Cross-check your profile with hers, assess your affinities, scrutinize the photos in every detail and decide and if to contact her or not. The objective? The adventure of one night, maybe two, in the most remote hypotheses a relationship. An increasing number of people turns to online dating to find a sex partner. A phenomenon on a large scale that diminishes the real potential of the web, born with the aim to cut off the distances and to connect people, but increasingly reduced to a catalyst of a society of plastic, that rewards the ephemeral, creating communities of lonely men and women instead of helping them to weave strong interpersonal relationships.
The mechanism, common to tens of realities that sprung up like mushrooms in recent years, is simple and follows, in many ways, the one of the classic social network. You register, you enter your data and information that can attract the counterparty, you describe your preferences (not only sexual), you complete everything with a beautiful appealing photo and the game is done. Or almost done. Because in order to fully exploit the potential of online dating you need to pass from a bronze subscription free of charge, to a silver, or gold one, with prices gradually increasing. The alternative is to remain a simple observer, not able to take any initiative. On the basis of the data entered the machine will then select for us some profiles with affinities to ours that we will screen according to our needs. The thrill of the approach, the emotion of feeling hovering – what basically makes the initial phase of a possible relationship memorable – is then reduced to mere automatism realized through cold algorithms.
A recent study published in the magazine section of one of the most famous of these portals in Italy, explains that today the 54% of approaches between men and women is online, on specific sites or on social media. Attention: we are not talking about people that know each other personally and then turn to chat to overcome mutual shyness. But about users who meet virtually and then, possibly, meet personally just to close the circle with a “touch & go” sexual relationship. Furthermore, the majority of these sites have as their mission to create the preconditions for occasional meetings – maybe extramarital – without sentimental implications. The proliferation of dating has as a direct corollary, a progressive deterioration of monogamy. The same study reveals that 37% of Italian women said they had at least 10 partners in 2016. Less active (or perhaps sincere) men: only 8% told to have had more than 10 relationships, whilst 34% states to have had from 2 to 4.
The surprising datum concerns the age. To contact the sites for occasional meetings are in fact the over 40 (55% men and 46% women). Among the 50+ the datum drops but remains sensitive (32% men and 18% women). The core business of casual dating would therefore seem to be the middle-age crisis. Not only because with the passing of the years the social occasions are reduced but also (and this is the saddest part) for a spreading boredom linked to married life. In fact, in the online dating sites there are specific sections dedicated to “casual affairs“, by many, unfortunately, considered as an antidote to the routine.
As every phenomenon that derives from the cult of temporariness, even casual dating involves risks. The first one is of social nature: indeed, we must ask ourselves what kind of world we are building in the moment in which we let the computer substituting us in choices that invest our intimate sphere or when the web become a further disintegrating element of the family. The second, more personal, takes the name of “Catfish”. In the web language, this term refers to persons who are hidden behind a false identity. Often this is the case of lonely users that upload photos ad hoc and enter fake information without bad intentions, but only in order to come into contact with other Internet users. In any case, for anyone who thought to have met the soul mate, the surprise is not pleasant (an interesting format of MTV is focused exactly on the unmasking of fake profiles). But the dangers can be even more serious. For women, for example, there is the risk of being victim of sexual abuses. Two recent Americans studies found a correlation between the proliferation of casual dating sites and the new boom of sexually transmitted diseases. Finally, how can we forget what happened last year to Adult Friend Finder, when a hacker attack led to the violation of over 400 million private account? Risks which should lead us to a more cautious assessment of these realities. Not always what is easy is also right or appropriate. Follow the most comfortable road leads straight to a robotic society, in which every glimmer of humanity will eventually become residual.