Tinder Swipes Right on STDs
It’s almost humorous how many blog posts in the past few years have started with “STDs are at an all-time high blah-blah-blah. Dating apps. Millennials. Avocado toast.”
We’ve all read one of these right? Well buckle your seatbelts: You’re about to read another one.
2015 was a hard year for Tinder
We’re approaching the three year anniversary of that time when Tinder, as a company, almost had a complete emotional meltdown. And we know, it’s like yeah, okay, it’s been three years. Leave them alone. But, why let sleeping dogs lie when instead you can dredge up their embarrassing past?
Don’t remember? No worries! We’ll guide you through the play-by-play on Tinder’s momentary breakdown.
In the first week of August 2015, Vanity Fair released an article that pretty much proclaimed Tinder dead and blamed it for the “dating apocalypse.”
One week later, Tinder took to Twitter unleashing a tweet tantrum like no other (try saying that 10 times fast). Over the course of 31 tweets, Tinder basically called Vanity Fair “mean.”
Here are a few:
Yikes. Crazy, right?
The Vanity Fair article was a pretty opinionated piece that focused largely on why modern dating habits might not be the best for women. Most people would have probably viewed the article as archaic, and it would have gotten lost in the sea of non-fact based tirades on the internet… if Tinder hadn’t shed light on it.
The main thing that Tinder accomplished: It proved to be incapable of taking a punch. Like remember in kindergarten when you cried because someone called you four eyes, and then everyone started doing it, just to get a rise out of you?
Yeah, that’s basically what happened to Tinder.
Mid-September 2015, the AIDS healthcare foundation put up a billboard showing depictions of people labeled as different STDs, intimately interacting with other people labeled as dating apps. It looked like this:
Tinder’s reaction was notably less than favorable when they sent a cease and desist letter on September 28, 2015, to the organization. An organization that is literally dedicated to saving lives.
“These unprovoked and wholly unsubstantiated accusations are made to irreparably damage Tinder’s reputation in an attempt to encourage others to take an HIV test by your organization,” Tinder attorney Jonathan Reichman said in a letter to the foundation.
Not a great look, Tinder.
Yeah, 2015 was a pretty hard year for Tinder. But throughout all the criticism, Tinder stood strong and valiantly *ahem* defended itself in the face of adversity. It even looked like they might make it to 2016 without any more controversy. But then came Tinder’s very own boss level of the year: The CDC.
During the last week of September 2015, the CDC released a report showing that from 2015 to 2016, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia were all dramatically on the rise.
- Gonorrhea increased by 18.5 percent
- Syphilis increased by 17.6 percent
- Chlamydia increased by 4.7 percent
After the CDC released these reports, numerous health officials along with online publications jumped at the chance to accuse Tinder, once again, for our society’s STD problem. One public authority went so far as to coin Tinder a “modern bathhouse.”
To be totally fair, there isn’t a whole lot of data out there to back up the claim that STDs are all Tinder’s fault, but, you know…. like… maybe it is. We honestly don’t know.
Flashback to the year 1992.
Everybody loves Pearl Jam, Bill Clinton is president, and it’s Friday night. You can either get a pizza and swing by Blockbuster to rent a new VHS, or you can head out to your local bar. You just got a new pair of JNCO jeans to match your favorite flannel shirt, so you decide the bar is your best option.
Right when you walk in, you see a total babe with hair that’s taller than your TV antenna, so you begin to make your move. Awkward eye contact, side smirking, flirty glances. Does she like you? You can’t be sure, but you’re down to find out.
After a decent amount of weird non-verbal communication, you saunter over and shoot her your most charming pick-up line, “Did it hurt…uh… when you… uh fell …?” Unfortunately, you forgot the second half of your line, so you just stand there open-mouthed for a solid 30 seconds until she turns her back to you, flipping her perfectly teased hair in the process.
As the night goes on, you try your luck a couple more times. You keep fumbling over all the pick-up lines that your big brother taught you because you can’t look them up on google… or research how to flirt. What even is a google??
In the end, you give up and use a payphone to call your pal, because Uber doesn’t exist. You stop to pick up pizza and that new Blockbuster VHS, which you watch until you eventually fall asleep on your couch.
Typical Friday night.
Should Tinder Be Held Accountable?
While not everyone had such a rough time finding their true love back in the “dark ages,”
you have to agree that swiping left and right for a potential mate while sitting on your couch watching Netflix is a lot easier than it was back then.
Tinder, we can’t exactly say that we’d all be better off with you, so don’t worry, no one is proposing a boycott. The main question that needs to be asked here: Is Tinder to blame for the rise in STDs? Humans are not mindless, and the actions of many are never any one company’s fault (See: Facebook).
Short answer: Tinder has provided a service, and it all depends on how we use it. We can’t point fingers at Tinder for our own actions! We can, however, blame Tinder for not educating its users on the dangers of STDs.
Now, if you work at Tinder and you’ve read all the way up to this point, you’re probably itching to jump out of your seat and scream, “YEAH BUT WE CREATED A HEALTH SAFETY SECTION.”
Correctamundo, here is your health safety section:
We’ll come right out and say it: This feels a lot like a disclaimer. Not to mention it’s conveniently tucked away on a corner of the site. So, congrats Tinder, you’ve really done an excellent job of educating your users *cue sarcastic clap*. That’s why literally no one has ever gotten a single STD after using Tinder.
Tinder, if you’re looking for a gold star for all of the special care that you’ve put into preventing the spread of STDs, we’re not going to be the ones to hand it to you. Let us put it in a phrase that you can understand: Don’t @ us.
What Can You Do?
Tinder is really not doing its part to prevent the spread of STDs, but what can you do as an educated, health-minded, modern individual?
1) Know your status.
Be aware of your STD status, so that you can make informed decisions about the protection that you use and the conversations you should have with sexual partners.
2) Maintain Open Communication.
Spend some time talking to your partner about the fact that you’ve been tested, and that it’s important to you that your sexual partner is tested as well. While this can be a mood killer, it’s important to get it out of the way sooner, rather than later.
Realistically, not everyone that you have this conversation with will have been recently tested. It is important to determine beforehand (not in the moment) what you are comfortable with, and what you would like to discuss.
3) Always practice safe sex.
Protection is sooo underrated. If you are meeting with a Tinder date, don’t expect them to bring a condom; be prepared and bring one yourself!
4) Be Aware!
Though STDs can sometimes be asymptomatic (no visible symptoms), it’s still important to know what symptoms to look for! If your partner is experiencing redness, irritation, unusual discharge, and/or inflammation, then you need to hold off on the hookup. Yes kids, we know the lingo. Hook. Up.
It is equally important to remember that alcohol can dull your inhibitions. If you are meeting up with a new fling, consider the importance of being fully capable of making the right call when it comes time to do the deed.
Also, remember that these are all things that you can handle without the help of Tinder. Power to the people, baby.
Are We Just Poking the Beast?
You might be asking, “Hey, STDcheck.com, are you just poking the beast? Waiting to see if Tinder does something dumb again?”
Yes. Yes, we are.
More importantly, though, we’re concerned about your sexual health, which is why we don’t sugar coat when it comes to talking about these pesky little diseases.
Tinder wants to distance its name as far as possible from STDs, but you know what our name is? We’re STD-freakin-check.com.
Knowledge is power y’all. Peace out.
Author: Lauralei Like
Lauralei graduated from SHSU in 2017 with a B.A. in Mass Communication: Public Relations and Advertising. Mass Communication is the perfect term for what she loves to do: Communicate to the masses the importance of destigmatization and promoting an honest conversation surrounding sexual health. Before Lauralei joined STDcheck.com, she worked for a branding and marketing agency, but she longed to work with a company that was committed to creating a meaningful sense of community and making the world a better place; STDcheck.com turned out to be the perfect fit. Lauralei is the official STDcheck.com relationship expert and pun-master. She believes that it is her sworn duty to provide the internet with reliable, well-researched, and probably funny information when it comes to whatever she is writing about. Her writing has been featured in numerous publications, including Bustle, The Epoch Times, Romper, MedTraveler, and Healthable. When Lauralei isn’t writing, she’s playing with her pet bunnies, sewing dresses, or searching for the best new brunch spot.