Everywhere you look, on screens big and small, it seems like everyone’s having loads of mad/dirty/dark sex
It seemed like the (somewhat sexist) stereotype that all men are predators, hiding behind Tinder on their phones in order to trick girls (Tinderellas), who are naively and hopefully swiping through in search of Prince Charming, might not actually bear any resemblance to reality
This would go on for days on end before any of them even asked me if I was up for meeting them in person. It felt like an interview. My female friends reported the same back from the dating front line, some expressing frustration because they were searching for a quick shag and didn’t understand why they were getting messages about what a stranger was having for lunch.
This not only goes against everything we have been led to believe is happening as a result of the dawn of dating apps but, also, what we’re being shown in pop culture. Phrases like ‘don’t go catching feelings’ litter rap and RnB songs as though emotional connections and attachments are a disease.
Gone is the bawdy titillation of a show like Eurotrash. Gone are tender Cruel Intentions style virginity loss scenes. Today we’re one click away from hardcore porn online, we watch sitcoms like Skins and This is England, barely flinching, shows like GIRLS depict sex in all of its messiness (making Sex and the Music adult dating City look tame) and gritty blockbusters like Shame captivate us.
But despite being exposed to more sex than ever before, it seems like the youth of today aren’t actually doing it all that much. Despite the fact that we’ve got the tools at our fingertips to get it if we really want, the old saying ‘nobody’s having as much sex as you think they are’ seems pretty apt.
Could it be that dating apps are actually stopping us from having sex because we’re all too busy messaging, trying to work out whether we’re compatible with someone we’ve never even actually met in real life?
IRL vs URL
In terms of why these apps don’t necessarily mean we’re all having more sex, Dr Hogan says, ‘They facilitate both more and less – some people are actually getting more than they would but other people are not bothering.’
Basically, if you were the kind of person who had a lot of one night stands before the dawn of dating apps then you’ll use them to facilitate that. However, if you were a serial monogamist before, the likelihood is that you’ll still be one. What we do with dating apps, as with all technology, is just an extension of what we were doing anyway.
I asked a few of the guys I was chatting to from Happn, Bumble and Tinder whether they thought apps could be partly responsible for the fact that our generation isn’t actually having all that much sex.
Mark * * , 26, from south London told me, ‘It depends on if it’s in your nature to have one night stands anyway. For me, personally, I was never someone who slept around so it doesn’t really appeal. I know a few people who use it for that reason but I’m not in it for that – I wouldn’t put in the effort and time of getting to know someone and talking to them if I was.’
He’s looking for a relationship and he’s invested in the conversations he’s having even though he has never met the girls IRL. ‘You know I sit there imagining what kind of voice you will have, I build it up in my head. It’s always disappointing when you’ve invested in someone, spent loads of time messaging and getting to know them and then you meet up and for some reason there’s just nothing, so you walk away.