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The Renaissance of Queer Cruise Apps

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The Renaissance of Queer Cruise Apps

one night tonight Last February, over drinks and the lighting of a bar in Brooklyn, Eric Green and his friends were swapping stories of their recent encounters when one mentioned that he had used the app. sniff have sex in public. Green, a 30-year-old tattoo artist working in Bushwick, Brooklyn, identifies as bottoming, is a frequent user of dating apps, and has an active sex life; Only he had never heard of Sniffies.

It wasn’t long after that night of partying that Green was overcome with “complete and total excitement” while at home and decided to sign up himself. When he opened the app, it reminded him of Google Maps, only instead of restaurants and shopping recommendations, he was inundated with nudes and suggestions about the nearest place. “I expected it to be like Grindr and Jack’d, but after checking it out I realized it was super accessible,” says Green, referring to two other popular gay dating platforms. “More accessible than any other application.”

Access is Sniffies’ main selling point. A map-based cruising platform for men of all sexual identifications (gay, bisexual, D.L., and pure curiosity (yes, you read that right), Sniffies has become something of an adults-only Disneyland for queer men interested in sex-positive, no-strings-attached casual encounters. “We really focused on in-the-moment connections,” says Eli Martin, the company’s chief marketing officer and creative director. “On other apps, it’s not always clear what people’s intentions are (some people want to find a boyfriend, others just want to look around), but on Sniffies we try to make it clear that people are satisfying their desires and fetishes sexual”.

Sniffies is not your typical dating app, or even a dating app, for that matter. Instead of the typical song and dance of Tinder or Bumble, where conversations bog down in endless chatter that often never materializes into an IRL meetup, on Sniffies you can anonymously browse a map of guys looking for sex with other guys. Along with web applications BKDR (short for back door), motto and double list (think more streamlined Craigslist personals), has reignited an appeal in cruising culture that had long been taboo, even among certain queer circles, for fear of acceptance or health concerns.

“Destigmatizing casual sex has been our biggest hurdle overall,” Martin says. “It is ingrained in us to be monogamous, but we should have this sexual freedom. Cruising doesn’t have to be seedy or something that only happens in back alleys.” Fortunately, he says, that is changing. “In recent years, we’ve been able to enjoy it more without judging it as much, but it was still difficult on the first day, because I thought, how do we create an app that (not only is cool) but that works? To continually push people to participate?

Released in 2018, Sniffies was the brainchild of former Seattle architect Blake Gallagher. Gallagher, a problem solver by nature, was fascinated by the way urban environments influence sexual interactions. He wanted to better increase natural human connection in public spaces and decided to implement a map feature and geolocation technology as the basis for Sniffies, taking advantage of what author Jack Parlett calls “The democratic potential of the cruise..” Gallagher first tested his idea in Seattle and, with the help of his brother Grant, a programmer, slowly turned Sniffies into what it is today: a “cruise app for the curious” with a global reach. ever increasing.

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