Nadir’s intimate biography: fantasy, gay hook-up apps, and intimate productions in Beirut

Middle East Journal of Culture and Communications

ABSTRACT

In Beirut, gay hook-up and mobile apps have become popular among men to arrange sex. These apps have generated new means for men to explore possibilities in their intimate lives, impacting the ways they create fantastical imaginaries of self, others, and sexual and social encounters. Focusing on the intimate biography of Nadir, this paper examines the relationship between fantasy and information within these media. I examine how Nadir exchanges, consumes, and arranges information via media to create fantastical imaginaries about possible sex and pleasure, and to control possible outcomes in his intimate life. Once Nadir moves his interactions offline, he relies on information flows to evaluate the strength of his intimate relations. This article contributes to debates on the place of fantasy in digital cultures by examining how fantasy within digital media becomes informational, grounded to socio-cultural systems of signification and communications, and negotiated within imaginative horizons of intimate possibilities.

A version of this paper won Honorable Mention, 2014 Kenneth W. Payne Student Prize, the Association for Queer Anthropology.