Sex in the digital age

MATTHEW BRUNSTETTER | Evergreen reporter

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In the digital age, social media and other technologies have changed the way people initiate romantic or intimate relationships.

“Some college students might meet someone and then they’ll go to Facebook and check that person out or ‘creep,’” said Stacy Hust, an Associate Professor at the Murrow College. “Rather than in the old days when you would ask them in person for their phone number. But that’s a little more threatening now with this generation, so it’s easier for them.”

It’s easier than ever before to initiate relationships with people, be it on a social media website or a dating app like Tinder.

“This is the way their world connects and I think it’s definitely changing the way we connect, how we have sex and how we look at infidelity,” said Marty Revell, a sex therapist from the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles.

Revell said the internet itself has impacted sex culture greatly, especially in more recent years with the plethora social media and dating websites.

Social media has also added new complexes to the romance dynamic, such as becoming ‘Facebook official.’

“Once that becomes public, their relationship becomes a source of conversation on Facebook and this can actually influence the way of the relationship goes because it’s no longer private,” said Kathleen Rodgers, an associate professor in human development and co-researcher with Hust. “It’s not just two people; they’re trying to maintain what everyone else is talking about, so it becomes more complicated.”

Social media has also made it easier for a couple to make their way to bed. According to a survey done in 2011 by Men’s Fitness and SHAPE magazines, both men and women said communicating through social media, instant messaging and texting led to sex faster.

“I don’t think it’s just social media but media in general; it’s the script,” Rodgers said. “If people engage in media where casual hookups are really common and they see this script and they are attentive to that and they buy into it, then they already have an orientation to be open to that.”

Hust and Rodgers believe that all media in the digital age work together in a sense to create scripts that people use in real life.

“It’s not just simply watching your parents interact anymore; now relationship scripts are playing out all around us, people are talking about those scripts in their social media-spheres,” Hust said. “People are privy to it, especially if it’s awarded.”