Needless to say, online dating has been around for a while now. But Slater doesn't offer up much hard evidence that monogamy is truly becoming passe in this nation, other than to point out that divorce rates have grown - an oversimplification of what is happened in the previous few decades. Instead, he introduces us to Jacob, the pseudonymous thirty-something schlub I alluded to previously. Jacob is a devoted Green Bay Packer's buff who is less than enthused regarding the notion of a 40-hour workweek. Casual Encounters closest to North Melbourne Australia. He's also convinced that the persistent temptations of online dating have kept him from settling down. And other than quotes from the executives of a couple various matchmaking sites, whose penetrations boil down to entries that their products are not designed to cultivate long-term relationships, his narrative makes up the majority of the piece.
Dan Slater believes you need to blame the Internet. His post in this month'sAtlantic, "A Million First Dates," asserts that online matchmaking services like OKCupid and eHarmony are really so powerful they are obligated to infect us all with a collective case of romantic ADHD - or, as he puts it, that "the growth of online dating will mean an overall reduction in devotion." The urge to look for "an ever-more-compatible partner together with the click of a mouse" will prove so intoxicating over the long term, he writes, that it may undermine the very notions of marriage and monogamy.
Taking a moral-panic strategy to something like mobile online dating makes for a good narrative, but nonetheless, it also drowns out the opportunity for a more abundant dialog, and hardens particular false beliefs about millennial culture. Online dating definitely is changing how many people meet other individuals and date and have sex. But it's probably changing their behaviour in a number of different, sometimes conflicting ways. In some cases, it is likely helping folks find husbands and wives sooner, leading them to have fewer sex partners. In others, it likely does lead to some decision paralysis and discouragement with dating. In many cases, it probably just reinforces the user's preexisting preferences --- pro- or anti-promiscuity, pro- or anti-finding someone to settle downwith.
But it does not matter whether the decisions of the study make sense" to Sales. The whole purpose of a large, nationally representative sample is the fact that it gets a bigger portion of the picture than more piecemeal efforts like conventional journalism. After in her email to me, Sales referenced Twenge's argument in her paper that the anxiety about AIDS could clarify the fact that while acceptance of casual sex is going up, there hasn't quite been a commensurate rise in the number of people's sexual partners. This actually didn't look correct to me, either, since fear of AIDS has been considerably reduced by the advancement of AIDS drugs and other societal factors." But, again --- it doesn't matter whether or not given findings seem correct" unless you can describe why the data'swrong.
If dating culture were in fact imploding into a difficult morass of one night stands in any significant way, it would probably show up in this kind of information. But Sales addressed this study completely to brush it away in a parenthetical paragraph noting the authors told her their investigation was based partly on projections derived from a statistical model, not completely from direct side-by-side comparisons of amounts of sex partners reported by respondents." Well, no --- there are plenty of side-by-side comparisons in Twenge and Sherman's research, since the study is based on a survey in which the same question is asked in the same manner over the years. As for the projections," that just indicates the fact that the authors can't provide life numbers of sexual partners for millennials who are still very much alive, so they projected that one group. It doesn't bear on the overall finding that there's no hint of an explosion in promiscuity. (To be honest, the paper's data ends in the year 2012, which was pre-Tinder, but well into the era of OKCupid and other online dating services that opened up a whole new world of sex and datingpartners.)
If anyone is equipped to answer these questions about dating and sexual mores in a more strict way, it is the social scientists who use national surveys to examine approaches and behaviour change over time. In her piece, Sales mentions the research of Jean Twenge, a professor at San Diego State University and also the author of Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled --- and More Miserable Than Ever Before Twenge is the co-author, with Ryne Sherman of Florida Atlantic University, of a study released earlier this year in which the pair assessed the results of the General Social Survey, a (mostly) annual, nationally representative survey that's been administered for decades, between 1972 and 2012. The data, culled from between about 27,000 and 33,000 Americans (there were different amounts of responses available for different questions and years), demonstrated that millennials seem to be having sex with fewer partners than the last couple generations were --- especially, Number of sexual partners increased steadily between the G.I.s and 1960s-produced Gen X'ers and then dipped among Millennials to return to Boomerlevels."
Tinder super-users are an important piece of the population to study, yes, however they can't be used as a stand in for millennials" or society" or any other such extensive categories. Where are the 20-somethings in committed relationships in Sales' article? Where are the clumsy, lonely young men who feel like they can't find anyone to have sex with, let alone date them? Where are the women who stay off Tinder because they do not like the meat-market feel of it? Where are the men and women who find life partners from these apps? (Just off the very top of my head, I can think of one man I know who met his husband on Grindr and a woman who met her fianc on Tinder, as well as countless long-term relationships that started on OKCupid.) Where are the many, many millennials who get married in their early or mid-20s? Reading Sales' post, you'd think Tinder had wiped out all these millennials like, well, that aforementioned asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. But there are still millions of young people muddling through relatively conventional" experiences of dating (and romanticdeprivation).
The issue is the fact that while Sales certainly spins a great yarn, it does not actually add up to evidence that something ground-breaking is afoot. It is one thing to write an ethnographic piece about Tinder-maters within their natural habitat; it's another to extrapolate this to make sweeping claims about the epochal ways dating and sex are changing. This goes back to that anecdote/data thing. Rambling about and speaking to people is significant --- is, in fact, a basis of journalism --- but there are inherent limits to it. There will inevitably be some prejudice in who you speak to, or in who's willing to speak to you; in Sales' instance, we hear almost exclusively from young, single individuals who are active (occasionally overactive) Tinder users, and nearly solely from men that are constantly looking for casual sex. To put it differently, Sales is talking to exactly the types of people you'd expect to utilize dating apps in ways that will help them locate more people to sleep with, and then, having discovered that these promiscuous individuals use a promiscuity-enabling app to locate other promiscuous folks to possess promiscuous sex with, reporting back to us that we are in the midst of a promiscuity-fueled dating revolution" in how individuals cope with romance and sex. This is known as confirmationbias.
Sales' account is loaded with anecdotes: There's the finance guy who claims to have slept with 30 to 40 women off Tinder in the past year; the 23-year-old male model who insists that women need guys to send them penis pics (great story, bro); the sorority sisters bemoaning the very fact that college men, drenched with simple accessibility to sex, are so poor at it; and the 26-year old guy --- think of him as a Tinder-age Walter Sobchak --- who guarantees Sales that if he needed to, he could find someone to have sex with bymidnight.
The traditional methods of dating and courtship are out; ceaselessly leaping from fling to fling is in. And women, despite the supposed benefits of sexual liberation, are coming out losers in this hurried new sexual landscape --- used, then discarded in a pile of dick pics. Casual Encounters closest to Victoria. For the post, Sales ran interviews with more than 50 young women in New York, Indiana, and Delaware, aged 19 to 29," as well as many guys, and it adds up to a run of sleazy, depressing storylines. And she's barely the first journalist to raise this alarm: Over the past few years, reports on hookup culture" --- some focusing on alcohol and campus culture, some on technology, and some on both ---have become a booming genre
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