Thanks to the rise of popular smart phone apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Friendsy, online dating has become more and more common over the last few years. Of course, there is still a stigma associated with these apps, a slight sense of shame in the presumption that one couldn’t just go out and meet someone in the real world. However, in the post-human era, this stigma will dissolve, as online dating will reveal itself as a much more efficient way of finding the ideal mate, through advanced search engines and match-making algorithms. Further still, technology is developing to the point where entire sexual relationships can theoretically be maintained without ever meeting, whether through customizable bots, remote controlled pleasure giving devices called teledildonics, or virtual sex simulators using Haptic technology. With these new, highly-accommodating and personalized options of sexuality will no doubt come its detractors, as well as a new subgroup of humans who have a strong preference for this type of activity- the Internet-Sexuals.
For my research I read several articles about the rise of online dating and where it may be heading. The article that most shocked me was called “Predicting the future of online dating” by Emma McGowan. She covers a very wide range of specific topics in the subject, but what I found most jarring and relateable to the idea of post-humanism was her claim that we are already raising a generation of “Internet-Sexuals”. This quote in particular struck me:
“Some of us—and I bet the number is higher than you’d think—have already had sexual relationships that existed solely online, without meeting our partners in person.”
This made me wonder: how far can these Internet-based relationships actually go? Through the use of teledildonics, which she mentions later, how much would the Internet-Sexuals really be missing from the human experience? Is it possible that being Internet-Sexual could be beneficial in some ways, such as eliminating STDs? Is it possible to have a full, loving relationship without ever coming into real, human contact? Is any of this even our place to judge, or will the Internet-Sexuals grow into a vocal minority (or majority) that demands the same rights and respect as everyone else?