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The concept of masculinity is evolving, with critical studies on men and masculinity examining how socio-economic, sexual, and political shifts in our post-industrial society influence this change. New male-identifying subcultures, such as mushroomcore and dandies, have emerged.

Conventional heteronormative masculinity viewed negatively

However, traditional heteronormative masculinity is often viewed negatively, being labeled as threatening, toxic, or maladaptive, particularly in discussions around fragile masculinity.

While using dating apps, there are various types of masculinity and encountered some very offensive and strange behaviors. One especially puzzling trend was how often men disappeared or ghosted when in-person meetings were suggested, even though they claimed to want physical intimacy. This behavior contradicted the common belief that men primarily use dating apps for hookups.

If sex isn’t the main goal, what are straight men seeking on these apps? Are dating apps influencing perceptions of masculinity? And how do these shifts in gender dynamics and technology affect women’s sexual opportunities?

As a sexuality scholar and a woman using dating apps to seek intimacy with men, Treena Orchard of Western University examines critical questions about this experience in her book, Sticky, Sexy, Sad: Swipe Culture and the Darker Side of Dating Apps. Drawing on her academic background in anthropology, she documented her personal experiences from 2017 to 2022 while actively using these apps.

New male subcultures on the rise

Her book uses auto-ethnography, a method that combines documentation, creative writing, memoir, and cultural critique. This approach leverages the researcher’s personal involvement to provide insider insights into specific cultural phenomena. No real names or identifying details are included in her data.

The concept of masculinity is evolving. Critical men and masculinity studies is a growing research area that examines how men’s roles and masculinity are being reshaped by changes in society, economy, sexuality, and politics in our post-industrial era. New male-identifying subcultures have developed but traditional heteronormative masculinity is often seen as problematic, being labeled as threatening, toxic, or maladaptive.

Dating apps offer minimal guidance on how to date, usually just a few basic tips. Men seeking more comprehensive advice can turn to books and coaching services.