A while back, we looked at the social media dating scene, which has exploded due to the huge increase in teens and young adults living online, in a digital Brave New World.

As it happens, HIV is not digital and, after years of decline, according to the BBC, it is increasing due to the online hookup culture.

While HIV infection rates have been falling globally in the past 10 years or so, among adolescents in some regions they have been on the rise – prompting fears of a “hidden epidemic”.

One in eight new HIV infections occurs in this group of young people.

In Asia, according to a recent Unicef report, the epidemic is growing fastest in young gay and bisexual men. And one of the factors behind this trend is thought to be an increase in casual sex with multiple partners, driven by mobile dating apps. More.

Most of the remedies proposed (more acceptance of the dating app sexual culture, etc.) sound useless or likely to make the problem worse. They amount to trying to teach people to be careless carefully. It doesn’t work, but it displays good grantsmanship.

Incidentally, a useful source of scholarly links to articles on the impact of social changes in the family on each other is Marripedia, “an online social science encyclopedia on all matters related to family, marriage, religion, and sexuality.”

A page worth noting in the context of dating apps is “Effects of Divorce on Children’s Sexual Activity. Not surprisingly, we learn, among other things, that

– Children from divorced families have an earlier sexual debut than children from intact families. This also holds true for children raised without a biological father present. (In short, they become involved with sex without successful adult role models or much guidance or life experience. Many will end up constantly seeking the stable and nurturing relationships that they are simply not adapted to find.)

– The influences of divorce on sexual behavior extends into adulthood: Adults raised in divorced families are more likely to engage in short sexual affairs and also have more sexual partners than adults from intact families. (They may not have much experience with making relationships work for long, and after a while may not even seek them. The world of the dating app is perfect for them.)

See also:

How Internet dating affects teens: Commercializing Brave New World Internet relationships: casual, evanescent, faceless, and graceless

Why the explosion of Internet dating? Huge increase in singles living online.

How Internet dating helps to mainstream porn. It will be hard to maintain laws against child pornography.

This vid unintentionally gives a sense of the futility of the “education” approach to dealing with the depersonalization of sex. Viewer discretion advised. It’s not profane or obscene; rather, people who find this approach to relationships normal or usual probably won’t look after their own or others’ well-being very effectively.


Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.

Denyse O’Leary is an author, journalist, and blogger who has mainly written popular science and social science. Fellow Canadian Marshall McLuhan’s description of electronic media as a global village...