Has anyone else noticed the influx of apps designed to digitize the way we navigate our sex lives? So okay, I’ve already talked about Lulu, the app that lets women make questionable Yelp-like reviews of men they know, but there’s plenty of other apps of this genre out there.
For the ultra lurkers we’ve got the On The Rebound app, which goes one step creepier by using mysterious Facebook search algorithms to determine whether someone is lonely enough to want a relationship. People are rated on a scale of 1-100 on how bad they want it, with some vaguely insulting assessments for the lonely ones. After my sister came up with the description “Loneliness + Desperation = Opportunity” I quickly closed that window, ’cause good gravy, who wants to see that.
Then there’s been some buzz about Bang With Friends (link potentially NSFW), the app that offers a platform (metaphorically speaking) for users to have anonymous sex with like-minded Facebook friends. This one purports to take the “awkwardness” out of casual sex by turning your friends list into something like an Amazon wishlist. After checking it out for myself, I have to say the prospect of clicking “I’d like bang” on any of my platonic female friends is just too sleazy for me to go through with. These are living, breathing people I’m looking at, not breakfast cereals.
Even if I find out they’re down to bang, how exactly does this make the process less awkward? There’s still the part where you have to you know, actually talk to the other human being. How does that go?
More importantly, why are these app programmers mediating human relationships in this way? Are we so caught up in the idea that apps can solve every petty problem in our lives that we’re willing to turn the social sphere into a series of interactive menus for the sake of convenience? Certainly there’s something fun and even tongue-in-cheek about the apps, and granted there’s nothing inherently wrong with casual sex or informing yourself about the people you might want to pursue. Yet it’s hard to shake the feeling that these screens are taking all the maturity out of human relations, all the mutual respect and dialog, and sort of just cynically accepting that deep down we’d rather be anonymous creepers, that we are in reality just too cowardly to be forthright with each other about our feelings and desires and need technology to overcome this.
Which might even be true for some (if not many) people, but still, should we be encouraging this sort of behavior?