For many of us, Tinder is just about fucking, but not for everyone. All photos by author
Tinder is the hook-up generation’s GPS for banging. It’s quick, convenient, and provides access to seeing a new person naked IRL. Is it mainly to get laid? For myself and most people I know, that answer is a loud and inarguable “Obviously.”
But browse through Tinder on any given day and you’ll find people who disagree. Marked with bios that read “No hook-ups, swipe left bitch!” (real message in the bio of somebody I matched with), there are people on the app who legitimately say they’re not on there for a quick orgasm. Some say they want friends, or long-term relationships, while others just want to avoid the emotional turmoil of fuck-and-chuck hook-up culture. Wanting to know a bit more, I asked some women I matched with why they’re not down with hookups.
Fatima, 19, Student
VICE: If not hook-ups, what are you looking for on Tinder?
Fatima: To be honest, at first, I was down for whatever, but after a year of going wild, I told myself my second year of college that I just wanted a boyfriend. [That’s] why I put no hook-ups. I’m still lowkey down [to hook-up], but I’d rather have someone long-term than a one-night stand.
Was there anything in particular that turned you off from hook-up culture?
Lack of attractive guys I guess. Every guy I was down for lived too far for me to travel and every close guy was a fuck boy, so even if I wanted to have a friends with benefits with [somebody], before I could say anything, he was gone.
Have you had any luck with meaningful dates through here yet?
Well, I was a sheltered child so going off to college and being free—I went wild with hook-ups, even my guy friends would give me props and say I’m their idol. [That said], I thought I had one the other day—I was not at all prepared to do anything but maybe a make-out sesh. I thought it went great and the guy said he had fun too, but then he ignored me and I finally got an answer from him which was, “It’s not what I’m in for,” which sucked.
Do you get negative responses when dudes find out you’re not into just hooking up right away?
Not really. I [only] recently started turning people down, and I’ve been doing a horrible job, you feel?
I do. At least you’re trying! What’s your ideal non-hook-up date, if there is one?
Nothing fancy really. I’m not a picky person. Like, as long as I’m with them, we could do anything and it’d be fine. But probably outside of a bedroom would be best. [laughs]
Tiffanie, 20, Swim Coach
VICE: Your bio says to “swipe left” if someone wants to hook-up. Why?
Tiffanie: Tinder hook-ups are not good in my opinion. That’s just my opinion. I think it’s selling yourself short.
What do you mean by that?
I don’t know. Like, you don’t know these people. That alone makes me skeptical of meeting up with somebody. Why would I want to bang them off the bat? It doesn’t make sense. It’s not safe either.
So, are you against all hook-ups or just quick, fast hook-ups? Like, would you go on a date with somebody and then maybe hook-up afterward?
For sure, but they’d have to introduce it as a date and I’d have to like them. If someone’s just in for sex, that’s not something I’m comfortable with. They can do that on their own time and I’m OK with it, I just don’t really want to [be involved] in that sort of thing.
What’s your experience on Tinder been like?
It’s been good—I’ve met great people on here. I have a few good friends now because we met on Tinder. There was a guy I was seeing for a bit off here, but we’re no longer together. We still talk.
Tinder is generally sold as central to the “Netflix and Chill” deal. Would you say it’s built mainly for hook-ups and quick sex?
I don’t think so, at least, not in my experience. It’s a really fast way to meet people, but it’s not like, overly-sexualized, y’know? The only [basis] for liking each other is appearance and a little bit in your bio, so you know a person thinks you’re hot or cute, but that’s about it. I think a lot of my friends are attractive, and I think I like them more because of that, but does that mean I want to have sex with them? No.
Whitney, 19, Retail
VICE: When did you start using Tinder?
Whitney: I started using Tinder when I first broke up with my boyfriend in May 2014. We’ve been on and off ever since but I’m on it again because I think [he] and I are officially done.
Why did you choose the no hook-up policy on here?
Well, I don’t think hooking up with other guys is the right way to get over someone. It just ends up making me feel disgusted and upset with myself.
Have you used Tinder for hook-ups in the past?
No, I normally used Tinder just to meet new people, but sometimes it leads to hook-ups. Now I just tend to avoid it.
What about hooking up casually makes you feel bad about yourself?
In the past, I would’ve used hooking up to make me feel complete. I haven’t been “alone” in three years, so when I was, hooking up with someone was the way to go—especially with my close guy friends. Eventually people started calling me a whore, and I became something that I didn’t want to be anymore. I guess I’m trying to cope with being single by not hooking up with people anymore, [so I’m] trying to find a new distraction in my life.
On the reverse side, has anyone got mad that you didn’t want to hook-up?
No, I’ve never actually had anyone get mad at me, which is kind of surprising since it’s Tinder.
Karen, 19, Undeclared
VICE: Alright, if you don’t me asking, why don’t you have ‘No hook-ups’ in your bio?
Karen: Well, just because I’m not on Tinder for hook-ups doesn’t mean I’m opposed to it. Like, my general motive on Tinder is just to talk to cool people, but if a hook-up becomes a thing then maybe I would.
That makes sense. Do you usually tell people that off the bat or do you wait until they ask you to hook-up?
I pretty much wait until they ask. I find it weird to announce a no hook-up policy. It’s like, would I go up to someone I just met in real life and tell them I have a no hook-up rule?
What’s the response been when you tell somebody you’re not about quick hook-ups?
I usually just ghost those people. Unless I’ve formed a friendship with them, then I’ll tell them. Most people I end up befriending and asking have been super respectful and we just continue being friends. But the few times guys would throw temper tantrums and call me rude things, or they’ll keep trying to convince me to [bang].
That’s something that seems to be a common sentiment about women I know who use Tinder. How often do you find yourself telling people no?
I actually haven’t been on Tinder for a while. I was in a relationship and completely deactivated my account, I just got back on a week ago. So far, none, but I think [back then] I got it quite a lot. Like I said, I’d just ghost them.
With all that stress, do you think Tinder’s worth its weight for you?
Kind of. I mean, I’ve honestly met a lot of cool ass people who have, one way or another, really changed my life and helped me grow as a person. I think the shittiness of it is worth it when you find some people you can bond with that you maybe wouldn’t have met in real life.
Nikita, 19, Student
VICE: I’ll start off by asking the obvious: why choose Tinder for not wanting to hook-up?
Nikita: Mostly because a lot of my friends have formed meaningful relationships with guys off Tinder that didn’t necessarily start off with sex.
Do you find yourself getting a lot of people hitting you up just to bang?
How long does it usually take before they drop the question?
Usually four or five messages, but some will directly message me something sexual as their first message, which I do appreciate more because it’s direct and I know what they’re all about.
Do people ever get mad at you for saying “No thanks”?
Not really, but I am pretty straightforward about no hook-ups in my bio. I do find that guys have trouble believing I’m not looking for a hook-up though, but no one has really gotten angry about it.
That’s interesting that they ignore your bio or think you’re lying. Have you went on any successful dates through Tinder yet?
Interviews have been edited slightly for clarity.
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