Love and sex on Apps/Social Media…
By: Jorge Diaz, MSW – Clinical Social Worker
Online Dating? Emotionless sex? Labels, labels and more labels. They just don’t stop. And by labels, I don’t mean name brand clothes or designer shoes. I’m talking about the endless labels placed on us since childhood and those we place on ourselves or others as we navigate this journey of “online dating.” Let’s get started. Labels: Top, Bottom, Vers, Masc, fem, poz, NEG, clean, etc…. OMG! I can’t keep up at times. I find myself disclosing how I like to “fuck” much quicker than talking about how my day went. And what about the new quick-get-to-know-you questions: You host? Travel? BB? You PNP? Prep? What ever happened to actual real questions to get to know someone? Or better yet, what ever happened to actually typing out full sentences? What is happening to our social skills? I sometimes wonder if it’s “the new times,” technology or are we simply communicating differently?
At one point, I used to think of my Latino background or job or hobbies as what I would use to describe myself and allow others to get a 30 second snapshot of who I am. But these days, seems like we shamelessly disclose our sexual positions and release some “booty/dick pix” much faster than sharing anything “too” personal. Often times, we are quick to give out our location (aka) your “home address” to complete strangers yet we claim to be “guarded.” Or you “slut shame” the guy who is 235 feet away from you yet you’re looking to “deepthroat.”
Seems like every 3 months when I go get screened or treated for an STI, I’m reminded of the amount of emotionless sex I’m having and the danger I put myself in. Relax, I’m not ashamed of my “sex positive life,” just a reflection. I sometimes ask myself if this is the “norm” for a gay man or do I practice behaviors or beliefs-healthy or not-because I have chosen to believe this is all we have even though I believe I deserve more. There is nothing wrong with being single and having an active sex life, but I can’t be complaining that I’m “lonely.” If I’m having emotionless sex, I can’t be having my pitty party of “not being loved.” The choices we make are reflections of who we are.
Labels are fine, but they shouldn’t become the norm for our identity. The short and abbreviated questions are quick and convenient-however, they shouldn’t be the only way we carry conversations. And online “hook ups” and the emotionless sex is perfectly ok-however, it shouldn’t be the only avenues of engagement between gay men. Don’t forget that being single and being alone or lonely are very different. And finally, let us not forget that our identity and our narratives of struggle and triumph for self-acceptance and cultural liberation are more than just behaviors and a “lifestyle.”