A sub-headline declares ominously, "As romance gets swiped from the screen, some twentysomethings aren't liking what they see." And sure enough, some of the subjects express a vague longing for a deeper connection.
Occasionally a woman rolls her eyes about a creep proposing rough sex.
A handful of messages later — for some the exchanges consist entirely of pre-verbal flirtation conducted with emojis, for others it includes photographs of genitalia that serve as a kind of second interview — and a "date" has been set.
Welcome to a world in which sex has been completely disconnected from norms of fidelity and courtship.
At work and at play, men and women spend their waking hours gazing at their phones, continually swiping left or right, dividing potential sex partners into two categories (Yes or No) on the basis of a snapshot.
But of course all of this presumes the existence of a stable standard of excellence that tells us which goods are higher and which lower, allowing us to rank ways of life and modes of behavior. The idea of "nature," in its older teleological sense, does something similar.
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But without references to fuller standards of human flourishing and degradation, "hurt" gets reduced to brute physical and egregious mental harm. That's the question that haunts me as I raise my own kids, aged 9 and 13. I want them to experience falling in love and feel their hearts opened to hopes of a higher, more enduring form of happiness.
Thankfully, no one in the story gets hurt in this sense. The world recounted by Sales — or, more likely, a world even less judgmental and even more saturated by even more advanced forms of technology — will be their world. I want them to experience the rarer and more precious goods that follow from the disciplining of their baser instincts (like the animal desire to copulate with a different sexual partner every night of the week) in order to reach an end that's pursued for its own sake rather than for the instantaneous rewards it brings. Won't the world be better off without those musty old ideas limiting our freedom, hovering over our heads, judging us, weighing on our conscience?
No woman indicates she's inclined to begin withholding sex until she gets to know her partners a little better and they demonstrate an interest in sticking around a little longer than the time it takes to reach an orgasm.