Gay Dating on Non-dating Platforms : The Case of Online Dating Activities of Gay Men on a Q&A Platform

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number298
Journal / PublicationProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW2
Online published11 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


Gay dating applications, such as Grindr and SCRUFF, are considered the primary platforms for gay men to conduct online dating activities. However, on Zhihu, a Chinese question-And-Answer website, tens of thousands of homosexual users have been searching for romantic partners, which suggests that Zhihu may have unique affordances in online dating activities for Chinese gay men. To better understand how Chinese gay men perceive the affordances of a non-dating platform for online dating, we conduct a mixed-methods study, including observations, interviews, and quantitative and qualitative analysis of users' self-presentations. We find that gay men users publish personal ads by answering "fishing questions" on Zhihu. Through our analysis, we examine how users perceive the affordances of Zhihu to satisfy their social and psychological gratifications at the self, community, and audience levels. Although gay users face the risk of disclosing homosexual identity on mainstream social media, they perceive such risk as acceptable for better online dating experience. We discuss how users respond to severe social stigma in China, and the gap between user needs and the design of gay dating applications. We elaborate on the implications of our findings to discuss the potential benefits for LGBTQ users if LGBTQ service providers collaborate with social media.

Research Area(s)

  • Chinese gay men, LGBTQ, online dating, social media

Bibliographic Note

Full text of this publication does not contain sufficient affiliation information. With consent from the author(s) concerned, the Research Unit(s) information for this record is based on the existing academic department affiliation of the author(s).