Tinder sparks heated debate over burning pee, fires up changes

Online dating app Tinder has undergone a major facelift through recent updates. Joining forces with Healthvana, a patient-engagement platform for health clinics, Tinder now sports an interface that allows its users to locate health facilities that test for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). These are the first dating app changes of their kind to occur in response to the strong association between an increase in the spread of STIs and an increase in the use of dating apps.

More important than the change of Tinder’s interface is the cultural changes these updates signify: society has adapted intercourse into a level of convenience requiring a mere tap of the screen of a cell phone with no regard for potential repercussions. One would think a grown adult frequenting a university, college or other form of higher education establishment would consider their health enough to inquire into the health of another prior to engaging that person sexually. However, studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest otherwise, as roughly half of the tens of millions of new, annual STI cases within the United States occur in those aged 15-24.

While some may blame a lack of sexual education, organizations like the AIDS Healthcare Foundation claim Tinder is at fault for rising STI rates. Though Tinder may successfully allow someone to objectify individuals in set radii from them, the app itself is not to blame. Actually, the app was forged from the same fire that produced increased STI rates: instant gratification. The Millennial Generation has grown accustomed to having their desires met instantaneously. The availability of the internet through virtually any electronic device has reinforced demand for prompt service. Smartphones place all the world’s knowledge into the palm of their users’ hands. Online retailers make driving to the store old-fashioned. Netflix is the product of this generation, providing instant access to movies and shows without the inconvenience of commercials to hinder viewers’ needs to watch multiple seasons of a television show in a single day, all because desires should be met now. Society wants to lose or gain weight now; watch television shows now; get answers to questions, immaterial or otherwise, now. Society wants sex now, and without hindrances like courtship, health checks and contraceptives.
Regardless of the views on instant gratification and the digital era, their societal impact cannot be doubted. Sex is now available through handheld, mobile dating apps. As change in the societal attitude of instant gratitude is not foreseeable, it would not be farfetched to imagine sex becoming more easily attainable as time passes. So, as long as the trend continues, Tinder’s update is quite commendable. That is not to say that the application of instant gratitude to sex is morally justifiable, as it is not; but if sex is happening, at least there are measures to ensure its participants’ safety.