Exploring effeminate gay men’s experiences of dating using gay dating and hook-up applications: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Neill, Stewart Robert Ferguson (2022) Exploring effeminate gay men’s experiences of dating using gay dating and hook-up applications: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


Research indicates that effeminate gay men (EGM) experience marginalization and subordination through consistent romantic and sexual rejection amongst gay men with a preference for masculine or ‘straight-acting’ partners. Furthermore, research has found Gay Dating and Hookup Applications (GDHAs) to be a breeding ground of toxic masculinity regulated by femmephobia in promoting gender-based oppression through the use of derogatory anti-effeminacy language that glorify masculine ideals. The research indicates that EGM are exposed to stressors at an individual and societal level, such as prejudice and discrimination, stigma and hate-crime, which may impact upon their identity as well as developing mental health difficulties.

The aim of this study is to explore EGM’s experience of dating using GDHAs. It is hoped that this study will contribute and enhance health care professionals and/or services, by better understanding the experiences of EGM in the context of dating using GDHAs.

A semi structured interview was completed with six participants who identified as effeminate, and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).

This study produced three superordinate themes (the evolving gender identity, the impact of femmephobia, and the effects of romantic and sexual rejection) and nine sub-themes.

Throughout this study, the findings appear to be underpinned by toxic masculinity regulated by femmephobia, which continues to marginalise and subordinate EGM. The findings indicate that EGM continue to experience romantic and sexual rejection across GDHAs, creating difficulties in establishing healthy and meaningful relationships with other gay men. As a result of femmephobia combined with romantic and sexual rejection, EGM appear to be at increased risk of psychological distress and poor coping strategies such as substance misuse and/or sexual risk taking. In particular, the findings emphasise the need to embrace effeminacy in order to achieve emotional and mental stability as well as challenging hegemonic norms.

Stewart_Neill_14005492_Revised_Thesis FINAL FOR BINDINGv1.pdf - Published Version

Download (2MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

View Item View Item