I’m new to The Daily Cardinal and when I was brainstorming topics for my new column, Sex with Syd, I kept circling back to a topic that has been bothering me a lot recently. I have been watching so many relationships with amazing potential become completely ruined because of our generation’s social media use. People are uninterested while on dates, scrolling through their feeds instead of communicating, taking Snapchats instead of truly engaging. I’ve seen relationships falling apart, and have witnessed real fights about something as trivial as one of the people liking images on Instagram that the other person has deemed inappropriate or off limits.
Recently, I declared to a friend that I was going to be swearing off social media, for the time being, for the sake of a cleanse. I have begun to realize how much of my time was consumed with social media and how it is impacting my relationships. Sadly, I only lasted around two days without using my accounts (yeah, it’s pathetic I am fully aware), yet I learned a lot through those days. Personally, my own use would not even be considered “harmful.” I use my Instagram to fill up spaces in my days, my Facebook to (silently peep) catch up with old friends and my Twitter just for quick news.
While I didn’t last long on my own cleanse, I started analyzing the way the people around me use their phones in particular. Through my creeping (research experiment, if you will) I noticed one particular theme: we are spoiled by the fact that everyone we know, know of or want to know is accessible through the glass screens we keep in our pockets, and it is ruining the intimacy and depth we could have with partners.
Our generation is obsessed with instant gratification, and we have the blessing and curse of having the entire world at our fingertips. We have this collaboration of our hormones and technology that leads to a unique hookup-based community, especially on campuses like ours. Unlike our ancestors who only had the memory of a lover to hold on to when separated by time and space, we simply open our smart phones and scroll past hundreds of beautifully edited humans, searching for the one that catches our eye. This immediacy burdens everyone with the feeling of, “Why are we wasting our time with one partner, sharing our raw emotion and the worst of us, when we can portray ourselves in specifically edited ways and keep moving forward on to the ‘next best thing?’”
We have started to stray away from deep intimate relationships because we can see everything immediately around us, as well as far away from us. We can follow exotic supermodels who live across the country at the same time we are following our crush from our chemistry lecture.
These follows lead to likes, likes can lead to DMs, in person meet ups, hookups, etc. The amount of likes you receive on a picture can dictate the amount of interested suitors you have online and broaden or narrow the scope of how many choices you have (I even heard someone say the amount of likes is equal to how provocative a person can be). At most, it is typical to spend a few weekends with one person until we find the next match on Tinder or Bumble. Until our Instagram’s “popular” page presents us with a new pretty, heavily edited face to follow and message. This competitive environment also leads us to present ourselves under the false pretense of who we really are and what we are actually looking for when meeting people.
Not that there is anything wrong with promoting a hookup culture versus long-term relationships, I firmly believe it can be empowering and fun to play the field and constantly be open to meeting new people. There is a problem, however, with feeling like the deep relationship is not an option that one can toy with anymore.
While these factors ruin the depth of relationships, they surprisingly are also ruining our sexual encounters. The best sex we can have with our partners incorporates trust, communication and willingness to try new things. These are factors that come only with time and getting to know a person. While some people are willing to pull out Cosmo’s “Sexy Moves He’ll LOOOOOVE” on date number one (more power to them), a lot of us (especially people with vaginas) have pretty mediocre sex until we establish a trusting relationship with our partners.
When you trust your partners, you feel more comfortable telling them exactly what you like and dislike. Building relationships also leads to better sex for all people involved (think of your partners as really cool teachers) because you get to explore new parts of bodies and try more adventurous positions and activities. Communicating openly about sex can be so difficult because we tend to treat it like a taboo topic, however those are the walls that shed when you reach a certain comfort level with that other person.
Without spending the time to get to know someone, we end up shuttling from person to person without ever achieving our own orgasms or fulfilling whatever our ideals of good sex are. Or, it leads to spending time behind closed doors achieving that orgasm on our own and pretending we are getting 100 percent of our sexual fulfillment from the mediocre partners we had last weekend.
Simply stated: Social media is killing good sex. My advice? Turn off your phone, engage with those around you and start having the sex you deserve.
Want to slide into Sydney’s DMs? Ask questions or just say hi by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.