Has dating and ultimately relationships, and all it’s formalities of engagement become a synthesized experience due to high-tech communication? (Texting, IM’ing, Twittering, YouTubing, Skyping, and Facebooking) The proof is in the proverbial pudding. Talking these days has been reduced to micro-sized acronyms; speed dating is the new “taking it slow”, and relationships are extremely compartmentalized to just sex or just friends.
Effectually, romantic relationships have become the recent casualty of the social network revolution as it has heavily curbed most nuances of love… save for sex.
There’s no denying that we’re all hard-wired with primal urges such as sex (some more than others…Charlie Sheen), and a long time ago (think 1950’s) up to recently we were encouraged to satisfy them with a special someone, like your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband.
Could technology be the culprit behind the sudden replacement of long-term relationships with brief and casual sexual affairs? Virtually speaking, casual relationships make sense. People are just really busy these days. I mean between updating our status on Facebook with our daily trivial regiments, and catching real time celebrity gossip on Twitter, no one seems to have the time for the excesses like love. So the clever social animals that we are created the next best thing…friendships with benefits.
The subject of casual sex is heavily imbued in our pop culture: Two movies in one year reflect this cultural prevalence (FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS and NO STRINGS ATTACHED), as well as countless books, magazines, and online blogs (like this one) that talk about it, analyze it, or scrutinize it. Even the teeny boppers like Justin Bieber and the other who’s-it’s are singing songs about it. Suffice to say that ‘casual relationships’ are no longer a trend as much as it is a zeitgeist.
Casual relationships come in all level of involvement and intensity. Listed are a few of the popular types currently being enjoyed by a third of our population:
- Hook-ups – slanged term for casual sex especially of short duration
- Swinging – two people in a committed relationship who agree to engage in sexual activities with other couples as a social activity
- Flings – a brief and casual relationship that last for a season
- One-night stands – a one time sexual encounter typically after the consumption of alcohol
- Bootie calls – the person you call in the middle of the night to satisfy your sexual appetite
- Lovers– simply defined as a sexual partner outside of a committed relationship
- Friends with benefits – a non-exclusive recurring sexual relationship
So how does one get into one of these fashionable casual sex things? First, a bit of alcohol to inoculate your inhibitions, and activate some witty banter, then when you’re ripe enough, you hand out a flirtatious invitation to the desired target; Next, friend them on Facebook, send a few sweet but naughty text messages, then BAM! Before you know it you’re stripping down to your skin clad armor and on your way to consummating a hard earned casual affair. Terms and conditions are subject to change, and no guarantees are made.
What’s the intention behind all this frivolity? It boils down to having basic and primal needs met while eliminating the stringent components that come with a relationship (i.e. emotions, and commitment). Since when did eliminating emotions make sex easier? And does sex outside of a committed relationship feel any better than in one? If it sounds like there’s a little bias in my overture, it’s because there is one, and not because I’m a chick.
Speaking of chicks, what’s interesting to note is that the nature and style of these relationships based on sex were initiated primarily by men, but as many as 63% of women between the ages of 18-60 are joining the ranks of their counterparts and cashing in on the benefits of their customized friendships.
It can be argued that women are the outliers in this new frontier of hedonistic endeavors. But it’s in maintaining this sort of life style that women just aren’t as equipped to handle as men are. Men crave intimacy and connection with one special person just as much as a woman does, but because men can disassociate themselves emotionally from sex, they’re sustained in short-termed affairs far much longer than women.
If there is a benefit to any of this, sure it’s gaining temporary satisfaction, but after a while casual sex can amplify loneliness, because sex no matter how much we simplify it, is designed to be a very chemically induced emotional experience. Mother nature made it that way so that we’d grow a need for companionship long after the orgasms have faded away and to ensure our own survival.
On the bright side, loneliness can be the perfect call to action for one to reconsider relationships (I promise they don’t all end in divorce, bitter break-ups, or affairs). There’s lot’s of happy people in great relationships, but we don’t always hear about it. Call me an optimist, but in a time when swapping sexual partners is as common as changing our underwear, there comes a need for a little hope for all those closeted hopeless romantics out there.
Scholars, philosophers and scientists are sharing some interesting reports on their findings on the detrimental effects of sex without love and how left to it’s own device, can turn into a noxious pattern in our world that can cripple our physical and emotional health.
Handsomely paid advertising suits of online porn and sex-driven product campaigns will tell you otherwise, along with Britney Spears and Enrique Iglesias’s latest conjectures.
So it’s left up to you to decide what’s good for you and what’s not. Whatever your flavor of romance, sex and relationships, just make sure it’s in full integrity with your own basic and human accord, and not the artifices of social technology.