Sex Roles

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Paradoxical Associations of Masculine Ideology and Casual Sex Among Heterosexual Male Geosocial Networking App Users in China

  • Lik Sam ChanEmail author
Original Article


Momo, the most popular geosocial networking app in China, is used as a common platform to seek casual sex. The present study, which is based on the social constructionist view of gender, examines how the endorsement of masculinity among heterosexual male Momo users is associated with the number of casual sex partners they meet on the app. The study also explores the mediating role of the sex motive for using Momo. Analyses of survey data from 125 heterosexual male Momo users showed that the endorsement of masculinity had an indirect positive relationship with the number of sex partners mediated by the sex motive; at the same time, it had a direct but negative association with the number of sex partners. These paradoxical associations were explained by different patterns across the individual dimensions of masculinity ideology. Specifically, the dimension of the Importance of Sex was responsible for the positive indirect association whereas the dimension of Avoidance of Femininity was responsible for the negative direct association. These findings are discussed in relation to the wen-wu dyad of Chinese masculinity. Because unsafe sex has been found to be associated with the use of geosocial networking apps, my study also calls for integrating the concept of practicing safer sex with the cultural ideal of masculinity.


Casual sex Dating app Geosocial networking app Masculinity Momo Online dating Uses and gratifications 



This research was funded by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. All research in this manuscript was completed at University of Southern California although the author has since changed his affiliation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

There are no potential conflicts of interest to report. The research protocol underwent review at the Institutional Review Board at University of Southern California in November, 2016. Participants provided informed consent online before beginning the survey.

Supplementary material

11199_2019_1002_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 17 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Annenberg School for CommunicationUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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