A smartphone matchmaking app called Tinder that has exploded in use among single Olympians in Sochi is also catching on in New Brunswick.

The app, launched in 2012, allows users to browse photos of potential mates in their area.

"Physical attraction's a must. Really, I mean, it's a nice thought to say that it doesn't matter, but it really does," said Tyler Hooper, 29, of Fredericton, who joined Tinder this summer.

Users simply swipe to the left if they're not interested, but if they like what they see, they swipe to the right.

If that person also swipes to the right, a match is made and the two users are connected to a private chatroom where they can instant message.

"That fear, that crippling fear of rejection is not in your face, so if you don't match with somebody, you don't match with somebody. It's not a big deal. You can move on," said Hooper.

"When somebody turns you down to your face, you know, it's quite a blast to the ego."

Hooper says he's swiped hundreds of times in both directions, but only a handful of dates have materialized. Still, he says the app has opened doors for him; that he's met women he would not have approached at a bar.

Buzz building

Ashley Thompson, a psychology PhD student at the University of New Brunswick, who is studying sexuality and attraction, says “hook-up“ apps like Tinder are the new normal.

“Overall within the past decade, adolescents and young adults have become much more sexually permissive. They report more casual sexual partners than ever before, they report more acceptance of a variety of different sexual behaviours or sexual identifications,” she said.

”So as a whole, it's not as stereotyped as it used to be.”

Tinder has turned dating in Sochi into its own sport, occupying much of the downtime for many of the nearly 3,000 athletes in the Olympic village.

American snowboarder Jamie Anderson, 23, has said using Tinder was so fun it became distracting and she had to delete her account to focus on competing.

Thompson says the buzz about Tinder is also building at the UNB campus.

“Especially in sort of the bar scene — and this is anecdotally speaking again — but a lot of people that I know that have used Tinder, use it to make connections and then meet up later possibly in a bar setting.”

"I've witnessed it being a bit more than just a hook-up app," said Yasmine Badibanga. "But I think most people just go there when they're drunk and they just need somebody to be with them for one night,” she said.