Kathryn's Blog

The end of sex as we knew it?

Here’s a rather long article from the British press about Internet dating taken to its illogical extreme—oh so casual sex, and the deadening of sex in general.  Not to mention the encouragement to people in committed relationships to cheat.  What do you think?

The web of desire or just deceit?
The internet has made it easier than ever to find a partner for casual sex, but having it all on a plate could mean that we end up losing our appetites. By David Smith

* David Smith
* The Observer,
* Sunday October 26 2008

Attractive college professor wants good student for fun hookup Fri.’ ‘Very Hot American in town looking for someone to show him the ropes.’ ‘Monday night - in Edinburgh on business.’ ‘Looking for some fun.’ ‘Inexperienced but curious?’. ‘Sophisticated pleasure for busty lady.’ ‘Ladylike Asian submissive wanted.’ ‘One night stand.’

Just another typical week in Edinburgh, as glimpsed in the ‘casual encounters’ section of the popular website Craigslist. Residents, tourists, businessmen and women passing through - anyone who fancies a bit of sex with ‘NSA’ (no-strings-attached) can announce it to the world and watch the offers roll in. On Craigslist, they don’t have to pay anything or even go through the motions of registering a username and password. This is internet sex: as free and easy as it comes.

The homepage of Craigslist, one of the world’s most popular listings sites, offers flats and houses, holiday rentals, bikes, boats, books for sale, and jobs in just about every sector imaginable. Alongside this classic classifieds fare are personals, some romantic, some for one night only. Just a few mouse clicks away, it seems, the logical conclusion of a consumer age where time is short and convenience expected. Or as the title of Mark Ravenhill’s play had it: Shopping and Fucking.

‘It’s like ordering a pizza,’ says Emily Dubberley, author of Brief Encounters: The Women’s Guide to Casual Sex, and founder of the charity campaign Burlesque Against Breast Cancer.

‘In the past if someone suddenly felt horny they probably wouldn’t bother going to a pub, or even joining a dating site to say, “Do you fancy it?” because that would be a bit weird, so they’d just sort themselves out. Now it’s very available and convenient. But there’s something a bit more sordid about it when you don’t even have to make the remotest connection such as, “Do you fancy a pint?” At least then there would be a flirtation and catching of the eye. Now you can just go online and order genitalia. It’s taken sex to its absolute base level.’

Entire histories have been written about how the growth of the internet had nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with pornography. But just as the net has transformed from a passive one-way street into an interactive ‘Web 2.0’ where users are creators, so the days of computers being little more than digital porn magazines are gone.

The web has become a place through which to contact, meet and have sex with real people, to fulfil the wildest fantasy in the flesh. Cybersex is no longer about merely looking; it is about doing. What no one can yet understand is how this will change the social etiquettes of the past, or how fundamentally it is shifting the dynamics of sex and relationships.

Some sites are quite explicit about their offerings. AdultFriendFinder claims to be the world’s biggest adult social network and sex personals site. Its homepage proclaims, ‘Meet real sex partners tonight!’ beside a picture of a young woman taking off her bra and pouting at the camera. Below there are a series of photos and videos of women with names like ‘sexygirl’, ‘freakychick’, ‘angelfirelady’ and ‘sugarbabe’. The site claims to have more than 2.5 million members registered in the UK, and that tens of thousands are logged in at this very moment. Just log in and you could meet your match.

Other sites quite evidently do as they promise, such as Hookuparea.com and BeNaughty.com. And when a marriage is under strain, spouses no longer have to go very far out of their way to cheat. Illicit Encounters asks on its homepage: ‘Married but Feeling neglected? In need of some excitement? A discreet and confidential extra-marital dating service for women and men… Whatever your reason, we can help. You may be locked in a loveless marriage, starved of attention and affection, partner away or too tired to pay you the attention you deserve, nonexistent love life? Or just looking for some excitement in your life? But you don’t want to end your marriage either. Here you can meet people just like you, in absolute confidence.’

Peter Lines, 43, from West Yorkshire, met his current partner through the site when he decided that his marriage was loveless and beyond salvation. He did not want to ruin his children’s lives so continues to live with his wife in an entirely platonic relationship. He says his current partner was in an identical predicament. ‘Morally, we haven’t got a leg to stand on, but what’s a person to do?’ he asks.

Lines has since become a co-owner of Illicit Encounters, which launched in October 2003 and now has 245,000 members, mostly in the UK. Sixty-five per cent of them are male, and 35 per cent female, a smaller disparity than most dating sites. Women are on average 36½ years old, men 38½. Applicants are required to answer up to 50 questions and fill in a profile. Of around 800 applications received every day, on average 550 are rejected for reasons such as age (people under 25 are discouraged) or personality (self-evident sex maniacs are not welcome).

Lines says that the site is made up of very ordinary people like you and me. ‘It’s the man and woman in the street, the person in the Sainsbury’s queue, the person in the office you would never expect. There are no raging tarts or slobbering lotharios. The membership are primarily people trapped in a marriage and they can’t get out for all sorts of reasons. We did a survey and 71 per cent of people said that if they weren’t having an affair they’d be getting a divorce.’

The internet has made it possible in ways that would have been unthinkable 15 years ago. Lines adds: ‘People in this situation are far more active online than they would be in real life. They wouldn’t go to a bar or another public place to chat to people for many reasons, some of them obvious.’

The site provides a guide on how to conduct an illicit affair, with advice tips including using a separate SIM card in their mobile phone, paying with cash instead of credit cards and never giving their surname, exact location or workplace. But he denies the site is providing an immoral cheats’ charter. ‘We say to everyone that we don’t encourage them to have an affair. We make it very clear on every page that you’ve got to think hard about this; it’s not a substitute for working on your marriage; only do it if your marriage cannot be saved and there’s no way back.’

Not for the first time, homosexuals have been at the cutting edge of sexual and social trends. Gaydar, the networking site for gay men - tagline ‘What you want, when you want it’ - has arguably done more than any other site to make casual sex an integral part of the web. Founded in 1999 by Gary Frisch and his partner Henry Badenhorst in a tiny office in south-west London, it soon became the online equivalent of the gay bar, a safe place to meet, talk and, of course, ‘get laid’. Gaydar is now one of the biggest dating sites on the web with millions of members around the world. The ‘A’ countries alone with registered users are Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria and Azerbaijan.

Gaydar is sex shopping writ large, with every specific taste catered for. A user’s profile has a basic checklist: height, body type, ethnic origins, out (of the closet, that is), dick size, body hair, orientation (gay or bisexual), role (active, passive or versatile), safer sex (yes or no), smoke and drink. Anyone who fails to

...#8592; post a photograph is less likely to be successful in finding an assignation. Those who do can turn up in a new city anywhere in the world, advertise their availability and be having sex an hour later.

This is perhaps the most spectacular illustration of how the internet has changed everyday behaviour. Gays bars and clubs are said to have suffered a downturn because men are sitting at computers instead; an article in the Economist magazine attributed a slump at Manchester’s Canal Street gay quarter directly to Gaydar. Cottaging in toilets or bushes, in places such as Hampstead Heath, has reportedly declined or even vanished because sex is so readily available via broadband. The author and Gaydar user Mark Simpson once observed: ‘If Joe Orton had his time again his diaries would have been just printouts of thousands of Gaydar profiles and alarming digicam photos.’

The process even formed the subject of a one-man show, Sex Addict, which caused controversy in 2004 when author Tim Fountain invited Edinburgh Festival audiences to watch him trawl Gaydar each night to arrange a sexual encounter, then report back the following day. Fountain has since admitted that the site can become addictive, a confusion of ends and means. ‘I know so many gay men who will literally have Gaydar ticking away all the time, wherever they are, in the corner of the room while they are watching TV,’ Fountain, the author of a new book about the sex lives of the British, Rude Britannia, told the Guardian last year.

‘That’s the worst thing, it’s a terrible time waster. You can very quickly think, “Oh, I’ll just log on and check my messages,” and four hours later you find yourself weeing on someone’s pillow in Willesden Green wondering, “What the hell am I doing here?” Sometimes you think, “Christ, am I still online? I was meant to being doing something else.” The whole web dating thing, gay or straight - on the one hand, it does link people up, but they are not socialising, they are not meeting in bars. They are just sitting talking down a line, ordering what they want, when they want it. That can be a very narrow thing.’

For all its popularity, Gaydar can be regarded as a niche. Not so Craigslist or its rival, Gumtree, which published research last year showing that one in 10 British adults between the ages of 25 and 40 had gone online for casual sex. Nor, indeed, the darlings of the web, social networking sites such as Facebook. This runs the gamut, bringing together business contacts, old school and university friends and former lovers. At one end of the spectrum, a site which invites members to ‘poke’ each other and features countless photos of drunken revelry inevitably features casual sex too.

Earlier this year it emerged that Laura Michaels, 23, had set up a group called ‘I Need Sex’ on the Facebook site and, she claimed, slept with 50 men. Within 10 minutes the group had 35 members and soon attracted 100 men, 50 of whom Michaels slept with after vetting their pictures. One of her Facebook conquests was called Simon from Swindon, whom she met for drinks in a bar in her hometown of Bristol before going back to his hotel room for sex. Facebook later removed the page.

Michaels told the Sun about her experiences: ‘We always met somewhere like a bar first and I would get dressed up and treat it like a date. I know that some people will really look down on me for it. They might even say that I may as well have been a prostitute because then I would at least have been paid for sleeping with so many different blokes, but I don’t see it like that at all. I was satisfying my own desires by setting up the group. I feel like a free, liberated woman and I think it’s fantastic that the internet gave me a chance to do this. I know that it was risky behaviour but that was part of the thrill. I always made sure to tell a friend I trusted where I was going.’

Facebook, MySpace and Bebo’s tens of millions of members can communicate with each other via Zoosk, which claims to be the biggest social dating network in the world. It offers the chance to ‘choose a network and start mingling with thousands of cute singles in your area’. It could well appeal to people who would never dream of visiting an all-out casual sex site but don’t see the harm of a simple mouse click which adds the Zoosk application to their profile page, the first step on a slippery slope. The web abounds with questions such as ‘What would you do if you found your husband added the “zoosk” application on Facebook?’ and ‘Does Zoosk randomly flirt with people’?

The online sex revolution is posing new questions for experts who have not seen anything quite like this before. Phillip Hodson, a psychotherapist and broadcaster, says: ‘I do believe the internet is the world’s largest sex aid, largely functioning to augment, magnify and super-speed the processes of dating. Therefore it does represent a “step difference”, a difference of kind and not just one of degree over traditional mating behaviour. You could never flirt with so many people in your entire life in, say, the Fifties as you can today in one un-enchanted evening. The web - soon to be the instantaneous grid - allows people of high libido (and flexible morals) to find each other as never before.’

But, according to Hodson, the web might be making sex too easy, so we end up having less rather than more. ‘All new media have pros and cons, pluses and minuses,’ she says. ‘Undoubtedly adultery is easier to organise by email but there is a new risk of detection given the electronic trail and the dangers of interception or misdirection - for example “Hello Lover!” ending up in your boss’s inbox.

‘I think that the internet, by providing pornography and promiscuity on a plate, does tend to lower the nation’s overall libido. In order to feel sexy, we need a few more challenges than unlimitedporninanyposition.org or Hookersin30minutestoyourdoor.co.uk. Men in particular seem to me to be in danger of becoming “sex lazy” as well as more fickle.’

Indeed the paradox of the throwaway, instant gratification subculture could be that, like a drug, gratification becomes less and less satisfying. No one can share the sentiment expressed in Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest: ‘This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last!’ It is not only romance that is dead but also the theatre of seduction, the hint of stocking replaced by a brazen sexuality that is about as erotic as a prostitute’s calling card in a phone box. Cinema and restaurant dates are replaced by profiles and pokes.

The era when you married the boy or girl next door, or your childhood sweetheart, in the same village church as your parents, has long been on the wane. But when love is cheap, the internet generation may be less inclined to get married at all.

Dr Aric Sigman, a psychologist and biologist, says: ‘I would be concerned that what we are seeing is unrealistic. Yes, you can have sex, but you are now having more people than ever living alone and never getting married. Even as the technology advances, men and women are less engaged than ever before. There is something about chemistry and nuance that is not conveyed by this IT.

‘This is doing something odd to the human condition that isn’t clear yet. In luring people away from strong personal relationships, it could be that people are having less sex, not more. I’m not convinced that it’s making us any happier.’
How to identify cheating spouses

1 They touch their nose often. Research suggests that internal nose tissues swell with blood when one lies. Beware of this when they communicate with you.

2 They avoid looking directly at you. Lying takes concentration and makes them suddenly divert their line of sight.

3 They stare at you too much. They do this to make sure you believe them.

4 They lean forward and get close. Closeness is usually a sign of trust. But sometimes it can be a sign of deceit. They try to exaggerate how close you are by leaning forward when they lie.

5 They pull their earlobe. Some police forces are trained to watch for this very mistake when interrogating criminals.

6 They give you too much information. Their stories are too complex, structured, polished or complete.

7 They tend to give you multiple ‘reasons’. If they were honest, they would have the confidence to give just one reason.

8 They stumble in speech, with mistakes in the story to try and cover it up.

9 They use ‘um’ and ‘ah’ more than usual, where they have to think of lies quickly.

10 They are hesitant at the start of a sentence. They have to come up with lies fast and they hesitate.
Mistakes many cheaters make

1 They forget about a ‘love note’ left in their pocket.

2 They come home smelling of a lover’s scent.

3 They are too protective of their handbag or wallet.

4 They come home wearing different clothes from when they left.

5 They choose too many different excuses too often.

6 They forget about itemised mobile phone bills.

7 They spend too much money on their affair and less on bills at home.

8 They come home smelling of smoke, but they don’t smoke.

9 They use a friend as an excuse but don’t tell the friend.

10 They forget about the caller ID and redial button.



I don’t think normal people would change natural sex for cyber sex, but how things are I may be wrong.

having sex is healthy so why replace it with cybersex?  actually before I noticed a drop on my sexual desires, but after I stumbled upon this top 5 libido enhancers and tried one of it, I’m enjoying each and everyday I’m in bed.

Good stuff..Shed light on a tough topic.
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Good stuff..I’ll be on the lookout for more in times to come.
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