Preferences And Mental Health
Is race-based dating on apps affecting our mental health.
A study called Sexual Racism Is Associated with Lower Self-Esteem and Life Satisfaction in Men Who Have Sex With Men is, unsurprisingly, just about that. The study was published last month in the Archives of Sexual Behavior and led by Dr. Michael Thai from Australia’s University of Queensland.
In conducting the study, Dr. Thai and associates surveyed over 1,000 men in Australia. Three-fourths of the men were white and only the remaining quarter were men of color (of varying races). All of the men were found and contacted through Grindr.
In the survey, respondents were asked a series of questions about their experience with race and dating. These questions include, “How often are you rejected in the domain of sex and dating due to your race.” Respondents then answered through a sliding scale of answers that went from “never” to “always.”
Another question asked respondents to agree or disagree on another sliding scale about self-esteem and life satisfaction. The question went, “I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on an equal plane with others.”
In the end, the results found that self-esteem and lower life satisfaction were connected to race-based dating. In addition, Asian and South Asian respondents reported experiencing what Thai categorized as sexual racism the most while White respondents reported it the least.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a racial minority or if you’re white – when it comes to dating, being discriminated against because of your race hurts for everyone,” said Thai.
He continued, “The good thing for white men, though, is they don’t appear to experience this form of discrimination very often. Men of color, on the other hand, report experiencing it a lot more.”
The Preference Discussion
But again, this just brings up the ever ongoing discrimination or preference conversation that has been rampant since dating apps took over gay dating and sex. We’re sure there are many readers right now groaning in front of their phones and computers. And honestly, some of that is fair given the unending quality of this topic. But to Dr. Thai, the conversation is still very much important.
As Thai states, “There is contention regarding whether discriminating between potential sexual and romantic partners based on race constitutes racism, with some considering it a form of racial bias and others maintaining that it merely reflects benign personal preference.”
To that, he responds, “regardless of whether or not it is actually racist, it is certainly not benign; experiencing race-based sexual discrimination in dating is associated with detriments to psychological well-being much in the same way experiencing general forms of racial discrimination is.”
In response to this data, Thai suggests that dating apps find ways to fight anti-discrimination and race-based dating. He hopes to see more apps promoting messages against the prior such as Grindr’s Kindr initiative.
But as we’ve stated before, with dating being a key factor in individual happiness, is such a fight going to stay consistent? And should it? Let us know your thoughts down below.