While millennials may be more inclined to have sex before the first date and to believe good sex can build a stronger emotional connection, the generation as a whole really haven’t contributed anything inventive to the carnal practice of sex. Aside from more progressive perspectives toward sex, which is certainly a victory in its own right (yes, men can stimulate their prostate without being considered gay), we really haven’t proven ourselves as innovators in the space, which is concerning, especially in regards our sexual future.
Instead of putting our heads together to offer some form of sexual innovation, we’ve adopted the filmmaker’s approach, and have repackaged already existent ideas, insisting these recycled ideas are completely new, a fresh perspective created by the sexually liberated millennial generation, less of which identify as straight.
Take breadcrumbing, for instance, a newfangled buzzword that has made the rounds this year on every publication targeted at a majority-millennial audience. Bustle describes the act as “instead of disappearing completely, the person leads you on by giving you just enough attention to think they’re still into you.” Hm, sounds familiar. You know what everybody called it before? We called it the “phasing out” process. That might not sound as cute, but at least it was accurate. So yeah, I guess we’ve been “breadcrumbing” for decades.
But the ridiculous notion of breadcrumbing is just the beginning. It’s but one of many recycled sex and dating behaviors we’ve given new life to with a cunning nickname. Another recent term that’s recently joined the ranks is the hyperbolic act of casual catfishing, which Vice says is “a delicate balance of discerning how much you’re willing to misrepresent yourself for the sake of another person.”
You know what we called this prior to Vice’s article? We called it lying. And we all did it and all continue to do it because it’s expected dating behavior. Dating has always been about lying, especially in the beginning of a relationship when you’re trying to impress the panties off of your date before she finds out you still live with your parents. To then liken this expected behavior to catfishing—the act of misrepresenting yourself by stealing somebody’s online identity—is inaccurate and frankly, it’s irresponsible.
Suffice it to say, we’re not reinventing the wheel here. We’re merely attempting to create an impact in the sexual space where inventiveness is admittedly sparse—or perhaps even non-existent.
Given these salvaged terms, in addition to the recent introductions of the “the half-night stand” (having sex with somebody without sleeping over) and “afterplay” (or as we like to call it, “cuddling”), you can’t help but get the sense that this new terminology says nothing about shifts in traditional dating habits. They’re just the next generation’s buzzwords for dated behaviors. I mean, we’ve been reluctant to sleep over at a one-night stand’s place for decades; let’s please avoid taking credit for this action by calling it “the half-night stand”.
One could argue that recent contributions to sexual technology would be our generation’s donation to the sexual landscape, what with Virtual Reality (VR) in porn, teledildonics in sex toys and more resources than ever to flirt with strangers from your sofa. But what do all of these creations have in common? They encourage solo play; sexual gratification with or via technology—not an actual person. And though masturbation is very healthy and encouraged, we haven’t done anything remotely innovative to the act of sex itself, but have instead taken people away from it. And this has risks.
Think about it: virtual reality (VR) porn aims to make masturbation more immersive, more like the real thing. Teledildonics, a technology for remote sex where sensations are communicated over Wifi, does more of the same, translating the masturbatory movements from one device to another, to make masturbation feel like sex, when your dick is actually in a cylindrical device with an eerily lifelike flesh material.
But while VR appears to be the most promising contribution to our sexual future, the unavoidable prevalence of webcamming, where one chooses to watch and pay a model to perform sexual acts on webcams, suggests that people are craving intimacy in a space where intimacy is being actively replaced—or better yet, it’s something that technology can’t provide (not yet, at least). The growing prevalence of this technology proves concerning given that experts predict the use of artificial intelligence (AI) devices in the bedroom will be socially normal by 2042.
Additional research, like a study that revealed 40.3 percent of men would be open to buying a sex robot in the next five years, has led publications to suggest that sex between married couples will likely be saved for special occasions, as robots will be stepping in to satisfy our everyday needs.
So, with this fleeting idea of sex between humans becoming more and more permanent with each passing year, perhaps it’s best that we shift our efforts on enhancing the act of sex itself, instead of looking for ways to replace it. I don’t know about you, but I’m not entirely comfortable putting my penis inside of an emotionless robot who may or may not know how sensitive the appendage can be.