The language of hookups: A conversation and self-presentation analysis of Tinder chats


Tinder, a location-based real-time dating application, has significantly influenced the shift in people’s attitudes toward sexual expression and the existing hookup culture.

Using conversation and self-presentation analysis, this research aimed to explore hookups’ communicative patterns and examine how self-presentation manifests in Tinder chats. Some of the determinants of successful and failed hookups are also provided.

Exchanges among some 20 interactants reveal this discursive pattern of hookups: (1) It’s a Match; (2) Opening Sequence; (3) Screening; (4) Transferring to Other Social Networks; (5) Sending Down to Fuck (DTF) Signals; (6) Compromising; and (7) Confirming and Closing.

Interestingly, the performative roles of sex positions play a big part for gay participants. Many of the heterosexual participants, however, still follow the traditional scripting of hookups. Apparently, a hookup is not possible if there is no agreement as to the “where” and “when” of sexual activity. Meanwhile, the predominant image present in hookup-motivated chats is being “provocative” and a “good catch.”