When Social Media Sex Becomes the Norm

UNDER THE SHEETS
Saturday, May 31, 2014
WHEN SOCIAL MEDIA SEX BECOMES THE NORM
When Social Media Sex Becomes the Norm
When Social Media Sex Becomes the Norm

Anytime an idea crosses our mind, we formulate it into 140 characters and click send. Whenever we feel like mocking or bragging, we post a selfie. As soon as we are in the mood for a blind date, we go through craigslist’s casual encounters section. If our partner leaves us a lovely note, first thing we do is instagram it. I think you get the picture. Alas, nothing is private anymore. Even the once exclusive bedroom intimacy has mutated into Smartphone affection. Sometimes it goes well; sometimes it turns sour. Meanwhile, let us remember that what we share online will catch up with us and affect our lives one way or another.

 

It is common for a reason

A survey from Shape and Men’s Fitness magazines showed that social media and all pertaining or linked applications is leading to sex faster, mainly because it is easier to stay connected and sustain a sense of flirtation in between dates. Moreover, phones with GPS features – or similar location awareness tools – that allow socially active individuals and potential lovers to zoom in on the interesting “prospects” right around the corner have become a favorite and the most widely used mean when it comes to choosing a matchmaking service provider. The speed-effective and user-friendly nature of such platforms and apps proved to be a real lifesaver for those who work longer hours and cannot afford spending money on the leisure of finding the one, in other words, for those who lead a challenging lifestyle. Practically all of us!

 

The bright side of online romance

Under the right circumstances, social media and mobile technology are redefining what love looks like by bringing shy people together, sustaining long distance relationships, saving valuable time for busy couples, and broadening the search for single individuals on the lookout for different standards. In short, when used as a stepping-stone to a relationship, and not a replacement for one, their intervention in our love life can plant seeds of a healthy and promising rapport. While these have brought many to settle down, some are in it for the compliments, kinky hook-ups, and sexual liberation. For instance, while Lulu became the ideal forum for women to anonymously rate their date’s sexual performances, the ‘couple’ app became acclaimed by long-term lovers who wish to chart their romantic journey through a timeline.

 

The dark side of virtual sex & love

Apart from virtual sex extortions, the irresponsible or naïve use of social media is causing real problems. The widely spread and normalized habit of ‘creeping’ or brushing up on someone’s background pre-date means that we are skipping over some of those frank and foundational moments of discovery in person. This supposedly effective practice makes us feel closer, while in fact, keeps us stuck in the virtual zone, only to be disappointed later by the ulterior motives of our devotees. Long-term partners are also feeling the heat as it became exhaustingly crucial to keep a close eye on their partners’ media content while, at the same time, ride temptations out, i.e. cheating and/or “innocently” over-indulging in illicit content that pops ups so often it numbs our sexuality. There is also the perilously addictive nature of our tendency to over-share secret information, thus putting our personal safety and/or our relationship’s stability at risk.

 

How to nurture a relationship in the digital age

Tips for new couples: It is important to work on safe grounds by choosing the right platform. Snap-chat, Tinder, Grindr, Erodr, and others are not love material apps. So when you find that special person online, try your best to meet offline as soon as possible - one, to preserve a bit of mystery - and two, to keep it real.

   

Tips for long-term couples: First, have an open conversation about what to post, when to post it, how to present your liaison to the public, how much time you will spend online, etc. It will show your respect to his/her space or digital environment. Also, do not interact under the radar and keep him/her in the loop.

 

General precautions: Start by maintaining a certain level of confidentiality, decency, or subtle publicity. For instance, never air dirty laundry and never circulate disgracing or privacy invading photos and retweets. Remember: even if social networks may be a positive daily point of contact, take a step back if you must.

 

One can debate the pros and cons of social media sex forever, but the fact that it is promoting casual hook-ups and faster commitments remains. Websites such as Match.com, HowAboutWe, OkCupid, or Cheek'd are reversing the dating process by making people meet first, and use online profiles later. On the other hand, GPS feature apps like Skout, Blendr, Foursquare, and others may be putting lives in danger. All this is very confusing, and the best way to stay on top of it is to find the balance between online and offline romance, and to regain our lost sense of empathy and accountability. Only then will we be able to refrain from using e-flirtation as a substitute for working out real relationships – awkward poses and all.

 

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