May 24, 2024

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Love in the Digital Age: Balancing Technology and Intimacy

4 min read
Love in the digital age

In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to connect with all kinds of new people. With a few button clicks, you can match with a total stranger and invite them into your life. In many cases, this has made it easier for people from all walks of life to find love and intimacy. The internet removes many barriers — like shyness, disability, or lack of transportation — that can come with meeting people “in the wild.”

But technology can also create new barriers, like diminishing intimacy or emotional availability. And can lead to new problems like increased jealousy, when it’s so easy to “cyber-stalk” just about anyone. In short, there are many pros and cons that make love in the digital age a complicated beast. Here are some of the ways that tech has changed the landscape of love and romance today.

Easy Access to Supplies

The internet has made it easier than ever to get everything you need delivered to your home ultra-fast. And sex supplies are no exception in this world of instant grocery delivery and same-day shipping. If you’re about to have sex, there are services that will drop condoms at your door in under 15 minutes. With a little more planning, you can get a birth control pill like sprintec prescribed and delivered online.

This ease of access probably means better odds of safer sex, since it removes the awkwardness of going to a pharmacy. And the convenience and affordability of getting safer sex supplies online may make people less likely to put off these tasks. If you are at risk, it’s possible to get certain types of STI testing done from home. It seems likely, then, that the internet has largely been a boon for safer sex practices.

Online access is also a win when it comes to exploring all kinds of kinks and curiosities. Researching, discovering, and buying sex toys, costumes, and props can also be done in the privacy of one’s home. The internet gives many people more opportunity to discover what they truly enjoy in the bedroom. From solo-pleasure toys to whips and chains, love in the digital age is as boundless as the connections in a network.

“Grass is Always Greener” Syndrome

There’s a dark side to all the abundance and availability the internet affords when it comes to exploring intimate options. With so many choices out there, it becomes difficult for many people to commit to the things that really matter. Choice may be a great thing when it comes to varieties of frilly undies and fuzzy handcuffs. But it becomes a problem when the choice you’re making is between real people with human feelings.

Online dating is particularly problematic when it comes to “grass is greener” syndrome. The ability to swipe through hundreds of faces in a day can make it extremely hard to commit to just one (or a few). The knowledge that there could always be someone better out there, just a swipe away, is dangerous. When the person in front of you exposes just one single flaw, it’s way too easy to discard them and try again.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with talking to or dating multiple people at once, or engaging in ethical polyamory or non-monogamy. The rise of the digital age has made it easier and more acceptable for people to practice non-traditional relationship structures. Even so, it’s a fine line between practicing a poly lifestyle and finding excuses to cheat. The main difference is openness, honesty, and making sure all partners are getting their needs met and boundaries upheld.

Over-Communication

It used to be that after you went on a date with a new person, you didn’t necessarily hear from them for a while. If the date went really well, they might call you the next day and maybe you’d even schedule the next meeting. But otherwise, you’d mostly go about your business as usual until it was time to see them again.

Modern technology, though, makes it incredibly easy to stay in touch with people 24/7. And that ease means many people now hold entirely new expectations for communication. People who’ve just met — or who’ve matched on an app and haven’t met in person — find themselves talking and texting all day. Someone who didn’t exist to you 24 hours ago could, overnight, become the person you speak to more than anyone else.

This isn’t usually healthy. In the best case scenario, it generates way too much dependence on a person you don’t know very well. That person could lose interest and ghost, leaving you grief-stricken over the sudden absence of someone you spoke to every day for a week. Or, in the worst case scenario, this kind of communication leaves opening for the kind of love bombing that can lead to abuse.

A Safer World for All

The internet brings many other complications to the worlds of love, dating, sex, romance, and intimacy. From stalking your ex on social media to ignoring your partner while you scroll TikTok, tech behaviors can get messy. The internet also makes it easier for unfaithful partners to cheat. And porn addictions and online emotional affairs can cause pain and problems in relationships even if physical infidelity never occurs.

But there’s a bright side to all the connectivity the internet has brought to the modern age of love and sex. It has reintroduced community into peoples’ lives, in the form of honest sharing over social media. Consider the #metoo movement, where women banded together to call out men who abused and assaulted them. Digital communities and the sharing of experiences can unite people in the fight for greater equality and safety for all.

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