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Scorching Risks and Rewards | University

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Dating app users can be caught in a ‘luxury trap’ where privacy seems elusive but still possible lechenie-narkomanii / pixabay

As a youngster today, it’s not uncommon to have taken part in Tinder’s spirited matchmaking experience, to be strangely charmed by his pleasant jingles and his always jovial ‘You’ve got a match !!! “. Especially against the backdrop of periods of unsolicited sexual dormancy ushered in by the pandemic, these brief moments of digital flattery promise to counter feelings of isolation and inadequacy. So it’s no surprise that in March 2020, Tinder recorded a record 3 billion swipes in a single day. Yet this gamified experience hides a sinister format that turns dating into addicting cycles of risk and reward.

Not to be neglected, the rise of Internet dating has culminated in a sort of “sexual recession”, in which young people are becoming less frisky than other generations. It’s no wonder that even during a public health crisis (and an era of COVID-induced helicopter parenthood), we were still looking to get down to earth. The blame for our generational scarcity of sexual intimacy can be traced to a range of modern grievances – including (but not limited to) increased porn consumption and more screen time.

However, I will explore how dating apps perpetuate this problem. After all, it seems counterintuitive that in an age of Tinder’s ever-present commitment to making new “connections” to us, young people are having less sex than previous generations. Who (if any) are these apps for? And if they don’t meet our needs, why do dating apps continue to be used?

“At a time when Tinder is still committed to forging us new ‘connections’, young people have less sex than previous generations”

Tinder seems, at first glance, to offer endless opportunities for romantic and sexual encounters. The reality is more complicated, however. Like a kid in a candy store, the endless reel of beach photos, mirror selfies, and Cambridge’s obligatory evening wear photo can overwhelm us, destroying our ability to choose a single individual. What if the next dashingly dressed man grabbing bottles of champagne outside King’s, offering a “6’3 – if that counts,” was The One? .. Or the next one? Stimulated by addictive cycles of risk and reward – which resemble those at work when we engage with slots – our brains are hooked on the app, regardless of its sometimes empty outcome. It is distressing that gamer error, in which individuals make mistaken judgments about the likelihood of positive outcomes, now guides our romantic and sexual conquests; over 70% of Tinder users have never met someone from the app. Its popularity is skyrocketing not because the app is effective, but because we think it could be. Here, the idea that “there are many more fish in the sea” becomes a tantalizing and malicious remark about the brain’s fervent desire for satisfaction.

This unsuccessful sweeping masquerade is not only detrimental to those who know the “fobo” (fear of a better option), but also to those who are buried under the waves of other eligible singles and therefore receive little or no money. ‘Warning. Here the burden usually falls on men. Men (straight) using Tinder receive an average of 0.6 matches per 100 swipes – which is insulting, given that users of the free version of the app only get 100 swipes per day. Thus, users are caught in a kind of luxury trap. Attractive singles, both demographically and geographically fit, seem more accessible than ever, but privacy remains elusive.

In extreme cases, the periods of sexual dormancy experienced by an individual can lead to the belief that (1) people are not and can not being attracted to them, and (2) physical intimacy is too elusive to be worth pursuing. The internet phenomenon of “incel” (unintentionally bachelor) arose from these twin assumptions, and the mental health crises resulting from this “revelation” have dangerous consequences for these individuals – often men. I must note here that I am asserting (wrongly) that the heterosexual dating landscape is the norm; Queer online dating experiences can be drastically different, although they are just as damaging. Grindr, for example, is renowned for his prolific sexual encounters, but such a focus on sex appeal and performance can prompt “vicious cycles” of low self-esteem and depressive episodes.

It should be noted that a “sexual recession” should be a cause for concern not because anyone is of sex or because we should all having sex all the time – but because it marks an era in which the Internet’s perpetual promise of “connections” is lived like a digital siren, drawing some users to higher levels of depression and anxiety.

“The perpetual promise of Internet ‘connections’ is experienced as a digital siren, luring some users to higher levels of depression and anxiety”

Sex is complicated, and I would like to stress that less sex is not necessarily a bad thing. In many cases, choosing to have less sex is a guarantee than having sex that you are to have is wanted and pleasant. For example, casual sex has declined in part because of reduced alcohol consumption (and greater independence among) young women. Dating apps are a mixed bag, too. Many people swear by balayage as the best way to kick off their “hot girls’ summers” or meet people with common interests; others simply use Tinder to “boost self-confidence.” However, when the algorithm we rely on to seek privacy in this age of isolation seems designed for our failure, it is high time that we recognize its flaws. Maybe the bet you make with that risky Tinder bio or thoughtless pickup line could be traded for flirtations that take place outside of platforms that turn our personal wants and needs into parodies of desire.


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