top of page

How Grindr Creates A Lack of Intimacy: 3 Ways to Have Better Gay Sex & Intimacy

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

So you're on Grindr and it doesn't really seem to be working. You're not meeting the guys you'd like to create connections with, you feel a little bit icky sometimes after using the app, you want more gay friends (maybe some of them can be lovers too...we're flexible, who knows). It seems like it doesn't matter how much sex you're having, it doesn't seem to be fulfilling you as much as you think it could.

In 2023, loneliness and lack of connection is plaguing LGBTQ+ men. We live in an age where sexual connection is literally at our fingertips and we can organise an erotic encounter within 30 minutes of getting the itch. What are the costs to our emotional wellbeing of this sex-on-tap way of relating to our fellow queer men?


You may recall the 2018 Vox article that revealed 77% of Grindr app users reported feeling "regretful" after using the app. Five years on, and after a global pandemic, gay men are still struggling to navigate this space of loneliness, trying to fulfil their sexual needs, and desiring authentic relationships with other gay & queer men.


The History of Gay Men's Sex is Full of Secrecy


In order to protect their livelihood, reputation and life (i.e not get killed or arrested) gay men have needed to hide their sexual encounters. The underground culture that started in clubs, beats, and hidden rooms continues to influence modern gay lifestyles. Although the dating app, Grindr, allows users to be as open or discreet as they wish to be, often the app is full of anonymous users who do not show their identity. In this way, instead of connecting to a human, you connect to a body. Although this may fulfil our erotic needs, it certainly does not create intimacy without some additional effort needed (see my 3 steps at the end of this blog post).


Eroticism & Intimacy Are Not Mutually Inclusive


It's easy to falsely assume erotic and intimate experiences are the same thing. This assumption places false expectations in our mind, which isn't helping us have better gay sex. We often use the terms interchangeably, creating the expectation or belief that intimacy begets eroticism, or that erotic encounters mean that intimacy is present. This incorrect expectation creates a highly eroticised and sexually liberated, yet disconnected proportion of LGBTQ+ men who often struggle with a lack of honest, real and vulnerable relationships that fulfil them beyond the bedroom.


andreas embodiment erotic to intimate scale

Eroticism makes us feel: aroused, horny, excited, full-of-adrenaline, hot.

Intimacy makes us feel: vulnerable, connected, loving, open and dreamy.


To create fulfilling and connecting intimacy, it requires these four pillars:

  • Honest Communication with each other

  • Mutual Respect & Understanding

  • A Sense of Trust

  • Vulnerability

On the sliding scale between erotic and intimate, we almost all crave both types of connection in our lives. Some guys crave a little bit more of the erotic, and others desire more intimacy in their relationships.


Too often, the erotic experiences gay men are having on Grindr fall-short of these four pillars. At best, they may have one. This perpetuates a lack of intimacy in the gay dating experience.


The Dating App Intimacy Gap

Grindr is very good at facilitating erotic connections, whether its spicy sexting, sending nudes or going over to meet the guy(s). Where the app often falls short, is in creating intimacy.


So you're on Grindr, or maybe it's Scruff, etc, and it doesn't really seem to be working. You're not meeting the guys you'd like to create authentic connections with, you feel a little bit icky sometimes after using the app, you want more gay friends (maybe some of them can be lovers too...we're flexible, who knows). It seems like it doesn't matter how much sex you're having, it doesn't seem to be fulfilling you as much as you think it could.


ASK YOURSELF RIGHT NOW: What am I truly seeking in my relationships? Is what I'm seeking actually INTIMACY, but I'm searching for it in EROTICISM?


The amount of sex you're having cannot fulfil your desire for intimacy with other men, unless you're having -actual - intimate sexual encounters. The gap between your desire for intimacy, and the level of intimacy you're acquiring with the guys you meetup with, will reflect the level of satisfaction you feel towards your sex & dating encounters and directly influence how fulfilled you feel in your life.


3 Ways to Create Better Gay Sex & Intimacy Whilst Using Grindr (#3 is My Favourite)


1. Communicate what you're truly feeling. What are you up for and what are you not? What are you seeking? Don't kid yourself. If you're actually seeking connection with another man who seem's friendly and cool... and you say you're seeking "a dom top" it's likely not going to fulfil your needs beyond the level of physical/ sexual. Say what you are actually seeking, and be frank about it. By being the person who says "I want to get to know someone a bit and if we click then I'm open to having sex" it will sort out the guys that are never going to meet you where you want them to (i.e fulfil your intimacy needs) from those that are open to it.


2. Slow it Down - the more transactional you make the experience, the more transactional it will feel. If you want intimacy, slow it down, get to know someone over multiple days on the app, maybe even go on a date first (or a few, who's counting?!). This doesn't have to mean you want to marry the man, but it will help you create more intimacy and genuine connection with him. It will fulfill you on a deeper level.


3. Set the Standard - if you don't set the standard, then he will. Victoria Redbard, one of the sexuality coaches that taught me, calls this "Being the Stronger Mirror". I call it Setting the Standard because I see it as setting the standard for what you are willing to accept, and what you aren't. It's important to understand what your true desires are so that when you engage in conversations with other guys, you can stay in integrity and not erode your own boundaries. If you're desiring deeper intimacy, and you say yes to fucking a stranger after 4 minutes of conversation night after night, you are doing yourself a disservice (no shame here boo, if you genuinely love that, it's fulfilling you, and it's working...then go for it.). Too many guys though, are telling themselves they want one thing, but deep down, they want the other thing. It gets to be a "Yes, And...". You get to have sex AND intimacy. It's not one or the other, unless you decide it is. It's not one or the other, unless you set the standard at that level.


Although Grindr and other dating apps have made it easier to connect with other queer men, these platforms often fail to provide the intimacy and emotional connection that many users desire. This perpetuates the gap between the desire for intimacy and the level of fulfilment experienced in sexual and dating encounters.To bridge this gap, it's important to recognise that eroticism and intimacy are not the same thing.


If you're using Grindr and feel unsatisfied with your experiences, it's essential to ask yourself what you truly seek in your relationships.


If you're in Australia and you want to connect with like-minded guys in a relaxed environment that deliberately explores intimacy and eroticism, you might like to check out the Men's Tantric Retreat that I'm hosting in March 2024.






bottom of page