The rise of smartphone dating apps on devices powered by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)‘s iOS and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)‘s Android, like Grindr and Tinder, has made it easier than ever for people of all persuasions to hook up with like-minded individuals for the purposes of chatting, dating, or a sexual tryst (or ten). Indeed, we live in a golden age of hook-up capability, where steamy sex with a willing stranger could be just a swipe away.
Beyond dating apps, we’re also seeing the growth of a subset of sex-related apps, some of which may be pushing the boundaries of what could be considered good taste. Take for instance the LickThis app, which promises to teach people how to be better please women orally through a series of tongue exercises that involve them licking their smartphone screen (let’s hope that’s a new screen cover). Perhaps even creepier in a nerdy sabermetrics kind of way is the Spreadsheets app, which can track the duration and prowess of your sexual encounters, including your thrusts per minute (presumably, more thrusts is better, even if you look like a maniac while having sex).
– If you’re all hot and steamy for some action after reading this article, be sure to check out the 10 Best Free Dating Apps for Android Phones.
Of greater concern to investors of these companies is whether or not some of these apps could fall into the wrong (young) hands and lead to lawsuits against the apps’ makers and/or Apple and Alphabet themselves, should use of such apps lead to criminal activity or other lawsuits related to their usage (or misusage).
Privacy concerns are paramount when it comes to such sensitive usage information, and we’ve already seen alarming accusations of that privacy being breached. Canadian company Standard Innovation Corp., maker of the We-Vibe vibrator and its accompanying app, which can be used remotely by a partner to pleasure their distant lover, was recently sued by an American woman who claimed the app collected and shared highly sensitive information related to its usage. Available on both Apple and Google’s App Stores, the app not only allows passing of the vibrator’s control back and forth between partners, but also video and voice chat.
Of even greater concern is the accessing of sexually-charged dating apps by children (some of which specifically target children), which has made those apps fertile ground for sexual predators. One such app is Blushr, an online dating platform for teens which was founded in part thanks to £36,000 in British government funding. While the app developers claim it’s a “social” app and not a dating app, the app’s emphasis on judging others’ physical appearance and stating whether you have a “crush” on them or not clearly gives it a dating/sexual vibe. The British government has since said that they have no further relationship with the company and are unaware of any impropriety resulting from its use.
An investigation launched by Good Morning Britain found that a person posing as a 13-year-old girl could easily create accounts on the dating apps Hot or Not and MyLOL, where she was promptly contacted by a slew of older men, including one who said he had a “fetish for younger“. Yellow is another app that claims to be targeted at older people, but through which children of any age can sign up without difficulty. Users of that app can then undertake searches to target kids as young as 13, many of whom know the app is “all about sex“.