However, our findings suggest that GSN apps serve both sexual and non-sexual purposes

However, our findings suggest that GSN apps serve both sexual and non-sexual purposes

Characteristics of App Use

Our results provide evidence that GSN apps are important socialization contexts for most SMM. Participants in our sample reported using between one to nine apps, with an average number of three apps, and up to 3 h of use per day. Grindr was the most frequently selected app, followed by Tinder, a non-SMM specific app, and other social networks like Facebook and Instagram. These results hold similarities to those reported by Queiroz et al. (2019) in Brazil who found Tinder and Grindr to be the most commonly used apps in their sample. According to these authors, Grindr has caused a significant impact on queer communities worldwide, defining a model for similar applications, and changing the way sexual minorities socialize by reducing access barriers and the likelihood of encountering homophobia.

Furthermore, in line with Chow et al.’s (2017) findings in Peru, we found that social media such as Facebook and Instagram were frequently used venues among SMM. In a context such as Ecuador’s, in which homophobia is frequent both in private and public spaces (INEC, 2013), social media may constitute safer spaces for some SMM to socialize and meet romantic partners without necessarily exposing themselves on widely known SMM-specific apps such as Grindr. Future research in the country should identify how non-SMM specific apps are being used as places to chat and meet other queer members. There ong men who only use social media to connect with other SMM, compared to those who use both SMM-specific apps and other applications. As Gudelunas (2012) suggests, social networks are probably being used alongside SMM-specific apps to cross-reference information about potential partners.

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