was that the Canadian company was tracking how they used their devices, including intimate details like the time and date, the vibration intensity, temperature, and pattern, court documents show.
We-Vibe’s app, We-Connect We-Vibe
The company, which has denied wrongdoing and liability, said it will destroy most of the information it collected.
A woman from Chicago, identified as N.P., sued Standard Innovation Corp., which owns We-Vibe, company back in September. She bought a Rave vibrator for $130 last May and frequently used the app, but said she was never notified We-Vibe was monitoring her. Another woman joined the complaint last month. They both claimed that the “highly offensive” secret data collection caused embarrassment and anxiety.
The women also say We-Vibe violated the Federal Wire Tap Act and privacy law, and made money at their expense.
“(N.P.) would never have purchased a We-Vibe had she known that in order to use its full functionality, (Standard Innovation) would monitor, collect and transmit her usage information through We-Connect,” the claim states.
About 300,000 people purchased We-Vibe devices covered by the settlement, and about 100,000 downloaded and used the app, according to court documents.
We-Vibe said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that it collected “certain analytical information to help us improve our products and the quality” of its app and that users could opt out of this.
The company has now agreed to clarify and be more transparent about its privacy notices and data collecting practices.
Going forward, customers no longer have to register, create an account, or share their personal information. They can also opt out of sharing anonymous app usage data, the company said, noting that they now have “new plain language privacy notices” that outline “how we collect and use data for the app to function and improve We-Vibe products.”

March 12, 2016

Swedes Wont Aloud you to Vacuum after 10pm but Loud Groans from sex is OK

Most apartment blocks in Sweden state that tenants are not permitted any loud activity, for example drilling or even vacuum cleaning, after 10pm so as not to disturb other residents.
So one Twitter user who had apparently had it up to here with his neighbours' late-night romps took his sleepless woes directly to Health Minister Gabriel Wikström – who replied.
"My neighbours are once again having noisy sex. You're my only hope: could you ban risqué exercises after 10pm?" asked the man.
But he had his hopes dashed when the minister responded: "Sounds nice for them, I think. Good for their wellbeing and thus public health as well.” The exchange was part of a bigger debate, but the minister later elaborated on his comment in an interview with The Local, saying that he had taken the opportunity to highlight Swedes' declining sex rate.
"The reactions were overwhelming, I never thought it would get that big. I thought the question was amusing (…) and thought this would be a good way to raise the issue," Wikström told The Local after his tweet went viral. 

Swedish Health Minister Gabriel Wikström. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT
While Swedes may have a reputation for their liberal attitude to sex, the frequency of a romp in the hay is dropping. A poll by the Aftonbladet tabloid in 2013 suggested the average adult has intercourse 3.8 times a month, compared to five times a month according to a separate, state-funded public health survey in 1996.
"That's a 24 percent decline. If it had been down to free choice it wouldn't have been a problem – obviously the state shouldn't tell people how often to have sex – but it is often linked to stress, pressure and people feeling they don't live up to a certain body ideal. That's a problem and it will lead to people feeling even worse. We're humans, we need intimacy," said Wikström.
But the 31-year-old gave a non-committal, albeit a typically Sweden-style candid, answer when asked by The Local whether he practises what he preaches, considering his own busy ministerial schedule.
"It's a pretty personal question, but… it happens. I am satisfied with my sex life,” laughed Wikström.
Referring to the tongue-in-cheek Twitter exchange, he joked: "I'm sure there's a lot about our neighbours that can annoy us, but if they have actually managed to get down to business you have to be forgiving."
His fellow Swedes are also known for their open approach when discussing issues involving topics such as gender, sex and sexuality. And Wikström urged more of his ministerial colleagues abroad to speak up.
"They absolutely should. We know that there are also negative aspects, for example sexual violence around the globe, STIs or unwanted pregnancies. If we don't talk about that in a relaxed way we can't have good sex, and that involves talking about the positive aspects too, that it can be fun and nice," he said.

August 10, 2015

How Does a Transexual Have Sex?

Meet Lewis Hancox.
The YouTuber and transgender rights advocate was born female, and transitioned to male a few years ago.
Lewis writes a lot about the experience of being trans, busting myths and misconceptions about his sexuality and gender as he goes - but there's one question he says comes up again and again:

'How do you have sex?'

Luckily for us, while Lewis stands by the fact that that’s an incredibly personal question and not a good idea to ask someone you don’t know very well, he's a very open person - and he's answered the question once and for all in a hilarious three minute video.  
Everybody likes different things in the bedroom, trans or not. And there are countless sexual acts and not all of them involve: 
Lewis met his girlfriend before he'd had any lower surgery and she was nervous about what to expect when they started having sex. But even after the operations, their chemistry has remained the same - and sex is better because Lewis feels more comfortable with himself. 
I like to have faith that when you do really like someone you look past their physicality.
Watch him spill the beans below (video a bit NSFW):

July 30, 2015

“Advance Oral Sex” in Muslim Turkey


I will publish this article as I read it on Al-monitor, The Pulse. The reason it made to this site is because the similarity in Muslim Turkey and its clergy with sex as much as the Christian clerics are in the United States. My biggest surprise is that his otherwise taboo subject as oral sex is done in an Advance way in a muslim country or at least by its clergy, The first question I will pulse if I could to these religious people would be: How do you know about advance oral sex and who invented it? It can’t be the deviil because you are talking about it in Turkish television. I will like to post pictures for my audience to understand better but it will kill the inclusive rating of this blog.

 Ali Riza Demircan, a popular theologian, appeared on a TV show aired by the official outlet Turkish Radio and Television (TRT). Pelin Cift, a young blonde woman, is the host of the program, on which Demircan appears as a frequent guest. While talking about sexuality, Demircan asserted, “Advanced oral sex between a married couple is haram [forbidden by Islam].” Cift broke into nervous laughter. 
Sex is an issue Cift and Demircan often discuss on the show, as he is the author of the well-known book “Sexual Life According to Islam.” For example, during an episode aired in June 2013, Demircan had informed the audience, “Making love is akin to worship.” Cift appeared to be flustered by that assertion as well.

Aired on state television, the words “advanced oral sex” immediately sent shock waves through Turkish social media. Users asked one another what exactly “advanced oral sex” means.

The most popular reaction, however, came from another Islamic personality, Robed (Cubbeli) Ahmet Hoca. A senior figure in the Ismail Aga religious order, Ahmet Hoca is known for his love of the limelight and controversial remarks. This time he announced, “When one [Demircan] says oral sex is forbidden by Islam, he is lying in the name of God. We cannot say it is forbidden, because we have no evidence to declare it forbidden.”

Ahmet Hoca’s blessing of oral sex generated another round of satirical exchanges on social media, and before one could declare the discussion over, Demircan came back with a personal retort against Ahmet Hoca, saying, “After the TRT program, I received several thank you notes and prayers. I am delighted to contribute to the understanding of what is forbidden. This is a crucial matter as it leads to conflict among couples and even to divorce. When we speak of what is forbidden, I understand those in denial, those who are engaged in extramarital affairs, gays, lesbians, erotic site owners and [sex toy] salespeople to be disturbed, but I don’t understand short-sighted Muslims. Are they disturbed by being reminded what is forbidden in Islam because they are committing these sins?”

Demircan’s comments and exchange between the Turkish televangelists made headlines in international as well as Turkish media. On social media, the reactions were typically humorous. The columnist Ozgur Mumcu tweeted, “Having acquired the knowledge that Ali Riza Demircan never falls victim to advanced oral sex, now we can sleep in peace.” Others chiming in included the following:

 Safer sex in Turkey
 Obeying all the rules of Islam, then the sad destiny of going to hell is due to advanced oral sex.
Any casualties from advanced oral sex so far?
Finally, reformation has begun in Islam. We moved from discussing whether chewing gum breaks the [Muslim] fast to advanced oral sex.
We are yearning for Old Turkey. In the old days, during Ramadan they would sell Ramadan pita at the bakeries, now they are talking about advanced oral sex.
There are sectarian wars, and now let’s hope the people will not be divided as those who like oral sex and those who don’t. The Middle East cannot overcome this!
A prominent columnist, Ahmet Hakan, titled his column on the subject “7 pieces of advice to Robed Hoja,” in which he urged Hoca to be as passionate about corruption, injustice and social values as he was about oral sex. Turkey’s most popular hypertext social dictionary,  Eksisozluk, had 52 pages of entries under the heading “Advanced Oral Sex” the week of July 11-19.

Indeed, not a day passes without the ulema (educated clergy) commenting on sexual matters. Previously, they had focused on the permissibility of polygamy and the side effects of masturbation. Another famous televangelist, Mucahid Cihad Han, went on the record in May declaring masturbation forbidden, saying, “If a man masturbates, in the afterlife his hand will get pregnant.”

Indeed, these sexual debates offer intriguing clues about the social, economic and political values in contemporary Turkish understanding of religion. As the marketplace of religious orders has grown, televangelists or sheikhs from these orders have become much more tolerated in the public domain.

Religious orders are still formally banned in Turkey, but it seems as long as religious men refrain from talking about politics, especially criticizing the government, they are free to talk about almost anything they want. In addition, retired theologians are also finding fame and making lucrative livings from the colorful daily talk shows. Popular shows provide them instant recognition. As one scholar told A-Monitor, “You can pick and choose your own imam, rather than following the one the government assigns to your neighborhood.”

Al-Monitor contacted several theologians and government imams from the Religious Affairs Directorate (RAD), but they were unwilling to comment. One scholar said, “You should not write about oral sex. It will hurt your reputation.” When asked how respected religious elders can discuss the issue so freely, the scholar replied, “They are all men, occasionally a few older women. Young women should not speak about these matters.”

Indeed, the scholar has a point. Speaking about sexual matters in Turkey is another field, like security and military politics, reserved for men. Although it may seem progressive to be talking about sexual matters in public, it is more an issue of men preaching to younger men and women about what is permissible, not an open debate. Hence, all women are pretty much expected to do is giggle nervously and look sheepish or shell-shocked. The host Cift is an exquisite example of the immature standard set for women in this regard.

This perhaps comes with the territory, as most, if not all, of the sexual advice provided is exclusively aimed at men. Women are rather passive players in the game, so they are not expected to have a voice.

On another crucial point, on can discern a rift, likely to become more visible in the near future, between leaders of religious orders and RAD-trained and -employed imams and muftis. On sexual matters, government-employed imams have been rather quiet, but theologians and sheikhs who are not formally employed by the government can appear on state television and hold forth on such graphic issues as advanced oral sex.

RAD is known to be rather strict in regard to its imam’s sermons. For example, one respected imam, Yasin Gundogdu, known for broadcasting his sermons and his bold style, was forbidden to go off script during Ramadan this year. Why are some imams allowed to preach freely, but the state controls every sentence of government-employed preachers?

One RAD imam from Ankara, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said, “The public wants to hear real-life issues. They are bored with government-sanctioned sermons, but we have strict rules. So more and more people are recruited into the religious orders, and our mosque congregations shrink. As long as religious orders do not challenge government policies too harshly, they can preach freely. For government employees, there are strict rules and regulations, and our sermons [are] therefore a bore.”

It seems there is a dual path in Turkish religious affairs. On the one hand, RAD is growing and expanding its powers, but on the other hand, religious orders are supported and encouraged to be more visible in the public domain as long as they refrain from politics. That said, after two weeks of sex talk, people are still asking, “Have you found out what advanced oral sex is?”

By Pinar Tremblay who is a columnist for Al-Monitor’s Turkey Pulse and is a visiting scholar of political science at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is a columnist for Turkish news outlet T24. Her articles have appeared in Time, New America, Hurriyet Daily News, Todays Zaman, Star and Salom. On Twitter: @pinartremblay

February 16, 2015

Some Men wish they were Bigger? Not for a 17 Yr Old Needed to have it cut Down

A 17-year-old boy has undergone the world's first penis reduction surgery, surgeons claim.
The American teen requested the surgery after his penis grew too large, restricting his ability to have sex or play competitive sports.
The boy's surgeons were shocked when he came to them complaining that his penis was too big. 
When flaccid, it measured almost seven inches in length and had a circumference of 10 inches - around the size of a grapefruit.
Surgeons described it as being shaped like an American football. 
The surgeon who treated the teenager, Rafael Carrion, a urologist at the University of South Florida, told MailOnline: 'There comes a time in every urologist's career that a patient makes a request so rare and impossible to comprehend that all training breaks down and leaves the physician speechless.
‘That question was “can you make my penis smaller"?'                       
A 17-year-old boy in Florida is thought to be the first person to undergo penis reduction surgery. The teenager requested the operation after his penis (pictured on an X-ray) grew too large 
A 17-year-old boy in Florida is thought to be the first person to undergo penis reduction surgery. The teenager requested the operation after his penis (pictured on an X-ray) grew too large

The teenager had suffered from several bouts of priapism - an unwanted erection, due to having a condition in which abnormally-shaped blood cells block vessels in the penis, causing it to swell.
These episodes had left his penis bloated and misshapen.
He said he was unable to have sex or play competitive sport, had difficulty wearing his pants due to his 'large and heavy phallus', and was embarrassed by how visible it appeared underneath regular clothing.
Though his penis was so large, it did not grow when he had erections - it merely became firmer.
'His penis had inflated like a balloon,' said Dr Carrion. 
'It sounds like a man's dream - a tremendously inflated phallus - but unfortunately although it was a generous length, it's girth was just massive, especially around the middle.  'It looked like an American football.'
Dr Carrion and his team looked at the medical literature but couldn't find any precedent for what to do.
'Lord knows there's a global race on how to make it longer and thicker in plastic surgery circles, but very little on how to make it smaller,' he said.
In the end, they decided to embark on a surgical technique normally used to treat Peyronie's disease, a condition where scar tissue develops along the penis, causing it to bend.
The surgeons sliced along an old circumcision scar, unwrapped the skin of the penis, and cut out two segments of tissue from either side.
'It was a bit like having two side tummy-tucks - that's how we explained it to him,' said Dr Carrion.
The teenager said he was unable to have sex or play competitive sport, had difficulty wearing his pants due to his 'large and heavy phallus', and was embarrassed by how visible it appeared underneath clothing (file pic)   
The teenager said he was unable to have sex or play competitive sport, had difficulty wearing his pants due to his ‘large and heavy phallus', and was embarrassed by how visible it appeared underneath clothing (file pic)

The doctors were able to bypass the urethra - the tube which carries urine through the penis - and all of the nerves that provide sensation.
The teenager spent just two days in hospital before returning home, apparently 'ecstatic' with his new penis.
The doctors did not take final measurements of the penis, although Dr Carrion told MailOnline the result was 'generous'.
There comes a time in every urologist's career that a patient makes a request that leaves a physician speechless. That question was "can you make my penis smaller"?'
Rafael Carrion, urologist at the University of South Florida
'It's slightly longer and slightly thicker than the average male, but now it looks symmetrical, and the patient was very satisfied,' he said.
The teen now has no problem having normal erections and has full sensation.
'It looks cosmetically appealing, and he said it was a life-changing event, he's all smiles,' said Carrion.
Since the paper describing the surgery was published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Dr Carrion has only had one person approach him to request the same surgery.
He said: 'This [second] man seems to have a naturally large penis, because there's nothing unusual in his medical history, so it doesn't seem like there's any real abnormality in this case'.
Whereas the first teenager had an obvious medical condition that needed treating, performing surgery on someone who is completely healthy but having difficulties with the size of his penis is another matter, said Dr Carrion.
'These are controversial waters we're stepping in,' he added. 'Who is to judge what is a legitimate complaint and what isn't? 
'You don't normally have men complaining about this kind of thing. These are very unique cases.' 

This article is reposted here the same way as in Daily Mail /UK

February 5, 2015

FL. Supreme Court Have to Decide What Does Sexual Intercourse Mean?


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — What does "sexual intercourse" mean in Florida?
The state's Supreme Court justices are pondering the question in a case that threatens to weaken a 1986 law requiring HIV-positive people to reveal their infection before having "sexual intercourse." A defense lawyer told the court Wednesday that Florida's laws have always used the term to describe traditional sex between a man and a woman, and not any other sexual activity by either gender.
Question for the court: What is sexual intercourse? photo
The case involves a man charged with a felony after failing to tell his male sex partner that he carries the human immunodeficiency virus. His public defender, Brian Ellison, is simply trying to get the charge dropped, but told The Associated Press outside court that the same defense could apply to HIV-positive heterosexuals who engage in anything other than traditional sex.
"In the history of Florida law the specific term, sexual intercourse has always been interpreted to mean reproductive sexual conduct," Ellison said. "It's not the way that I'd want to define it, maybe — maybe not the way you'd want to define it — but that's the way it's always been in Florida law."
Ellison didn't try to persuade the justices that his client, Gary Debaun, did nothing wrong; instead, he argued that Debaun didn't violate the law as written.
The record shows that Debaun's partner asked him to take an HIV test, and that Debaun, who knew that he was infected, gave him fake test results showing he was free of the virus that causes AIDS. A lower court threw out the charge, but it was reinstated on appeal.
Most states legally require people with HIV to disclose the infection to sex partners, but Ellison told the justices that other states' laws use term "sexual activity" or specifically spell out sexual acts, rather than use Florida's narrow language.
"But would you agree that when that statute was enacted, it was the intent to make sure that anybody that was going to have any kind of sexual activity that could transmit AIDS advise their partner?" asked Justice Barbara Pariente.
That's exactly the point Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Geldens made in arguing that the charge should stand. He noted that the Legislature passed other laws at the time aimed at curbing the spread of HIV, including education programs on how to prevent its spread through sexual activity.
"It's clear that the statute was intended to address the harms that are at issue in this case," Geldens said. "That's exactly what the Legislature intended to prevent, and they used the language of sexual intercourse because they wanted to do that."
But if Florida lawmakers wanted to spell out exactly what it means by sexual intercourse, it's had nearly a century to do so, said Ellison. The term has been used in state laws since 1919, when Florida first required disclosures to prevent the spread of syphilis, gonorrhea and other venereal diseases, he said.
"It's always been defined as between a man and a woman," he told the justices. "In all of that time, the Legislature has never expressed any intent to give it a more expansive meaning than it has always had, both in this court and elsewhere in this entire criminal code."
Pariente agreed that lawmakers have had ample opportunity to clarify the law.
“This could be solved easily by the Legislature," she said.

December 16, 2014

The Sex of Education of Grindr’s Product’s Manager ‘Joel'

Joel Simkhai, right, confers with Matthew Norris, Grindr’s product manager, at headquarters in Los Angeles. CreditKendrick Brinson for The New York Times 

It is the kind of view that may for some induce a feeling of dread or alienation, and yet for Mr. Simkhai is a source of exhilaration. Standing at the cliff edge on a cool recent morning, he surveyed his adopted city from his new ridge top and pronounced himself content.
“I look down at that view and I feel, like, totally connected,” said the man who built a fortune on the widely accepted perception that the totality of any one human being can effectively and, for the purposes of “connecting,” be rendered in a photo the size of a thumbnail and an accompanying biographical text of no more than 140 characters — fewer if the search engine optimization of one’s brand is a concern.
It has been nearly six years since Mr. Simkhai, a wiry and slight California transplant, born in Israel in the year of the American bicentennial, introduced the world to Grindr, a geosocial networking app geared toward men who — whether they define themselves as gay or bisexual or merely “curious” — take a lively interest in those of their sex.
In both free and subscription-based versions, Grindr employs the GPS function of a smartphone to allow a user to identify men within relative proximity. With a tap on a screen, a cascade of images appears on a user’s iPhone or Android, as in a video game. Each photo is accompanied by snippet of profile text and, where previously the text was superimposed on the profile, in an iteration introduced this month without fanfare, Grindr quietly refined its format to suppress text in a semiconcealed swipe-up screen.
“Grindr is a very, very visual experience,” Mr. Simkhai said. “I’m not really a big believer in words.”
By tapping on an individual image, any given Grindr user is given the option to chat, send photos, share a precise location and — provided things go according to the implicit promise of the app’s architecture — sooner or later to do a good deal more than that. “I’m not saying inner beauty is not important,” Mr. Simkhai said. “But the visual leads to the drive to desire and to be desired.”
If Grindr did not altogether revolutionize online meetings, it has been on the market long enough to have inspired many imitators, apps with names like Scruff and Mister and Hornet and Jack’d; to have given critics of its technical shortcomings plenty of grounds for complaint; and to have provided material for moralists who accuse it of fostering misogyny and racism; and, also, as the blogger Choire Sicha once did, to characterize it as “the biggest, scariest gay bar” in the world.
Yet it remains the killer networking app in gay social media, with an estimated four million users in 192 countries, reportedly including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Ghana, places where by being overtly gay, people sometimes risk death. Its founder shirks the label “hookup app,” preferring to frame Grindr as an online meeting place. But the distinction is largely lost on such users as a Berlin-based performance artist who embarked in September on a project titled “Save the Date,” for which he planned on using Grindr to arrange sexual encounters with a different man daily for a year, or another artist who in October mounted an installation in which his raunchy Grindr conversations were projected publicly on a wide-screen.
The title of the piece was “Wanna Play?”
“You know, I never had any master plan to shift a culture,” said Mr. Simkhai, a regular on the circuit-party scene. “I made something because I wanted it for myself.”
While the idea for a geolocative man-finder had been floating around in Mr. Simkhai’s consciousness for a long time, he said, it was not until the Apple iPod Touch appeared and with it a generation of smartphones equipped to harvest GPS data that he was able to put his plan into play. With the help of a Scandinavian software developer he met online and a $2,000 grubstake, he devised and started the app in 2009.
“I was thinking about what was out there at the time,” Mr. Simkhai said one afternoon at the Grindr office, a suite of rooms on the ground floor of a nondescript West Hollywood office building.
“Craigslist was so anonymous and explicit,” he said. “And on Craigslist, you have no real identity. It’s just a post. It’s not your face or maybe not even a real ID.”
With Grindr, Mr. Simkhai said: “You can’t change your identity so much. Most dating sites require you to post a face pic and we think a lot about do we force you to post a picture of yourself, rather than a cat or scenery, because those scenery pics really drive me nuts.”
Hanging on a wall behind Mr. Simkhai’s desk is a variety of masks, including one resembling Hannibal Lecter’s face restraint, references to the Grindr logo, which is a mask. Given the historic necessity for gay men to live in concealment, a mask may seem a curious choice of logo, and yet it is not altogether at odds with Mr. Simkhai himself, who though he wears his paradoxes lightly can sometimes seem like two very unalike personalities in the body of one small man.
Close to 40, he appears far younger and has about him the air of an overgrown adolescent. Head of a successful privately held and far-reaching international business, he is so low-key as to be easily be mistaken for a parking attendant. Boyishly handsome, with a toothy smile and a shock of dark hair, he claims to be beset by physical insecurities.
“Grindr made me get fit and go to the gym more, get better abs,” said Mr. Simkhai, who occasionally posts a shirtless photograph on his own profile. “People criticize it for being superficial, but I didn’t invent that in human nature. What Grindr does is makes you raise your game.”
Grindr. CreditGrindr 
Though he has inarguably effected seismic changes in contemporary gay male culture, altering not only how men meet, but also how they portray and even see themselves, he thinks of himself, he said, primarily as a service provider.
“If someone had said to me 10 years ago is, ‘Is it your dream to be a C.E.O. and manage people?’ I would have said no,” said Mr. Simkhai, who is a charter member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, an international network of chief executives under the age of 45; a multimillionaire capable of gleefully reporting that he redeemed a $14 Yelp coupon for lunch; and a marketing wizard who admits to having conceived of the influential Grindr cascade of thumbnail images while stoned.
“I’m still wowed by how Joel took Grindr and made it so central to queer male culture, how he used its ability to mimic a social network and slide past a lot of nongay people’s ick factors,” said Jaime Woo, a Canadian writer and the author of “Meet Grindr,” a 2013 exploration of the app and its cultural aftereffects.
If Mr. Simkhai has had to give thought to the “ick factor,” it is for the simple reason that Grindr is governed by Apple’s puritanical terms of service and thus remains among the least prurient of the so-called hookup apps.
“We were constrained by Apple in the beginning,” in terms of what was permissible on the site, Mr. Simkhai said: no suggestive images, no underwear shots or pictures below the waist. And, while the app’s moderators, who are half a world away in India, are not always successful in screening out images of dubious taste, it remains dominated by inoffensive face photos, headless selfies of torsos viewed in bathroom mirrors and the occasional image of a mountain meadow or the Golden Gate Bridge.
“I see us as more of a bar than a sex club,” Mr. Simkhai said. “If you go to a bar, you don’t want to see someone with his genitals hanging out.” And if, as Mr. Simkhai said, there would be a “certain ickiness” to Grindr devolving into a mere digital sex club, that is not to suggest the desired endpoint for him or any other user is to organize a holiday food drive or a Scrabble tournament.
“Outside the gay community, people would probably say it’s just a hookup app,” Mr. Simkhai said. “And absolutely, sex is going on. But it’s more than that, because there’s always the possibility you will hit the jackpot and find someone who will move you. It has this potential for making a huge impact in your life.”
It is surely that video-game promise that keeps people coming back to the app, the Candy Crush allure of a score. In pursuit of it, the Grindr founder himself hooks up once a week on average, he said, more often when he is on the road. Agnostic about type, Mr. Simkhai is clear on “deal-breakers.” Smoking is one; another is people who live with cats.
“I like brunettes and always end up with blonds, so I don’t think I have a shiksa thing, but apparently I do,” Mr. Simkhai said one afternoon not long ago over lunch at Ammo, an organic Hollywood restaurant, where he ordered with the caution of someone adhering to a strict food plan.
Son of a Tehran-born Israeli diamond dealer and a teacher-turned-jeweler, Mr. Simkhai arrived in this country at 3. He was raised first on Roosevelt Island and later in Mamaroneck, a middle-class Westchester suburb, the middle of three boys, each of whom, as things turned out, is gay. The youngest is the New York fashion designer Jonathan Simkhai. “I downloaded the app, and searched through it a little,” he said recently by telephone. “But I haven’t used it that much, because I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic and always looking for a relationship and to have kids.”
Educated at Tufts University, Joel Simkhai had no particular specialization in information technology.
“When I first thought about Grindr, I had no idea how to make it happen, technically,” Mr. Simkhai said. “But that’s something I’m good at, taking the challenge of something people tell me can’t be done and then figuring it out.”
If the initial challenge was devising a way to meet men without resorting to traditional gay gathering places, the bars that are now largely a thing of the past, the new one for Mr. Simkhai is how to reduce the intervals of time between first contact and connection.
“What I think about a lot is speeding up the process,” Mr. Simkhai said. “That’s why the image and the visual are super important. I can tell you I’m in good shape, but if you look at the photo, you know, and then we can get past the awkwardness, having the same conversations over and over. You can get closer to the magic of what might happen.”
That is the theory, anyway.
Until then, and like most users surveyed, Mr. Simkhai tends to check his Grindr profile hourly — whether in restaurants once the bill has been paid; in clubs where from opposite corners of the room men cruise each other online; or in Starbucks or Duane Reades, where some repair to find new proximate populations.
“It’s a habit,” said Mr. Simkhai, who has been in relationships of up to two years but who is currently single. “People think I can have any boy I want, that I can point and have. And I would love that, but it’s not my reality. So I’m on the app 10 times a day looking, because you never know when you might have that magical, transformative encounter.”
That much is certain. You do not.

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