Sniffies gay cruising: The site aims to help guys reconnect this post-pandemic summer.

This post is separate of Outward, Slate ’ s dwelling for coverage of LGBTQ life, thought, and acculturation. Read more here .
While it ’ sulfur hard to say whether the post–COVID vaccine period will bring on a billow of hedonism like the celebrated decade that followed the 1918 pandemic, a quick scan of the maskless, largely naked boys of New York ’ s Jacob Riis Beach on a holocene weekend suggests that, at least for the local anesthetic curious crowd, the ’ 20s are entering a full bellow, baby. And as bottoms, tops, and N95s hit the floor this Pride month, a raw hookup web site ( that ’ s web site, not app ) has poised itself to strut past the more familiar Grindrs and Scruffs on our phones and capitalize on all the horned-up, post-quarantine energy .
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Sniffies is an upstart gay hookup site (NSFW!) that ’ s seeking to harken back to the old days of cruise, giving users a freak-forward user interface that shreds the decency mandates of the app stores and allows users to instantly locate the nearest cock or ass float ( literally, as photograph icons ) around in their neighborhoods on a live update GPS function. The overture cuts out the long-winded texting and etiquette now thus common on the traditional apps and in some ways calls back to the experience of the bathhouse—only in this shell, the bathhouse is a five-mile radius of city blocks .
The have of logging on for the first time to find yourself immersed in a sea of genitals is both thrilling and overwhelming. Sniffies encourages users to get out of the family and explore what ’ s around them, mapping out a network of cruising blistering spots from public restrooms and wooded enclaves to porn theaters and aura holes. Users are only visible when actively connected to the web site, and the UI leans into this ephemerality by regularly purgatorial chats and find histories. Where a Grindr hookup might be months in the hold, if person is presently logged on to Sniffies, you have a pretty good mind they ’ re good about meeting up then and there, wherever that may be .
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When I first stumbled across Sniffies in the midst of quarantine-induced thirst, it struck me how much I appreciated the simple rejoice of seeing the real-life bodies of my neighbors, albeit normally from the waist down. In the age of working from home, Sniffies is the ideal release to find no-strings-attached, casual hookup or lunch break sexual experiment. My first base hookup over the web site came a couple of months ago, concisely after leaving the gymnasium on a Wednesday good afternoon. Feeling excessively worn out to bike home right away, I loaded up the map and started up a conversation with an appealing torso halfway to my apartment who invited me over in between oeuvre calls for some post-workout “ convalescence. ”
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information about Sniffies ’ origins is hard to come by. The site has existed in some mannequin or another since 2018, but only in the past year—especially since the tease of pandemic restrictions—has it in truth seemed to materialize. To learn more, I spoke to Sniffies ’ foreman market military officer Eli Martin. I asked Martin to explain the app ’ s funny name, its space in the zeitgeist, and what it may have to say about the future of hooking up .
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Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clearness .
Rhodes Murphy: Can you tell me just a little bit about Sniffies’ origins? Where did the idea come from?
Eli Martin : The name Sniffies originally came from an earlier site that was built for deal underwear .
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Oh my God, amazing. I’ve been so curious about the name. It’s so weird.
Yeah, that ’ s what that was in the first place. We kept the knowledge domain, because it ’ mho obviously a very singular name. We ’ rhenium working with a hallmark agency now, and they ’ re like, “ The coolest thing about you guys is this is supereasy to trademark because your name is so unique. ” But nowadays, “ Sniffies, ” the name, what it refers to is more of sniffing out what ’ second around you, sniffing out the playfulness, more of that feel of cruising. It doesn ’ t necessarily mean for our users they have to be into …
Into smelling.
Sniffing underwear or socks, which, indisputable, a batch of our users are. I decidedly am .
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anyhow, it equitable gave the site a fun name, and we actually love the fact that everyone has their own lead on it. In the begin, it started in Seattle. And the master ways we were advertising was on Craigslist. I don ’ thyroxine know if you ’ re superfamiliar with Seattle, but it ’ sulfur kind of this far-out place. There ’ sulfur a batch of cheery guys there who are volition to try new things, and there decidedly is a cruising picture there .
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Well, yeah, there’s so much forest to …
Oh, precisely. You ’ ve got trees all around ; you ’ ve got tons of natural places to go. And sol, what we found in the begin was barely this stickiness. Guys would come on the function, and then they would come back every sidereal day to check it. And the cool thing about that, besides, is we ’ rhenium not even an app. It ’ s a web site, so you have to physically type it in. now you can save it to your phone, but primitively you ’ re fair going to this web site, checking it out, and I think just this feel of “ back to the previous days of cruising ” and allowing guys to explore in this real-life means, seeing where people are on a map, is fair so much more fun than looking at a grid of guys .
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What do you think Sniffies is providing people that is different from other popular dating or hookup apps?
I think the biggest difference correct now is Grindr and these other apps have therefore many different uses. Grindr ’ s very become like a Facebook. It ’ s like you can go on there and you can find anything. You can find a boyfriend ; you can possibly sell a cable car. Who knows, find your best supporter. But Sniffies is superspecific. You ’ re going on there to find guys, have these intimate experiences, and I think leaning into that was what was so ache for us. … We don ’ thymine disguise ourselves as a dating app. It ’ sulfur identical sex forward .
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I’ve been describing it as “freak forward.”
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I love that. identical fun. And I think all of us have a small freak out in us, right ? But I don ’ t think it ’ sulfur limited to who you ’ five hundred consider a freak out. The biggest dispute is that you don ’ t have to download this app. It ’ randomness something you can hop on and use whenever. That has opened a whole new room for guys who are possibly on the [ sex ] spectrum and experimenting to be able to experience something with another ridicule and not feel like they are downloading this app and committing to something. We found even talking to people who have worked at Grindr and gorge like that, one of their biggest use cases is people that download Grindr and then delete it. And then the next day, they download it again because obviously they ’ ra corneous again. And then they get on the app and have to make a new profile. So we ’ ve wholly taken that gradation away for users that want to use it in more of this whenever they ’ rhenium feeling it kind of situation .
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Was there any kind of direct source of inspiration? My editor said it reminded him of Pokémon Go.
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Pokémon Go did, I think, come up. And I think there were evening ideas in the very begin of gamifying the site, though we decided it was the wrong way to go for us. I will say, staring at a power system when no one ’ south around, it ’ s like, at least if you ’ re star at Sniffies and not finding person, you get to have this playfulness experience looking at a lot of dicks and butts around a map .
Like, “Oh, all these people are around me. That’s great,” or “Oh, I didn’t know there was a glory hole around the corner from my house.”
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I mean, come on, what ’ s more interesting than that ? precisely .
Right. It feels much more like you’re prioritizing the real world, visceral interactions between users over creating drawn-out virtual ones.
absolutely. I think that our site is creating a way where guys feel wholly overt about asking for what they want and then getting it in a short measure of time. And I think there ’ sulfur this exhilaration for cruise, which used to be and calm is reasonably taboo. We ’ re besides offering a fresh room to experiment and get off at a time when they ’ ve merely left a phase of their life during the pandemic where we ’ ve been wholly pent astir, scared, and possibly merely around one person or a little group. This is the summer of reconnecting, I would say, with the masses. not just your boyfriend or any, but we ’ rhenium wanting to get out there. So these guys that want to precisely go out and get off .
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Would you say that capturing the old school experience of cruising is the main goal of the site?

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The main inspiration was those moments that people have when they wish that they had done something or that they actually had the balls to talk to person in a position where you see person cruising that ’ sulfur in person, that ’ s 5 feet away from you, but you don ’ thyroxine actually do anything about it. We realized we have all these other apps for meeting people, but none of them feel instantaneous. Sniffies creates a place where you might see person and you could look on the locate and realize that ’ s the like person next to you. Or if you ’ rhenium looking at the site in, say, a park or a populace place, that you can see that these guys are around you. People don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate necessarily always want to swap a lot of pics and a batch of conversation. I ’ ve had batch of times where I ’ ve spoken to guys for months and never met up with them. That about never happens on Sniffies. If I don ’ t end up meeting up with them pretty immediately, it doesn ’ t actually happen .

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