File this one under “Heteronormative non-news”

By Caitlin Kelly

Seriously?

Seriously?

The New York Times (yes, for whom I freelance frequently) posted this enormous story (we call ’em ‘heaves’ for a reason), a front-page face-palm over the fact that women at elite colleges (the rest of you, meh) are not having committed sex with their fiances, but are in fact hooking up for fun and…you, know, sex.

Sex
Sex (Photo credit: danielito311)

And — because any story about: 1) sex; 2) young women; 3) elite university students; 4) hooking up is going to be fucking catnip for the finger-wagging crowd, the story had gathered a stunning and possibly unprecedented 788 comments within hours.

Here’s some of it:

These women said they saw building their résumés, not finding boyfriends
(never mind husbands), as their main job at Penn. They envisioned their
20s as a period of unencumbered striving, when they might work at a
bank in Hong Kong one year, then go to business school, then move to a
corporate job in New York. The idea of lugging a relationship through
all those transitions was hard for many to imagine. Almost universally,
the women said they did not plan to marry until their late 20s or early
30s.

In this context, some women, like A., seized the opportunity to have sex
without relationships, preferring “hookup buddies” (regular sexual
partners with little emotional commitment) to boyfriends.

And this:

But Elizabeth A. Armstrong, a sociologist at the University of Michigan
who studies young women’s sexuality, said that women at elite
universities were choosing hookups because they saw relationships as too
demanding and potentially too distracting from their goals.

In interviews, “Some of them actually said things like, ‘A relationship
is like taking a four-credit class,’ or ‘I could get in a relationship,
or I could finish my film,’ ” Dr. Armstrong said.

One of the things I enjoy about Broadside is that I have readers from their teens to people their grandparents’ age, some of whom are devoutly religious and for whom pre-marital sex is taboo. I get that and respect that.

But this is for/about people who are going to have sex and beyond the really tedious heteronormative strictures of getting engaged/married/pregnant, certainly right out of college — i.e. by your early or mid 20s.

You actually can be pretty, smart, ambitious and deeply ambivalent about wanting to permanently attach yourself to a man (or woman) before you have a clue who you are! That might mean years, even a few decades of sexual experimentation, travel, graduate study, volunteer work, returning home — or all of these.

You might never wish to marry at all.

You might not want to have children.

This hand-flapping over when, where, how and why young women are having uncommitted sex is — to my mind — pretty old hat. Many of us were having, and enjoying, uncommitted sex in the 1970s when I was in college, long before herpes, then AIDS scared everyone into abstinence or commitment for a while.

Now everyone with a brain uses condoms to protect themselves from both (and HPV, chlamydia, etc.)

The notion that young, educated women are incapable of — the term is accurate, if crude — sport-fucking — is absurd.

It may deeply comfort people to assume that all women, everywhere, all the time, from puberty to death, only want to bonk people with whom they are deeply in love and with whom they are really dying to rush to the altar.

For some, sure.

For others, absolutely not.

We’re not that simple.

We don’t want to be that simple.

Just stop it!

He's Five Feet Away — And Hot! Grindr Finds Sex Fast, But Only For Gay Men. Where's BoyBasket?

The default Home screen of the iPhone shows mo...
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s another way to find sex fast — Grindr — a new iPhone app that shows gay men who’s nearby and eager to hook up. Writes Clark Harding in The Daily Beast:

My iPhone was snatched from my hands and the Grindr app downloaded by committee. I stumbled home that night, my pants already buzzing with new messages. In just those few minutes I was swept up in the undertow of what Grindr founder and CEO Joel Simkhai calls online’s “third wave.”

“The Grindr iPhone application,” Joel explained to me, “is all about location. It uses GPS technology to determine your exact coordinates and instantly shows you photos of the guys around you.” Or as I first saw it, Grindr tells me which guys in my immediate vicinity might be looking to hook up. I look at my iPhone, and sure enough, Joel is 1.2 miles away. He is a slight, Israeli with a warm smile. We’ve never met in person, though—I found him on Grindr, which is where I decided to conduct our interview.

“It’s great when you know what a person looks like or whatever, but that information is not valuable unless you factor in proximity,” he said. “Now can we talk in person cuz I hate typing on my phone.”

Grindr is a remarkably simple experience. You have a screen name, one picture, and a few personal statistics to accompany it, followed by the obligatory short blurb about what it is you’re looking for (all of which you can choose to not publish if you’re uncomfortable.) The rest happens through texting. You can choose to put up your face picture, which most men do. Or, like me, you can publish your headless torso so your exes or, say, men who live across the street can’t tell you’re cruising the airwaves for something other than them. “It’s all about how you present yourself,” says Joel, “That is what dictates the experience.”

So, when’s the female-focused version of Grindr going to show up? Would it work?

Think of all the time and hassle it could save women — no more sitting around in bars looking alluring, slowly sipping that $12 merlot, no more speed-dating or flirting in the produce section. Guys, all around you, ready to go, literally at your fingertips for the choosing.

I like the efficiency of it, even though I’m not in the market. Having survived the tedious slog of on-line dating (liars, liars, more liars), anything that shortens the time between interest and contact argues in its favor. And women like to choose, not wait to be chosen. What’s our version — GuyShopper? BoyBasket?

But…Do women want or need something more than a body part on a screen to make a split-second decision? Are we less sexually voracious? Or just less comfortable showing it?