You’ve been single for what feels like forever, so you finally cave and download that dating app all your friends have been pushing on you. What’s the harm, right? Maybe you’ll meet a cute guy, maybe you’ll just get a free meal out of it, either way it’s a win win. But what if there’s more to this ‘dating app culture’ than meets the eye? What if there is something going on behind the scenes of these dating apps that they don’t want you to know about. Well, we’ve figured it out and our findings are frightening, so here it is: science says, this is what to expect if you swipe right.
Single handedly, Tinder and Grindr have played a major role in raising the STD rate, but they won’t talk about it. You may think, “C’mon! the chances of me meeting someone with a sexually transmitted disease are low and besides, I practice safe sex.” Your optimism is cute, but it’s far from accurate. Turns out, the United States has the highest rate of STDs according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). One of their latest reports shows that reported cases of STDs are on the rise in an alarming rate with individuals under 25 years of age having the highest risk of contracting an STD. The report also shows an overall increase of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. Calling all twenty-something’s, it’s time to get checked!
And if you take those findings, combine them with the report by the Pew Research Center on online dating, you have yourself the perfect storm to contract an STD or STI in today’s online dating culture. The PRC report shows that individuals 18 to 24 who use online dating has pretty much tripled in only two years, from 10 percent in 2013 to 27 percent in 2015.
Also, studies conducted on the sex lives of dating app users suggests that people who use dating apps are more sexually active than non-users. Makes sense, right? Most people don’t just download OkCupid just to daydream about meeting someone… they go balls to the walls and try to meet as many people as possible. So if you’ve been using the “cross your fingers and hope for the best” method to avoid STD’s and STI’s, the stats are definitely against you.
To put it into perspective, these are the latest stats on the most common STDs according to The American Sexual Association:
STIs: One in two sexually active persons will contract an STI by age 25.
If you have three best friends, and you’re all sexually active, how many of you will most likely get an STI before your midlife crisis?
HPV: At least 80% of sexually active people will have an HPV infection at some point in their lifetime.
And let me tell you, men cannot get tested for HPV so they don’t even know they’re spreading it… how unfair is that?
Herpes: About 1 in 8 people aged 14-49 in the U.S. has genital herpes.
Remember those stomach turning pictures in sex ed… yeah, same.
Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis: In 2015, rates of these common reportable STIs reached a record high level.
At your age, you’re gonna be having a lot of urges. You’re gonna wanna take off your clothes and touch each other. But if you do touch each other, you will get chlamydia and die…. Maybe Coach Carr was right???
Hepatitis: Approximately 850,000 persons are living with hepatitis B in the U.S.
HIV: 1.1 million people in the US are living with HIV, and 1 in 7 of them don’t know it.
Imagine being that 1…
Try telling me these findings don’t have ‘epidemic’ written all over it. I mean, dating apps are literally called ‘digital bathhouses’ by healthcare officials for a reason and there’s no sign of this STD epidemic getting better any time soon. Tinder and Grindr alone have approximately 60 million users altogether and these dating apps are not necessarily promoting safe sex, so statistics speak for themselves. It’s really up to you to take matters into your own hands in order to be safe and stay healthy.
And yes, you might practice safe sex, but there is absolutely no guarantee that the next person you have sex with does the same. There are many factors that contribute to the practice of safe sex and unfortunately, there’s always a risk.
The scariest part is, safe sex doesn’t even protect you from all STDs and STIs, some can be contracted from skin-to-skin contact. That means BJ’s, dry humping, having a little cut on your hand when you give a handy… the possibilities are seriously endless and terrifying. Now, I’m not telling you to swear yourself to celibacy until you meet the one, both get tested, and then decided to do it. I’m just saying stay on top of your shit and be aware.
It’s gotten to the point where asking your potential online date for a current STD testing result should be the norm, so you might as well start there. Did you know there’s a thing called Same Day STD Testing? It’s best not to rely on trust or the honor system, especially with someone you just met and only exchanged a few words over text. How often do you find a guy who’s willing to open up and tell you about his STD status on the first date, or second date, or ever quite frankly, if all he’s looking for is a casual relationship? Literally never.
And even if you do come across this unicorn man who’s super open, he might have something and not even know. There are STDs that have no symptoms; such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV and herpes, not to mention those that go undiagnosed for a long time. It’s best to play it safe, beside all of the physical and emotional problems that come with testing positive for an STD or STI, some STDs can have irreversible consequences for a woman’s reproductive system such as infertility.
People who practice online dating are not particularly including their sexual medical history on their profile, so you have to be extra careful when deciding to use dating apps and when choosing who to have sexual intercouse with. Let’s say you have a big heart and like to give people the benefit of a doubt. The truth is, people lie and it’s more common that we’d like to admit it. You might not want to lose faith in humanity, but your health is at stake here. We’re all at risk of contracting an STD but all signs point to perpetual dating app users having a higher risk, so you might just want to reconsider before you go to swipe right.