Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The New Sex and/or Dating Game, Part 2

Last week I offered some remarks on the newest aspects of the New York sex and/or dating scene. Link here.

My remarks were occasioned by a New York Magazine article about its "Sex Diaries" column, a two-year old column where New Yorkers can offer diary entries chronicling a weeks worth of hook-ups and other sexual acts.

Today, David Brooks offers his take on the piece, and they are a worthy contribution to the discussion. Link here.

Brooks describes a world that has, perhaps foolishly, discarded traditional courtship rituals, but has not yet found a replacement. The result is a combination of anomie and anarchy.

In Brooks's words: "People once lived within a pattern of being, which educated the emotions, guided the temporary toward the permanent and linked everyday urges toward higher things. The accumulated wisdom of the community steered couples as they tried to earn each other's commitment."

Nicely put. The absence of norms, the absence of rules, the sense that no one really knows the game that is being played... these make it far more difficult for young people, as Brooks adds, to build trust. And without trust, without confidence in something resembling consistent behaviors, how can you conduct a relationship or make a life together.

Of course, out of this jumble people create a new game with a new set of rules. The "Sex Diaries" chronicle this process. And yet, the new game is more concerned with self-gratification and mutual exploitation than it is with finding a way to bring two people into a meaningful connection.

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