Has the internet changed the way that we look at sex?

I recently read “The Last Couple Standing” by Matthew Norman. The book talks about four couples that have know each other since college. As they hit their forties, three of the couples end up divorced. I’m guessing you got that from the title…

Now I am about to give some spoilers from the book, which really aren’t exactly “Rosebud” moments, but I am telling tales out of school so to speak…

So…

After the divorces, the three couples have some regrets. They say that dating and sex in the ’10’s is just not the same as earlier generations.

  1. Facebook makes it so easy to find old loves and reconnect with the ones that got away, or that you secretly had a crush on
  2. Tinder makes no strings sex with others right there in the palm of your hand, and it isn’t always what you expect
  3. Because of the capability of search engines, what people want to see on your sexual menu have expanded- they expect a menu with at least five courses and multiple options for each course
  4. The internet makes you feel like there are MANY other options out there, so you have to be on your A game at all times. Make one slip and your partner is searching away for the next possible mate

So my next questions bring it right back to you:

If you are presently in a relationship, do you think you would want to be in a relationship now, with all the new rules and bells and whistles?

If you are not currently in a relationship. do you find expectations of potential partners in too daunting?

Have your expectations changed of what you want/need/expect in a relationship?

Do you think the whole concept of sex and sexual relations is different now?

Has the internet brought dating to a whole other level, and if so, is it good, bad or just different?

What do you think the best way to navigate the brave new world of sex is?

Does the fact that this is written from by a man matter?

Pick any, or all parts of this….and…

Discuss…

70 thoughts on “It’s that Damn Internet Again

    1. I found it an interesting take on dating for people in their 40’s beginning to date again after having been in committed long term relationships. Are the expectations now different than they were 20 years ago?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Absolutely they are! Especially the ‘swipe’ culture on Tinder: young people are often ruthless in judging someone immediately purely on their looks- sex is much more expected on first dates… etc

        Liked by 2 people

  1. According to all of my friends, who range in age from about 32-60, DATING IS HARD today. I’m not sure if it’s social media, the internet, and cell phones, in general, or if things have just changed as they always do, the way things changed from my parents’/grandparents’ dating scene to mine…you know?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I guess I’m naive or totally out of it. But, I never even considered that the internet or access to it would affect any current or future relationship I had. Let me preface by stating that my second husband passed away in 2010. And that while I did date after my husband died, the only way the internet affected someone I dated was that I knew I couldn’t date a man who didn’t at least like technology . I should clarify that statement now since I NEVER really thought about sex and the internet before. Because of my age, gentlemen I went out with often were intimidated by technology. And since I love my phone and my iPad and tend to google everything or research everything under the sun, I found men who proudly spouted the didn’t need a cell phone, or couldn’t understand googling to be a complete bore. And Yes, there are actually nice men my age who don’t like or use technology. But… I found them stuck in the past and afraid to live in this century. However,I never even considered the flip side. That internet sex or dating options would compete for their affection. Hmmm…that’s something to think about!

    That to me would be just as shallow as not wanting any technology at all. It seems to me that a relationship is about TWO people sharing their compatibility, their attraction, and their interests together. In dating as an over 50 woman, I found most men my age wanted someone to take care of them rather than a partner, and after while I elected to stay single and just focus on myself. I had already taken care of two husbands, two children and didn’t need to cook and clean for someone else any more. And to be honest, men in my age bracket just because of their age, aren’t always capable of sex without a little blue pill, and seriously, Who the heck wants to deal with that? Not me. My late husband was seven years younger than I so it never occurred to me that men couldn’t perform or might want internet sex. Wow has the world changed.

    I think if you are lucky enough to be with the same partner, then just grow old together and develop interests inside your relationship. Looking for love in all the wrong places never worked in the past and won’t work now.
    I did go on J date about a year after my husband died. I found a couple men who lied about their age and were decades older than their profile picture. ( ugh!) I realized I didn’t feel comfortable meeting strangers. I did run into an old college boyfriend. He was still cute, but learned he was not tech savvy, was a staunch conservative republican,(OMG!) and while he was ready to pop the question on our second date, he wanted me to pay for dinner! Nope! Plus he would have needed that blue pill and there was no way that was happening…. what a disappointment…

    I did date a nice guy for a couple years but, in my mind we were really just friends. He wanted marriage and someone to take care of him. I really didn’t want that. Maybe I just didn’t find live again, who knows.

    So… internet or not …. I think I’m better off with just my cat. I love technology. But, I think if you want a lasting relationship you need to stop searching and googling and just let nature happen naturally. My biggest realization was that while technology can make selfies look good, when you meet someone in Person they still have to be real. It’s their good qualities that count. Not much else matters.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. We’ve let tech take over. I love tech, however, I think it can set up some odd expectations. I never thought about how the internet actually hinders dating, or how it changes it. I can’t imagine trying to date now, or the obstacles people face. It adds a whole level that doesn’t need to be there

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! Dating is way too complicated. On one level, there are men over 50 who are set in their ways and very old school. They still unconsciously see women needing a man, or lucky to even have a man interested in them. Usually that type of fellow is threatened by a gal who can instantly show him on her phone that his comments are “fake” news. On the other hand, it’s a delight to meet someone who is as as avid about checking facts as I am.

        But… there’s another kind of man. A few years ago I overheard a guy at a friend’s party who chatted about internet dating and he was serious about stating that he went out with 4 different women every week. He was a decent looking man in his late 50’s or early 60’s and was clearly addicted to online dating. He was intelligent enough to get my reference when I asked if he was “Waiting for Godot” rather than a gal, but he became argumentative after I commented. I think he was indeed searching for some fantasy. The married men seemed envious and the women at the party looked at him like he was nuts.

        I have two good friends who before the pandemic actually met lovely men and are exceedingly happy. Both are in their 60’s. One met a terrific guy after her husband battled for years with a debilitating disease. She’s very happy and believe it or not now rides a Harley! The other had been divorced for years. Her friend for decades lost his wife about five years back and they started going place’s together just as friends. That relationship eventually blossomed and she sold her home and they moved in together. They’re now engaged. So I guess if you meet the right person love happens. Perhaps we all need to start riding motet cycles? That might be safer than online dating. Lol

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think the fantasy thing is very relevant. We think there is such a thing as perfection…we think we’ll find someone who is gorgeous, nubile, brilliant, independent yet still “needs” someone. And the internet helps spur these fantasies. I think we can all find love if we are realistic about what we mean by love

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  3. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have the internet find your dates. I’ve been married for 35 years and I met my husband through a mutual friend. Back in college and high school, we met through class or friends. I think taking that human element out is scary.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Isn’t that strange? They are removed from the way of communicating we grew up with. We called people or met with them in person. Now it’s all through apps, online, texts and email.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The concept of dating in the current environment makes me exceptionally glad that I don’t have to do it. Toss in my age and other personal issues and it makes me nauseous to even consider having to navigate it all. I think the concept is even more unpalatable considering I feel like I’m in an amazing relationship in the first place and thinking about trying to ever find anything even remotely as good as that again doesn’t even seem realistic. It was hard enough to dive back into dating 20 some years ago after my divorce and with a toddler in tow, doing so now? Nope. No way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m 50+ and married. I can’t imagine being in the dating market again.

    #1—-From what I see of old high school classmates those old crushes don’t look like what I remember, lol. I know I have changed.

    #3—–agree. Some feel pressured in doing things they would rather not.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. #3 is the one I really didn’t think about, but when I read the book it made so much sense. Are we being pushed to things we’d never considered under the guise of “everybody is doing it”?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think if you have a good sense of self you will never let yourself be pushed into things you don’t want to do or think everyone is doing it. Some people enjoy being social and for them the internet makes it easier to meet someone. I tried internet dating a few times out of curiosity, because I had a friend who met her husband that way. However, I found it wasn’t my thing. I met one date once at a book store surrounded by a host of people and we just had coffee. He wanted a second date and I politely declined saying I wasn’t ready. Actually he was very nice but I felt he was too old for me. Perhaps that’s shallow but I’d just buried a husband. And another at a local restaurant. I never was alone or isolated and always had my car. It was interesting to say the least. I get why some people like it. But, I’m just not that girl.

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      2. I see the appeal of internet dating, but remember meeting people the old fashioned way. There was something nice about it, for me

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  6. This is probably yet one more area where my complete lack of competitiveness gives me an advantage. I used to see it as a character flaw but it’s increasingly become my superpower.. I can read, see and hear what others are doing/buying/achieving and feel absolutely no jealousy, inferiority or need to emulate. Maybe that’s why I don’t have facebook? I’m guessing if I were to find myself suddenly single, I’d elect to stay that way..I’m guessing I’d be just no good at that game.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A friend searched for her first boyfriend on the net after her marriage dissolved after discovering partner of 15 years in bed with another woman. Following the divorce she relocated to another country to be with the bf leaving the teenage children behind. Lots of romance, massive fling, then once they married it fell apart within months. They were different people with different responsibilities. She missed her kids (at last) and returned. A few years later and she’s still on her own, earning her own income, flitting between the grandchildren, and a much happier, grounded woman.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne, how lucky you are to still have your husband. You don’t have to disqualify yourself though. You can still have an opinion. I was only married five years with my first husband, and my second died when he was only 55 after we were married for 23 years. So even if I add up both of my marriages I don’t tally up to 56.5 years. You are to be envied! ❤️

      Liked by 4 people

  8. After 36 years I am in no way interested in starting all over again. I will be fine by myself. It takes too long to train men. I do see my 34 and 32 year olds trying the dating apps and neither one have had much success. Unfortunately, it is harder and harder to meet people “the old fashioned way, ” and will get harder still with the conversion to virtual work places.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I would not want to be in the dating scene right now to be sure. Our lives have changed so much since I met my husband, the chances for meeting people have changed as we used to meet a lot of people through work, but now even pre-covid people work from home or work such long hours that a social life of any kind is near impossible.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I enjoy reading these comments. It helps that on the west coast I read your post after the others, LOL. I have talked to male friends who after divorced dated again. It sounded stressful and he said women said “nice guys” were few and far between – the tsunami of interest was great for his ego but it wore thin fast. I am happily married for 40 years and if I was widowed – then I think I am done for marriage. I would have female friends to go for coffee, and movies. I would have male friends for travel. Lots of nice women out there for friendship and I don’t think I will find another. The internet invites comparison, and inevitably disappointment.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I was an early adopter of online dating in 2010, after a 5yr relationship ended. I had a great time! I was 44, living in a city, but don’t go to pubs, so could interact with numerous men from the comfort of my couch until I was ready to meet them. As a writer, I loved messaging back and forth- some men can send literary essays, and the ones that don’t soon fall by the wayside (for me, as one of my criteria for getting to know someone).

    Online dating helped me clarify my values, and gave me a lot of confidence in asking for what I want (whether it was a fun one night stand, or a longer connection).

    I met some lovely people, and am still dear friends with a couple of them- online dating is just social evolution- it is used for friendship, common interests, kinky needs etc- it’s very efficient!

    I used it for dating women a few years later, and again, had some lovely fun and fell in love twice.

    I think Tinder has changed dating for the young folk, and sex seems to have become more casual, but I try not to be too judgmental about that. Having said that, as a proud and loud Feminist, I abhor the disrespect shown to women and their bodies on social media, so it must be used with caution. And stay safe ladies! But I am a huge advocate of online dating for women over 50, as it gives us the power. And here’s my biggest tip:

    “Remember that you are the jewel at the top of the mountain. Make them climb up to you, and earn your time.” It’s the key!

    Love G 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m happy to hear that there are some silver linings. It’s just so scary to think of this brave new world. This book made me think about what it must be like to date these days…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve thought about how difficult the dating world is today especially from the perspective of my adult children. I worry that it will be really hard for my youngest, who is introverted, and shy to find someone with the online format. I’ve been married for 37 years so I think I’d opt out of the dating market should something change that status? I can not imagine trying to maneuver in the dating world in these modern times. COVID is making it even more difficult to date and get to know someone. It’s all very confusing and overwhelming. Thanks for heading up such an interesting discussion. C

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Social media has changed the dynamic of relationships, both consciously but more importantly, subconsciously. It follows the same line of thinking as FOMO, where people scroll through their FB or IG and see all these perfect vignettes that hide the warts quite effectively. Love, being one of those perfect vignettes.

    Everybody, or many people, want that perfect vignette. But wait . . they also want to be seen as independent. And they also want to be desired, by likes and emojis and flowery comments directed at that. And they also want to be romanced by words. And on and on it goes, until maybe the lines get blurred.

    It doesn’t mean that love and romance are dead, far from it. But the dynamics have changed.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. When Harry Met Sally is often on on New Year’s Eve, and every time I watch it I think about how out-of-date it is…..the pressure to meet “the one”, how unsuited they were to each other….I think someone should make a sequel of them dating in 2020 post-divorce!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I am entertained by all the comments from people who say they’re glad they aren’t dating now. Dating isn’t for the feint of heart, but I like being in a relationship.
    I started online dating in 2007. I had some LT relationships, met one man I’m still friends with and his wife who he met after we dated. I am now in a wonderful new relationship with an amazing man that I met on an app. It can happen if you believe.

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  16. Hmnmmm. Well, I was married for 20 years, so we met before all that we know, or rather, experience today as technology. I will be dating again in the future, and I’m very clear on what I am looking for, however, I’m not so clear about if I’ll choose to utilize the internet to do so. Date that is. Not sure. My best friend has been single for over 10 years after a long marriage and he did use many dating sites, and they worked great for sexual relations, but not longer-term companionship. Ultimately, I think being clear with yourself on what you like and don’t like, and understanding how to communicate that with your partner in healthy ways is most important, regardless of how you choose to meet people. Phew, had a lot to say on this one. Nice post, LA.

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  17. Before Internet, dating in my 20’s was mainly people I met at jobs or newsprint personal ads, in my 30’s people met thru phone personal ads and activities, by my late 30’s deeper my feet into early internet dating..I remember being on something like go fish..where instead of a swipe people actually gave you number rating..I tended to rate a 4-5…incredibly shallow. The day I said fuck the internet, my wife and I decided to go on a date (we met at work) and we’ve made it work 10 years. I hated internet dating in 2010 I can’t imagine how even more shitty it is in 2020 and beyond. Honestly, all the long term relationship I had were women I didn’t meet thru any kind of personal ad.

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    1. I love the flirting, the sparks too. Can you get that over a dating site? I think if you have that spark in written word it’s impressive, and probably does mean something. My problem is what someone else said, the whole FOMO aspect…you meet someone great online, but does that stop you from thinking that there might be someone slightly better out there?

      Liked by 1 person

  18. It took a few months after the ending of my nearly 30 year marriage to take the dive and check out the dating sites. I mean, how else can you meet someone at age 51 and during a pandemic, right? Oh my. Guess I’ll be alone for the remainder of my life. LOL In this age bracket, the pickings are REALLY slim. One guy’s profile was him sitting upright on the couch, sleeping! Then it’s the pickup lines that some have used–I mean, come on, are we still in high school??? One tried to scam me (way too smart for that BS). Most are very persistent about sharing your phone number after just a couple of interactions messaging. One guy that I did eventually exchange phone numbers with became so insistent on us meeting (before I was ready), that I finally had to block him. I don’t know. It’s a different world trying to date in your 50’s than it was in my 20’s. God is going to have to literally drop a guy into my life. LOL

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  19. Dating was easier when we were younger. Not only were we younger with less baggage, but we met people in a natural fashion as opposed to online dating which I’ve tried, but don’t like. Of course Covid puts a huge damper on the dating scene for me. In the meantime I’m just enjoying my freedom without strings attached.

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  20. I think I fall somewhere in-between in the how to meet someone you might want to date. I met my about-to-be-ex-spouse through video dating. Most of you have probably never heard of Great Expectations but they were probably the biggest in the business at the time, back in the 1990s. I don’t think that methodology lasted very long but in a way I guess it falls somewhere between actually seeing the person for the first time in the flesh – GE used written profiles with photos and videos if you wanted to get a “feel” for the person IRL before actually meeting.

    My two adult daughters have met people to date in just about every way imaginable or at least discussed here. One met her now-spouse on the job. The jury is still out on the other one though I think she would consider the setup-by-a-friend relationship not to have been too successful in the long run, but she was a very busy person at the time and didn’t want to waste any of it in searching on her own. I think she’s learned her lesson i.e. that your friends may not be as picky as you are.

    My about-to-be-ex had signed up on Silver Singles even before he filed for divorce. After 30+ years with the man I now refer to as POSSOB (Piece of Sxxt SOB) who was and is an alcoholic who has never been interested in staying off the sauce for very long, or in figuring out why he used it in the first place, I doubt that I will ever be interested in pursuing a romantic partner ever again. Like some of my friends who have emerged not unscathed from long marriages, we would rather just stick to being friends with any new people we happen to meet by whatever method and of whatever gender. Of course, I may sing a different tune when it’s actually not taking your life in your hands to approach an unknown human being in person i.e. when this cruel pandemic is over.

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