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The sociocultural context in which women find themselves continues to involve elements of both pleasure and danger (Farvid & Braun 2013; Vance, 1984).Such contradictions provide the backdrop within which women traverse technologically mediated domains such as Tinder, online dating and mobile dating.In this paper we begin to address this gap by reporting on a small research project that examined five young heterosexual women’s experiences of using Tinder in New Zealand.We argue that Tinder was situated within (and reproduced) a contradictory domain imbued elements of both pleasure and danger.Over the past two decades, Western ideals of heterosexual femininity and women’s sexuality have been shifting.With desirous female sexuality, autonomy and power are celebrated publicly (Evans, Riley & Shankar, 2010).In what continues to be a society governed by patriarchal power relations, struggles against sexual assault and gender-based violence remain life-threatening risks for women (Gavey, 2005; Vance, 1984).At the same time as women are encouraged to explore their sexuality and be sexually active, explorative and experienced (Farvid, 2014; Farvid & Braun, 2006) they are warned against, and live in a context where, there are real material risks associated with doing so (Farvid & Braun 2013, 2014).
The have/hold discourse draws on traditional and religious ideals to promote a conventional marriage-type heterosexual union.
In her highly influential work, Wendy Holloway (1989) identified three discourses governing contemporary heterosexuality (which produce different subject positions and types of power for men and women): the male sexual drive discourse, the have/hold discourse, and the permissive discourse.
The male sexual drive discourse posits that men are driven by a biological necessity to procure and engage in heterosex, and once aroused, must experience sexual release via coitus and orgasm.
We first situate the discourses underpinning contemporary understandings of female heterosexuality, which shape women’s dating and intimate experiences with men in contradictory ways.
We then explicate what Tinder is and how it works, followed by discussing research on technologically mediated intimacies (Farvid, 2015a) before presenting the project details and our analysis.