Casual Sex With A Safety Net

Feb 9 2013 @ 7:39pm

You’ve probably heard about the new Facebook app, “Bang With Friends,” which allows users to choose the friends they would have sex with and then are notified when those same friends have chosen them. Amanda Hess’ reaction:

The male dominance of hook-up apps is an extension of the gender split in the programming world at large, where women make up just 18 percent of computer science grads and 19 percent of career programmers. At many prominent firms, their representation dwindles to the single digits. A very select few make their way to the top. That’s a problem for virtual hook-up pioneers, who would be smart to heavily favor the female perspective in order to recruit enough women to level the playing field. After Blendr’s 2011 release, Ann Friedman outlined a few ways developers could actually make hook-up apps more appealing to hetero women, like putting the messaging power solely in the hands of female users, or allowing women to publicly endorse their male friends—not to rep their prowess in bed, but to vouch for their capability to treat women like people.

Dan Savage thinks the app shows promise for women seeking sex:

By definition the guys a woman meets through Bang With Friends aren’t strangers. These are guys that the women on the site know. (In theory at least—some people are Facebook friends with strangers.) And while a woman can certainly be victimized, infected, sexually assaulted, or knocked up by a guy she knows, a woman is more likely to… know something about a guy she knows. She’s likelier to have some sense of whether this guy is a good guy or a bad guy, she may know other women he’s been with (or, ahem, she may know the woman he’s currently with), and she may have some friends in common. That last bit is especially important: a sexually impulsive act with someone in your social circle comes with a degree of social accountability. Anonymous hookups do not. And it’s that degree of social accountability that’s key, I think, to making a Grindr for straight people work.