The dating apocalypse has arrived, at least according to Vanity Fair editor Nancy Jo Sales. In her recent deep-dive into Tinder's psycho-sexual grip over millennials, it seems she infiltrated every bar crawling with Wall Street bros and every sorority house on the eastern seaboard to tell us what we already know: Tinder is a black hole, sucking up both our self-esteem and will to live.
And yet, like horny insects flocking to its beckoning red flame, we can't stay away.
In a series of interviews with men and women in their early and mid-twenties, Sales unveils some jarring data. Traditional dating is long gone, we all might've guessed, but with unlimited swiping at our fingers, people are using the app to lock down an eyebrow-raising 100 sexual partners a year. The numbers stand to reason: if you're going on 2-3 dates a week, and scoring with roughly two thirds of those, you'll be getting it in so frequently that you better have the free clinic's number on speed dial.
Yet she also reports that within this Tinder hook up culture, men are noting a lack of intimacy and connection, and women aren't regularly experiencing orgasms. With all of the action we're getting, why are we left feeling unsatisfied? Perhaps, as the old adage goes, there's a quality vs. quantity dichotomy at work here.
Sales notes a spirit of competition driving some of our app-related dating behavior. We never settle for the same partner twice because there's a near-infinite amount of people, and each one could be better than the next. To take her conclusions further, consider the following: if your partner is inherently disposable, it's not a far leap to surmise pleasing them isn't high up on your radar. Can't make them come? Watch them go, and pick up your phone: on to the next.
But like anything in life, skill is acquired by practice. You learn to get better in bed by listening to what someone wants from you, experimenting with new things, and occasionally getting poorly-timed muscle cramps from way-too-ambitions positions. Sex is better when you're genuinely trying to please, which only happens when you care what someone thinks of you in return.
So what next? Mobile "dating" doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Our matches and hookups are skyrocketing, but our satisfaction and self-worth is plummeting. It would be naive to suggest cutting our phones out of the equation entirely, but if you're tired of the game, may we humbly suggest using your hands to make someone else feel good, rather than swiping up a storm?
Photos by Getty Images