This week an old fling sent me a Facebook message. Attached was a New York Times article headlined “Why Spoil Great Sex by Dating?” Very forward I thought…and I like it. A few BBMs (Blackberry Messages) latter and we had made plans for the night. It was only in the minutes before going to meet the old fling that it occurred to me I should actually read the article. I really didn’t want to have to BS my way through an esoteric discussion on the state of modern sexual relationships in America.So I sat down to read Joel Walkowski’s essay, “Modern Love: Let’s Not Get to Know Each Other Better”, which was published recently in the New York Times. Before I made it halfway through the piece two things occurred to me:
1) Joel Walkowski is a great writer
2) I am totally not going to get laid tonight
Walkowski’s commentary on sex and relationships in my generation is spot on. He simultaneously welcomes the casual convenience of modern hook ups, while lamenting the loss of genuine connection.
“For my generation, friendship often morphs into a sexual encounter and then reverts to friendship the next day. And it’s easy as long as you don’t put yourself on the line or try too hard. Don’t have a prospect? Check Facebook. Afraid to call? Text.”
I have benefited as much as any from the casual nature of modern sex. Less hassle, less commitment, more sex. What’s not to like? But, lately something has felt amiss. I’m surrounded by beautiful, hypersexual prospects and yet I am lonely. Every attempt I make at connection, beyond the anatomical, is rebuffed. Somehow sex has become more comfortable than a shared meal or even a telephone conversation.
We are all naturally terrified of vulnerability. Shyness, awkwardness, uncomfortableness have been active ingredients of the human experience ages. But mine is a generation that has been given a whole new set of tools to ward off these feelings. Text messaging (or BBMing) instead of calling, Facebook stalking instead of asking, blogging instead of talking, all seamlessly facilitate casual encounters, while making genuine connection that much more difficult to find.