“The public performance of affection, validation, being ‘in love’ are all culturally acceptable and, in fact, apps like Facebook and Instagram provide a space in which ‘love’ can be observed with relatively little danger of any physical interaction,” Jacobsen said.
Tinder – the first smartphone dating app to use a “swipe” gesture to accept or reject potential matches based on little more than a photograph – was first launched in 2014.
A user can potentially flag interest in hundreds or even thousands of profiles in a short span of time. Once two users are matched, they can then chat to share information about each other or arrange a meeting.
An i Phone version was released on Wednesday this week.
The app’s creators, Mobimedia, say that while the functionality of Matchstix is almost identical to Tinder – matching users who “swipe right” on each other – a key difference is that it’s not being marketed as a way to “hook up” or even primarily to find romance.
“It is unprecedented from an evolutionary standpoint.” The magazine also quoted Christopher Ryan, one of the co-authors of Sex at Dawn, a book about human beings being naturally polyamorous, who said that he was troubled by behaviour caused by dating apps like Tinder.
“It’s the same pattern manifested in porn use,” he said.
“We have this installed on a big screen in our offices, it’s actually quite interesting to watch.” Trude Jacobsen, a history professor at Northern Illinois University who researches Cambodian gender and sexuality, said she wasn’t surprised that Tinder hadn’t taken off amongst Cambodians.
Sex outside of wedlock tended to be something that men engaged in with sex workers at specific times in their lives, she said.
“In fact, I can see a lot of cultural confusion occurring as Westerners used to the overt hookup culture of Tinder get on it in Cambodia and are dismayed to find their ‘acceptable swipes’ suddenly sending them emojis of teddy bears and hearts!