Anticipating touch: Haptic geographies of Grindr encounters in Newcastle‐upon‐Tyne, UK

Carl Bonner-Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, I use a haptic geographical framework to explore the embodied, material and spatial anticipations of offline Grindr encounters - or hook-ups – that happen in users homes. I bring haptic geographies in conversation with geographical work on sexuality and the digital to explore how a desire to touch is reconfigured when people meet in ‘the flesh’. Grindr is a location-based dating/hook-up app that is used mainly by men looking for encounters – sexual, romantic, friendships, dates, online and offline – with other men. I draw on 30 semi-structured interviews and four participant research diaries from Grindr users in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in North East England. By using haptic geographies, I examine gender and sexuality at the bodily and domestic scale. I explore how touch and place are co-constituted, arguing that men who use Grindr are learning how to negotiate their erotic Grindr practices through anticipations, identities and places that encounters are situated. Focusing on the embodied and spatial anticipations enables an understanding of the ways corporeal and digital practices are co-constituted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • anticipation
  • digital geographies
  • feminist methodology
  • geographies of sexualities
  • haptic geographies
  • home


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