Hooking up with friends: LGBTQ plus young people, dating apps, friendship and safety

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Media Culture and Society, 2021
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© The Author(s) 2020. Research exploring digital intimate publics tends to consider social media platforms and dating/hook-up apps separately, implying distance between social and sexual communication practices. This paper troubles that delineation by drawing on LGBTQ+ young people’s accounts of negotiating safety and risk in dating/hook-up apps, in which friendship practices are significant. We explore four key themes of friendship that arose in our analysis of interviews and workshop discussions: sharing mutuals (or friends-in-common) with potential dates/hook-ups; making friends through apps; friends supporting app negotiations; and friends’ involvement in safety strategies. Through analysis of these data, we firstly argue that friendship is often both an outcome and an organising force of LGBTQ+ young people’s uses of dating/hook-up apps, and secondly, that media sites commonly defined as social (e.g. Instagram) or sexual (e.g. Tinder) are imbricated, with friendship contouring queer sex and dating practices.
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