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Here’s the Best Reason to Think Twice Before Using Tinder and Grindr

There are many reasons I love being off the market, but I’m especially relieved to be away from the rabbit hole of dating apps like Tinder, as it might be contributing to the rise of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in certain places.

According to a recent examination and news release, Rhode Island’s Department of Health found significant STD increases from 2013 to 2014, with syphilis cases growing by nearly 80 percent, gonorrhea infections spiking 30 percent, and HIV diagnoses jumping nearly 33 percent.

What’s likely to blame for some of these scary high numbers? Dating apps, according to the release.

“High-risk behaviors include using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters, having sex without a condom, having multiple sex partners, and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” the release reads.

Tinder, which exploded in popularity in 2013 and 2014, could be one of the platforms responsible for this uptick in STDs, as users are known for turning to the app for random hook-ups. Grindr, which launched prior to Tinder and enables gay men to have casual sexual encounters as well, may also be at fault.

Courtney McMorrow, a Salve Regina University junior, told USA Today College that the apps’ STD increases make sense given the fact that users aren’t well-acquainted with each other when they first meet.

“People don’t know what they’re getting into and just kind of go for it,” McMorrow said. “So that could really lead to more of a prevalence.”

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University of Rhode Island junior Erin O’Brien pointed out that she’s not sure how many students outright question their sexual partner about their history prior to engaging in sexual activity, and that could be part of the issue at hand.

“I don’t know how many people [get tested] or even ask someone about their history before they hookup,” O’Brien said. “I only know of one girl who actually asks before she does and that’s because she’s part of one of the organizations pushing for students to get tested.”

Though USA Today surveyed 200 students and found many of them use dating apps as a joke, almost 70 percent of participants said they believed hookup apps could spark a rise in STD rates.

Dr. Rosemary Reilly-Chammat, an HIV/AIDS sexuality specialist, said in the Rhode Island release that the STD increase highlights the value of informing young people to take precautions before having sex.

“These new data underscore the importance of encouraging young people to begin talking to a doctor, nurse, or health educator about sexual health before becoming sexually active and especially after becoming sexually active,” Reilly-Chammat said. “It’s never too early to learn about making HIV and STD testing part of routine healthcare. Doctors and nurses are trained to discuss sensitive topics like sex, and conversations with them are confidential. Health educators at schools or community health centers are great resources too.”

In 2013, a New York University study found that Craigslist prompted a 16 percent hike in HIV cases across more than 30 states from 1999 to 2008. The problem is apparently not unique to the United States either; according to Christchurch Sexual Health Clinic, Grindr was connected to more than half of New Zealand’s syphilis cases in 2012. Dr Rosemary Gillespie, chief executive at the UK-based Terrence Higgins Trust, told MailOnline that hookups give people more opportunities than ever before to snag sexual partners. That, of course, comes with immense risk.

“Dating apps have given people more opportunities to meet potential partners than ever before, and we are currently looking at their impact on gay men’s sexual health,” Dr. Gillespie said. “In the meantime, it is really important that the safer sex message stays strong, and that people know how to protect themselves and their partners.”

source: www.attn.com


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How To Turn Dating From A Hassle Into A Positive Experience

Today, I opened up an old email thread I’d had with a friend circa 2009. Apparently, I was pretty bitter back then. As I re-read my own story through this conversation, I saw a woman so jaded by her dating experience that she had decided that there were no good men out there. She was trying to be flippant. But she was angry. And terrified. She was convinced she was doomed to a never-ending ride on some merry-go-round of dating horrors.

This woman is a stranger to me now.

Though I see iterations of her all the time in others. During recent conversations with some of my single friends, I’ve found myself coming face-to-face with my old bitterness.

And even though I’m no longer in this place, I get it. These men and women are hurting, like I was, and don’t trust that their ideal partner is out there. They are tired of first dates that go nowhere and have become more and more convinced that it’s never going to happen.

Unfortunately, most people struggling with dating get stuck in this place, weighed down by the fog of fear — the terrible first date, the disappointing second date, the eventual failure of some future relationship. And some give up all together, convincing themselves that they’re better off alone than being “out there.”

But there is a different way to date. There is an approach that can prevent you from becoming jaded about the admittedly exhausting journey of putting yourself out there. Ultimately, losing faith in the existence of a great partner is not going to help you out if you’re looking for connection. In fact, an open heart is necessary for manifesting real love in our lives.

1. Don’t close up because of a “bad” first date.

For those who date a lot, particularly those who are online dating, the first date can feel like a make-it-or-break-it moment. We often decide right away whether or not the person is right for us based on the “chemistry.” And of course, that almost-inexplicable feeling of connection is important to share with a romantic partner. But it is also something that can grow with time.

If you decide right away that the person in front of you isn’t your ideal match because you’re not feeling sparks, then you might shut yourself off from an enjoyable night, in the least, or from a powerful love, at the greatest.

So it’s essential to be aware of your thoughts. If you find yourself shutting down because you’re not feeling chemistry, catch yourself and experiment with opening up. Some of the most beautiful relationships I’ve had were with men that I didn’t feel immediate chemistry with. Instead, the chemistry grew as I got to know them and saw their beauty.

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2. Focus on looking for the good in the other person.

Our minds are perception-machines. We see what we focus on, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. If we enter a date filled with fear or bitterness, we will view our date through the lens of scrutiny, looking for any ever-so-slight indication that our fear or bitterness is justified.

On your next first date, make a decision to look for the good in the other person. Perhaps it’s the way they treat you with kindness or the way you can tell they love their career. Allow them to reveal themselves. Know that they’re nervous, just like you.

3. Practice optimism (because yes, it’s a practice).

When you feel the negativity monsters chattering in your head while you’re on a date, catch them. You don’t have to try to stop them (they are an unavoidable part of this human existence), but just see that they’re arising and call them out on it.

In those moments when you’re in awareness, you have the power to make a different choice. In that moment that you capture the thought, take a breath and remind yourself that this is an opportunity to learn about another person who just might end up being your person. If you are grounded in the faith that your relationship is coming, then dating with hope and optimism is easier.

4. Use dating as a tool for clarity about what you want.

Sometimes we look for love on autopilot. We will meet someone who checks the boxes of certain characteristics we are looking for, or are reminiscent of others we’ve been with. So we jump right in, assuming the person will be our “type” before we really even get to know them.

But let’s play devil’s advocate here: what if your type may not be a good type for you? That is, if things aren’t working out with the people who fit your type, then maybe it’s time to see this round of your dating experience as an opportunity to redefine what you really want in a partner. It’s a great time to get clear about what you want your future connection to feel like.

Let’s face it, for most, slipping into cynicism sometimes feels easier than remaining positive. But it is entirely possible to date with hope and optimism. Remember, during all of it, you deserve a beautiful love … And, for most, dating is a a prerequisite to finding that love.