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.

  1. T
    July 07, 2008

    I have to say that I agree inasmuch as our culture (transnational as it is (with me being an atlantic ocean away from you)) really suffers from a technological common-sense time lag. The trouble with a culture that advances so fast technologically (BBM, facebook, sms etc) is that it takes a generation to come to terms with the common sense approach on how to utilise these advances. Right now we have the technology but no sound way to impliment them. So we find ourselves using technology, which is ultimatley designed to bring us together, as a means of keeping us apart. I read recently of a high school class who had a virtual reunion using MSN messenger. There is a painful contradiction here. Thatcher once said that there was no such thing as ‘society’, well the technological advances in the telecommunications industry in particular may yet prove her correct!

    Hopefully the next generation can sort out our mess!

    Still love the blog mate.

  2. July 07, 2008

    Wow. I’m in a secure, happy relationship, yet I’m completely jealous of you. Don’t be feeling lonely dude. A relationship is confining. Good god man when you have to “check with your wife” before you spend $10 on lunch, that’s not freedom. That’s not happiness. I’ll tell ya there are benefits, but there are also downsides. Generally I believe nobody is happy no matter what. So enjoy it while it lasts (the sex that is) and the day will come when you’ll settle down with that “special someone”.

  3. July 15, 2008

    Really interesting post, man.

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