Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Grindring Bodies: Racial and Affective Economies of Online Queer Desire


Online technologies provide new participatory spaces for gay men to organise sexual and intimate encounters. While these spaces are often characterised as enabling new forms of sexual subjectivity and queer sociability, they mobilise new sexual templates or rules around discourses of whiteness and cultural otherness. Using Foucauldean concepts of subjectivity and disciplinarity in conjunction with Sara Ahmed’s (2006) concepts of racialised affects, labour and performativity, this paper traces the ways in which Grindr, a social networking iPhone application for same-sex attracted men, shapes and regulates intimacies and sexual subjectivities in online space. Grindr provides a forum for users to engage in new forms of pleasure and erotics. However, the encounters between bodies are marked by profiles and conversations which filter and govern intimacy through disciplinary norms around race, masculinity, whiteness, physical aesthetics and geography. Whiteness, in particular, becomes a privileged form desiring capital, enabling bodies that ‘pass’ as ‘White’, while marking out bodies which do not. Racial ‘others’ become produced in this economy of desire as fetishes or repugnant objects. Exploring the construction of multiple sexual subjectivities through an autoethnographic lens, I que(e)ry the transformative and liberatory potential of Grindr by critiquing the intimate relationship between sexuality, desire and race in the context of gay male social networking.


(2011). Grindring Bodies: Racial and Affective Economies of Online Queer Desire

Acceptance Date Dec 30, 2010
Publication Date Apr 1, 2011
Journal Critical Race and Whiteness Studies
Print ISSN 1838-8310
Pages 1 -12
Keywords Grindr, Sexuality, Affect, Race, Technology, Intimacy

Downloadable Citations