Sex minus Emotion; Emotion minus Sex
The Modern Love College Essay Contest of 2008, sponsored by the New York Times, found students grappling with hookup culture: sex without emotion. Three years later students struggled with the opposite issue: intense emotional relationships that were devoid of sex because they were online.
The strategies seem to be complete opposites. Yet they hold similarities.
Either way, the game plan may be enacted for protection.
We can avoid relationship worries, ups and downs, and general turmoil if it’s just sex, right?
Or, we can avoid turbulence and hurt if the person we’re connecting with lives hundreds of miles away, with no chance of real relationship.
Both contain connection, with limits. Hookups briefly and intimately bring us together, and then we say goodbye.
Or, we have virtual relationships, pouring our hearts out to 900-mile-away strangers — which frees us up to be open and vulnerable – and hurls us into the most obsessive relationship of our lives, observes Daniel Jones at the Times. Emotions run so deep, it’s been called, “Soul Mate in a Box” (Smiab).
And then we close our laptops and get on with our lives. Or at least our homework.
And, neither approach works real well for a lot of us. Sex without emotion or emotion without sex. Either way, we can’t get no satisfaction.
Of course, there are costs to everything – which is why so many try out alternatives to body + emotion intimacies. Which leaves us with questions like: What’s the priority right now, at this time in my life? Is it worth it? How can I get the greatest satisfaction? What works best for who I am?
Answers may have to come via trial and error.