Modern Love

In today’s modern world is love becoming an afterthought?

Want to watch the latest Hollywood Blockbuster? Do you wait for the cinema release or stream it?

Hungry? Wait to get home and cook something nutritious yourself or Just eat/Deliveroo/Hungry House?

Horny? Wait to meet the person of your dreams to have ecstatic earth shattering sex with or Tinder/Bumble/Grinder?

The options are endless. Even this blog is about SEX. Don’t get me wrong I like sex as much as the next person if not more but there are two sides to exposing the things we do not talk about. One is obviously a feeling of relief, an invitation to not feel ashamed or weird about something that’s perfectly natural, promoting an openness to get out all of those nasty secrets we’ve been hiding in the closet often for no real reason and come out loud and proud twirling our pink lacy lingerie over our heads (just me?).

The other is of exposure, allowing thousands of strangers to read your innermost dirty thoughts without so much as an ice breaking mocktail.

Does this reflect our modern approach to love?

Sex used to be about the reproduction of the species, basically. Not for me I was only ever in it for the pleasure however it evolved into a way of expressing love beyond the physical, exploring intimacy and sensation, trust and temptation. Then the religious got involved and hijacked it into something BAD and WRONG and DISGUSTING. Something that must happen behind closed doors, at night, in a bed, in the dark with one person only forever Amen. We have dragged sex out of the closet, and thank god for that, but have we taken it so far that the product is now damaged goods?

It is argued by some that humans are one of the few mammals that build lasting relationships and mate for life (however from what I’ve seen termites and wolves are more successful when it comes to the long haul) yet in this modern day and age another form of evolution seems to be taking place, one that places less focus on ‘forever’ and more on ‘right now’. The main problem with this is that in the fast, furious and meaningless one night stand the pleasure is rarely that great compared with a deep physical, emotional and intellectual connection. I mean how much can you connect in a few hours when you’ve both had your share of drinks and whatever else? Yes there are the odd anomalies to this rule but in my experience they are exceptionally rare, fuelled by drugs and better left as just that. A one off.

If I’m honest I have always craved something deeper, a lasting bond to share with that someone, a love of substance, that special ‘meaning’ yet like a lot of my single thirty something friends I have failed as yet to settle down with a partner for more than five years. Has our fast paced approach to life in general had an effect on our ability to maintain a committed, long term, monogamous relationship? Is this stereotype out of date itself? Or are we simply marrying later?

When you are what feels like permanently single and a red-blooded human with red-blooded needs what’s a girl to do when she wants to hit that spot?? Yes short term satisfaction is always an option whether you go for Tinder, vibrators or prostitution but does this ready meal approach to the orgasm push us further away from the goal of love? When we consistently give in to the urge and have a way of satisfying ourselves short term do we then forget that we wanted anything else in the first place? Are we doping ourselves out of the love line with orgasms, endorphin’s and quick shags?

Equally when sex becomes purely about getting off are we missing the point? Has it been forgotten or is it no longer believed that sex with a long term partner is better?

Depends on the partner and the sex I suppose.

In the land of the millennials who have grown up pouting into Facebook, Instagram and Twitter selling themselves readily on sex apps like tinder have our relationships and identities become so superficial that we don’t even care? Have we forgotten what a relationship is? How to build one? How to talk to one another? To savour a conversation or a moment? To enjoy a bit of longing or silence? To flirt? To engage in debate? To stimulate more than visually?

‘Modern Love’ By Banksy

Did we ever learn? Do we want to? Are we incapable of the love we have seen in previous generations or is it unreasonable to assume it even possible in a world where we have no ties to tradition or religion anymore? We do not need to stay with someone til death do us part so why have unrealistic expectations? Some people struggle to stay in each others company ten minutes after ejaculation let alone a lifetime. We don’t even have to wait for the first train anymore, just hop in an Uber and go.

But are we satisfied with that?

We are all so used to getting exactly what we want when we want it that more and more, especially with sex and romantic relationships, we tend to rush. Sex has been made so simple, so utterly de-cluttered from it’s sell by date that I can’t help feeling a bit bored with it all. Not only that, no one wants to make an effort or even has to. When meeting guys out and about I have often felt that pressure, imagine the countdown clock ticking away in the background, that if I don’t create interest, give my number, or lay it on thick within the first five minutes he’s going to be back out sharking the bar for the next girl that will.

I’m not saying I want to go back the 1950’s but are we missing a bit of balance in the 2017 dating pool?

Yes maybe I need to simply rethink my taste in men yet there are more and more men and women behaving like this and why? Because they can. Because we’ve turned sex into something small. It takes a few hours on tinder to get someone physically into bed if you’re really shooting for it, for some I’m sure it’s less.

Mobile phones don’t help this of course. How ironic that such a modern instrument in many ways ultimately sets us back in terms of genuine communication. Imaginations run wild because ‘he’s seen the message and not messaged me back’ or ‘he’s not seen the message so he doesn’t have to respond’ which can turn quickly into ‘ah well fuck him I’m going out/back on tinder/text someone else’. We don’t even have to put things into words anymore and tell stories with GIF’s, emojis and abbreviated sentences.

New relationships don’t have a millisecond to breathe let alone develop. When numbers are given there is a feeling of forcing conversations sometimes bound with a necessity to keep the conversation moving constantly. Bing, bing, buzz, buzz goes the mobile phone. We create a surreal type of digital bond that really you’re only having with yourself. And if Tinder is a way of finding love and not just a hook-up app (it’s definitely a hook-up app) then doesn’t having these synthetic get-to-know-each other text chats with several matches at the same time rather go against the ideal of meeting ‘the one’. How can there be one when there are already several? Constant texting, probing and habit forming forces an imaginary attachment to someone who has supposedly changed your life in 24 hours because they won’t put down their fucking phone. And with this miniature hand held computer it seems that we are enhancing and magnifying friendships or bonds that without the phone would likely slip away into nothing.

Is this ‘Modern’ form of ‘Love’ the end of the line? Are we now merely factory formats for the higher res widescreen versions of our future selves. Single serving sex with single serving singletons; comes with the latest soundtrack, free condoms and an Uber ride home.

You may as well be wanking in front of a mirror.

I lived abroad for five years, three of which I spent the majority in the French Alps where I didn’t bother with a mobile phone after my first astronomically high bill (sorry Dad) so if I was to keep in touch with people they had to come and physically find me or call the hotel phone and hope I was there and free to talk. I remember seeing guys in different resorts and we actually wrote each other letters. LETTERS! I think that was possibly the last time I received a letter from a man and I’m talking 15 years ago!! Plus you had to wait sometimes three, four weeks before you could get over the mountains, not famous for public transport, and into bed with your potential mate. This added waiting time and enhanced the experience, the longing, the desire, the ultimate satisfaction. And who doesn’t like a nice letter?

I am aware that I’m starting to sound a little old fashioned. However maybe we need a bit more of that. I’m certainly bored of one night stands, 24 hour relationships and five year marriages. There are scores of people out there who are only looking for sex, they have completely given up on relationships or never even wanted to find one in the first place and if that’s for you then cool. I for one am utterly exhausted of surrendering myself to one night stands, convincing myself they’re empowering and have some kind of potential of turning into what I really want (a proper grown up boyfriend) when realistically it is looking increasingly unlikely that are you ever going to find love with a person who is simply looking for sex. Trust me I’ve done the leg work!

Since giving up drugs and alcohol (check me out) I am slowly noticing a shift rippling through my entire lifestyle enabling me to stop old destructive habits like the terminal one-night stand, reluctantly succumbing to pleasure, and actually pursuing alternative options like meeting nice men and keeping my pants on!

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with guilt-free sex. I’ve had loads of it (use a condom) but there does come a time, or there has for me, when desensitisation occurs and before you know it you’re playing the role of a teenager because that’s the way you’ve always been, conforming to standards you don’t practice in your every day adult life adopting behaviour that doesn’t match your values and tolerating people you don’t even like.

In today’s modern world love will only become an afterthought if we let it.

 

 

 

 

Janna’s regular blog Sobriety in The City is published every other Wednesday on The New establishment

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