Thursday, December 4, 2014

Are Tinder Hookups Less Sexually Satisfying?

Once again, the media has resorted to blaming technology for human nature. This article on AskMen.com warns readers that hookups through apps such as Tinder are likely to be less sexually satisfying than sex with partners you meet in real life. This conclusion is based on the results of a new survey conducted by UK-based sex toy retailer Bondara, which found that respondents generally scored their digital hookups much lower in sexual satisfaction, duration, and comfort, as well as finding the encounters less exciting overall. I’m sure this interpretation has Tinder critics everywhere smugly exclaiming, “I told you so,” but I’d like a little more information before I can get on board with this observation.

The article states that the survey respondents were asked to “rate their app-facilitated sexual experiences, and compare them against jaunts with a frequent partner they hooked up with IRL.” Hold on, back up. Frequent partner? They asked participants to rate the sexual satisfaction of random online hookups against those of frequent partners they met offline? I was unable to find the text of the actual survey and results, so I’m not sure if this was poor wording on the part of the journalist, but do I even need to explain why this is an unfair comparison? Of course the sexual satisfaction of a frequent partner is (generally) going to be higher than that of a one night stand! Learning each other’s hot buttons and becoming more familiar and comfortable with each other is one of the benefits of having an ongoing sexual relationship, regardless of how it started.

But let’s say this was just a case of poor wording. Maybe, instead of frequent partners, what they meant was recent partners met in real life. This comparison is a little more fairly balanced, but there are still some wildcards that make a world of difference. Think about the last several people you hooked up with without the help of a dating site or app. I’d bet that very few of them - if any - were complete strangers when your flirtation began. In the real world, we tend to meet new potential partners through friends, work, clubs, classes, and other situations where we have some sort of familiarity with the person prior to the first date. Even a modest amount of familiarity with a new partner prior to getting naked can raise your comfort level considerably, and it doesn’t take a survey to conclude that being more comfortable with your partner will raise your level of satisfaction. In addition to helping ease first-time nerves, a higher comfort level will usually mean that you will be more likely to speak up about your likes and dislikes, resulting in a much more satisfying experience.

It’s my suspicion that what this survey really tells us is that one night stands with strangers are likely to be less satisfying than encounters with people you already know. Rather than blaming apps like Tinder for all the bad sex we’re having, the article could have focused more on how much better sex is when you’ve taken the time to get to know your partner a little better. Of course, we all know that a headline reading Becoming more comfortable with your partner results in better sex is less of a draw than New survey says [hot app of the moment] is bad for your sex life.

Personally, I’ve had a lot of great sex as a result of Tinder, but I don’t exactly use it as a hookup app. I tend to do a bit of chatting before that first date to get to know my potential match a little better, and might even postpone getting busy until at least date #2. But that’s just my experience, and your mileage may vary. I’d be interested to hear your observations of encounters with on and offline hookups - including how well you knew the person before jumping into bed - to make a more accurate comparison. I have a hunch that, all things being equal, we wouldn’t see much of a difference between the two except, perhaps, that us Tinder users are getting a lot more action.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

In Defense of Tinder

I don't know why I feel the need to defend Tinder, but I'm really annoyed with all of the undeserved flack it's getting. Here's why:

"It's a hookup app"
Many people dismiss Tinder as a hookup app. It's certainly possible to use it that way - and that may even have been the intent of the creators - but apps like these produce results based on how you use them. Some people want to hook up, and Tinder makes it easy for them. Don't want to hook up? THEN DON’T USE IT TO HOOK UP. What is it about the app that only allows you to meet a stranger for sex versus having conversations and asking each other out on a date? Oh, it's YOU! Additionally, if you think there aren’t a ton of people using other app such as OKCupid to try to score quick hookups, you’re...well...no one actually thinks this, do they?

Anecdotal evidence: I've matched up with many men in my time using Tinder. When I write to these people, we start a conversation that has nothing to do with sex, and eventually decide to meet for coffee, a drink, etc. I have gone out on several very pleasant dates with very nice men. Yes, I slept with one of them. On the second date. That's actually longer than I usually wait, truth be told. Weeks later, he and I are still friends who enjoy each other’s company AND have great sex.

"It's superficial"
The emphasis on photos in the Tinder app has also come under fire. During the swiping process, you are shown a photo of a potential match as well as their name and age. You can swipe left for Not Interested or right for Interested. It’s kind of like window shopping for dates. But here’s the thing: you can also tap the photo to see more photos, a bio (if they've written one), shared interests on Facebook, and even shared Facebook friends. It's not much different than what you find on other dating apps, although it is more condensed. But, can we be honest with each other here? EVERYONE LOOKS AT THE PICTURES FIRST ON THE OTHER SITES, TOO. I'm sorry to yell it, but it's true and it's time we admitted it. OKCupid knows it, and they've said as much while analyzing data in blog posts. I’ve received countless messages from guys who made it very obvious that they didn’t read a single word of my profile. So what makes Tinder the bad guy? Oh, because they are blatant about it. What’s more, this is no different than what we do when we are out in the real world meeting strangers. Actually, in these situations you have even LESS information than what you find on Tinder. Assuming this is a complete stranger, you know almost nothing about the person, other than the fact that you are attracted to their looks.

I’m not saying that looks should be your ONLY criteria when making dates, but, in general, physical attraction is the first step in generating interest between two people, regardless of which site you use, or whether you’re using a dating site at all.

Take, for instance, these three real-life dating scenarios:
  1. I see a cute guy in a bar. I think he’s giving me interested looks. I strike up a conversation and end up talking to him for a little while as we sip our beers. I’m delighted to discover that we have a lot in common and he’s quite funny. We exchange numbers and look forward to meeting up again soon. 
  2. I’m browsing OKCupid and see a cute profile photo, so I click through to read his profile. He seems cool. We send a few messages back and forth and seem to have a good repoire. We make plans to go on a date. 
  3. I’m swiping through Tinder. I see a cute boy and tap his photo to see more. His bio is funny and we both like Lady Gaga. I swipe right. It’s a match! I go to my inbox, click on his name, and start a conversation. The conversation goes well and we makes plans to go on a date. 

All perfectly “respectable” scenarios. All started with physical attraction.

“I can’t tell if people are a good match because there’s no match percentage or other data to compare”
Okay, you’ve got a point there. Other than front-loading people who have already Swiped Right on you, it doesn’t appear that Tinder makes any attempt to match you up with like-minded individuals. So yeah, you’re going to have to do a little bit of that work yourself. JUST LIKE YOU WOULD DO WHEN MEETING A STRANGER IN A BAR. You can actually tell a lot about someone based on their collection of photos and bio. Someone looking at my photos might conclude that I can have a crass sense of humor (who else would write “fist slut” on their knuckles and proudly show it off?), laugh a lot, go to Burning Man, have wacky hair and style, and play the saxophone. These are all clues about my personality and interests. My bio states that I’m non-monogamous and like to say “bro” a lot. More pieces to the puzzle are put into place. What next? How about a conversation? Just like real-world dating, Tinder forces you to have actual conversations with people to find out their interests, opinions, hopes, and dreams. If you’ve got some dealbreakers, you should probably bring up those topics in your online communication before making a date. Otherwise, the stats and opinions you usually find on dating apps will come up organically as you get to know the person. There’s nothing stopping you from pulling the plug at any time if you come across something that doesn’t fit your idea of an ideal partner. And you might be surprised to learn that some of the things you thought of as dealbreakers or turnoffs are not actually that big a deal, all things considered.

Anecdotal evidence: A little over a year ago, while working at Burning Man, I met a man who, on “paper”, was a terrible match for me. We had extremely different views of the world. We had very few mutual interests. Our dating goals were on opposite ends of the spectrum. He was looking for “the one” to settle down and have kids with. So not my plan. Online, we would have clicked past each other in a heartbeat (or, more realistically, would never have found each other in the first place). But, in real life, a fantastic friendship and relationship formed. We spent every single day together for two whole months. Then we had a whole year of laughter, adventures, good times, and great sex after that. He did finally move on to pursue a relationship that better suited his goals, but I wouldn’t give back that year of memories and good times for all of the high percentage matches OKCupid has to offer.

That was an extreme example, but I could probably rattle off a dozen other cherished friendships and relationships - both past and present - with people that I would have rejected based on pure data. If you require a strict set of values and qualities in your partners and need to know this before you even take the time to start a conversation, that’s your prerogative. But I think you’re missing out on a lot of great potential matches, friendships, and experiences.

Those are the main complaints, but here are a couple of honorable mentions:

“It’s full of creeps”
What dating app isn’t? I haven’t seen any evidence in my own experience that suggests there are more creeps on Tinder than other apps, nor have I read any stats that prove this point. If anything, the requirement that you both like each other before you’re allowed to connect has drastically reduced the number of creepy/annoying messages I get.

“No one writes back”
Again, how is this different from other dating apps? I’ve actually found that more people write back to me, presumably because we’ve already established a mutual attraction.

Sure, the Tinder app has its flaws. There are probably some features that would make it easier to use and help you find better matches. And there are people who use it in ways that contribute to all of the “flaws” I’ve mentioned. They’ll have fun judging people based on their looks and get their quick hookups, but that doesn’t have to be your experience. It certainly hasn’t been mine. With all of the features and percentages and methods of matching, in the end these dating apps are what you make of them. Just like many things in life, you get back from things what you put into them. Maybe you should just give it a chance and really pay attention to the way you are using the app. Or not. That’s fine. It may not be your cup of tea, but plenty of people are having great success with it, and it certainly doesn’t deserve the villain status that popular opinion has assigned to it. So keep that in mind the next time I mention the really great Tinder date I had the other night, and shut the fuck up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Live, Laugh, Fuck

I know it's a cliche, but I do think a sense of humor is the sexiest part of a person. Oh sure, I've had a lot of fun with people who aren't particularly funny, but making me laugh is the surest way to get my juices flowing. And, boy, did they flow last night. Reggie might be one of the funniest men I've ever met, and it's sexy as hell. It helps that he's good looking and a superb lover, but even if he was average looking and mediocre in the sack, I'd be just as eager to spend time with him.

We'd spent the evening at a small party with several of my friends playing music, watching silly videos, and just generally chatting and joking around. Watching as he effortlessly won over each of my friends with his intelligence (another sexy quality) and humor was a very effective aphrodisiac. By the time we got back to my place later that night, I wanted him so badly I could barely contain myself. I took him into my bedroom and turned on the TV for a little background noise. I spent several minutes trying to pick out the perfect movie to accompany our impending coitus and landed on a terrible horror movie about some kind of mutants . A few minutes into our makeout session, I stopped and decided we needed something different on the TV.

"Really?" He mocked, "this mutant thing isn't doing it for you?"

"No, I think we need something more upbeat and fun. How about some MST3K or...oh! How about this movie about a teenage zombie girl? That looks cute!"

"Wait a second, is this a cartoon?" Reggie asked as the movie began.

"Yup!" I replied with a giggle.

We went back to our kissing and groping, but something still wasn't right. "Nope. I can't fuck to this. Let me find something else." Okay, at this point I have to admit to you that I was remarkably stoned and a little bit drunk. That's really the only explanation I have for why I was fixated on the nature of our background noise when I was so eager to ravage this man (it also explains why I dumped an entire glass of water on the stairs as we made our way toward my bedroom). He poked fun at me and had me almost in tears (the good kind) when I finally exclaimed, "Aha! This is it! It's a French film [actually, it was Spanish] about these two girls in a hotel room that has a ton of lesbian sex in it. And it's in a foreign language [it wasn't], so we won't get distracted with dialogue."

"Are you sure this time?" He grinned as he wrapped his arms around my waist from behind and began stroking me through my jeans.

"Oh god, yes." I said, and tossed the remote aside, dramatically.

Our tongues found their way back into each other's mouths, and our hands resumed their aggressive groping. He pulled his shirt off as I unbuckled his belt and slid my hand down into his boxer briefs. I took his firm cock in my hand and began stroking it as he pulled his jeans off.

"You need to take these off," he said, tugging next at my jeans. I obediently unbuttoned my pants and pulled them down past my knees. He pulled them off the rest of the way while I pulled my shirt over my head and tossed it aside. I went back to stroking his cock as his fingers gently penetrated my pussy. "You are so wet," he said, slipping in a second finger. I could only moan in response. It felt so good I could barely think, let alone speak.

I almost came several times as he worked his fingers in and out of me. Finally, I grabbed his wrist and made him pause for a moment. "Hold on," I said. I grabbed a condom out of a drawer in my bedside table and set it on the bed next to us. "Here's this, for when it's time." I let go of his wrist and his hand began sliding in and out as I, once again, melted into a state of bliss.

It wasn't long before he grabbed the condom and ripped open the package. I took a moment to relax and compose myself as he put it on. I'd been so close to orgasm, I was certain I'd come the moment he slipped his cock inside of me. But he didn't. Not right away. He rubbed the length of his cock along my vulva and teased the opening of my pussy with the head. It took every bit of willpower I possessed not to grab him and shove him inside of me. When he finally did enter me, I let out a groan that was as much an expression of pleasure as it was of relief. He leaned over and kissed me as I wrapped my legs around his waist. We stayed in this position for several minutes, his pelvis stimulating my swollen clit as his cock glided in and out of my pussy. Next, he sat up and put my ankles on his shoulders. Having been working so hard to keep from coming, it was a relief to give my clit a break as his cock drove into me over and over again at this new angle. But he didn't give me a break for long. He leaned forward to kiss me, pushing my knees up near my shoulders. His pelvis once again made contact with my clit and his cock went so deep inside of me that I knew it wouldn't be long before I exploded. This last position was intensely pleasurable. I suspect he may have been hitting my g-spot at this point. My moaning grew louder and I could tell it was especially pleasurable for him, as well, because he whispered, "Oh fuck yes," and his thrusting intensified. He grunted and moaned with each thrust until finally he roared, and I knew he was coming. Seconds later, my moans turned to screams as I erupted in my own orgasm.

Knowing I would be extremely sensitive for a short time following my orgasm, he continued thrusting in and out of me. "Oh fuck, yes! Oh god!" I yelled. It was almost too much, but I didn't want him to stop. Finally, he began to slow his strokes as my sensitivity (and yelling) died down, until finally he stopped and pulled out.

"Wow, you got this blanket - and my balls - really wet. You're going to have to do some laundry." He joked.

"Well, it was your fault." I replied, in a mock pout.

"You were dripping wet before I even touched you." He contended.

"Yeah, I know." I smiled and bit my lower lip a little. "Just don't get a big head about it."

We laid naked on my bed for another ten or fifteen minutes. Giggling and joking and watching TV. We were laughing so hard I was certain we were keeping my roommate awake, but I didn't care. Eventually, he got up and dressed to leave. I walked him to the front door, still laughing and giggling, and gave him a long kiss goodnight. Then I returned to bed, turned off the movie, and drifted off to sleep with a big smile on my face.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Using Tinder to raise awareness - is it appropriate?

I'm having very strong feelings about this article, which describes a new ad campaign by an organization in Ireland to bring awareness to sex trafficking. The organization is creating fake Tinder profiles designed to look like those of sex trafficking victims. Each profile starts with a photo of an attractive woman, but with each swipe the photos get progressively more alarming, showing the girls with bruises, cuts, and other signs of abuse. The final two photos feature disturbing facts about the realities of sex trafficking, as well as a call to action. I can't tell from the article whether Tinder supports or knows about this campaign.

While I do appreciate an attempt to raise awareness of something as appalling as human trafficking, this seems like a gross misuse of the Tinder app. I think part of what's bothering me is that campaigns like this reduce the legitimacy of the app. Okay, Tinder is not sacred, but there are already so many fake profiles on dating apps/sites that it gets frustrating. Will campaigns like this lead to other misleading, but legit-looking posts/profiles/etc on other types of services? I would support an obvious ad campaign that uses Tinder's style to get the point across, but I think I have a problem with the bait and switch method.

Additionally, despite the organization's claim that feedback from Tinder users has been "great," I have a hard time believing this will be very effective. The main profile pictures of these girls are very attractive, and I imagine most guys will just swipe right without looking any further. I'm guessing the most the organization will get out of this is a lot of media coverage, which is still a win, I suppose.

I don't know, there's just something I don't like about this, but then I feel bad for not liking it because it's a very worthy cause. What are your thoughts?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

This is the story of me: The Moody Floozy

I love sex. I have since the very first time I experienced it.  Maybe even before that. For most of my life I struggled to maintain a balance between my strong sexual desire and societal backlash against "loose" women. In my late twenties I stumbled into the sex-positive community. Finally, I was free to flaunt my sexuality, and celebrated rather than shamed for my desires. I had found my home.

For several years I enjoyed an active sex life with many partners and wrote about it in a sex blog that gained a large following.  Each week I'd post intimate details of my exploits for thousands of strangers all over the world to fantasize about, usually accompanied by a naughty photo taken by one of my lovers. But eventually the posts started to slow down. I was lucky to post once a month, and many of those were responses to other people's sex lives (answers to reader questions, commentary on articles, etc.) rather than accounts of my own, because my own was non-existent. I no longer desired sex. When I did have sex, it was mostly for maintenance of my relationships. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, I just didn't care about it. I stopped reading erotica and watching pornography. I stayed away from parties that I knew would have a strong sexual element. I just wasn't comfortable around sex anymore, and I had no idea why. Furthermore, my friends knew me as a proud, sexually charged exhibitionist and expected things out of me that I could no longer deliver. Any time I was in a social situation that had any kind of sexual energy I felt as if I was pretending to be someone else. Well, not really someone else. Still me, but the Old Me.

I missed her, the Old Me. I missed the attention she enjoyed. I missed the pleasure she experienced. I missed the confidence she flaunted. I wanted to be her again, but feared that time in my life had passed. For several years I struggled with my identity and my direction in life. I'd wrapped my entire personality up in my sexuality and was on the path to becoming a real sex writer. Who was I now, and what was I going to write about? And why had something that felt so right and come so easily suddenly become so foreign?

I spent the next several years trying to create a New Me that felt as good as the Old Me. I started a business. I took dance lessons and began performing. I got a dog. I even wrote, occasionally. None of my writing was very interesting or inspired, but at least I was doing it. My life was very...comfortable. But I didn't want comfort. I wanted passion. I wanted excitement. I wanted my writing to have that special spark that it used to have. I wanted to get that electric charge I got when I was describing the taste of a lover's vagina or the feeling of a hard cock ramming into my eager, wet pussy. But it just wasn't there anymore.

Finally, at the age of 36, I started seeing a counselor. It wasn't long before she identified the deep state of depression I was in. It was so obvious to her that I was surprised I hadn't seen it myself.  The social isolation, the low energy, the monotone voice, the lack of interest in anything at all - these were all symptoms of depression. Not sadness, but real depression. The disease that sucks any and all motivation out of you. The condition where you walk around in a thick fog and don't care whether you live or die. And, most definitely, the disorder that destroys any drop of sexuality you have in you. As we discussed the possibility of medication I began to feel a glimmer of hope that my spark was not gone forever.

Even though I was hopeful that I would soon be feeling better, I did not fool myself into thinking that medication would turn me back into the sexually charged vixen I was before. It may lift the fog so that I could start enjoying my life again, but I'd heard countless accounts of the havoc anti-depressants can wreak on a person's sex drive, and I didn't want to expect too much and be disappointed. When, at the recommendation of my counselor, I visited my doctor to discuss a prescription for anti-depressants, I timidly mentioned my concerns about the medication's effect on my sex drive or ability to orgasm. I wasn't having much sex at the time, and the sex I did have was only mildly pleasurable, but I didn't want to risk it getting worse. She was very understanding (I adore my doctor) and knew exactly what to prescribe. It turns out that there are some anti-depressants that don't affect your sex drive as much as others. One, in particular - Wellbutrin - has even been shown to increase sex drive and sexual enjoyment. BINGO! This was the one. I was so excited I could barely wait to get out of there and over to the drug store to get my prescription filled.

Most anti-depressants take several weeks to take effect. Wellbutrin, however, has some benefits almost immediately. Within the first week of taking the medication I was already feeling more energized. The fog had started to lift. And, best of all, my sex drive was coming back. Oh boy, was it coming back.  For the first time in years, I had hope that the Old Me was still in there somewhere, and this medication might be the key to unlocking her.

And that's what this blog is about: My journey to rescue my sex drive from the suffocating grip of my depression.  There will be good days and bad days. There will be great sex and mediocre sex. There will be reflection and titillation. I'm very excited to share this experience with all of you, and I hope that my posts will both excite you and give you someone inspiration if you are experiencing similar trials and tribulations.

Look out, world, because this (moody) slut is back in action!





Monday, June 23, 2014

Back In The Saddle

Hello internet, it's nice to see you again! I've been in hiding for a while, and I'm glad you found me again. If you're looking for all of those old dirty stories and naughty photos, I'm afraid those are gone. It's time for a fresh start with a whole new blog, all new dirty stories, and all new naughty photos. Stay tuned, babydolls. I've been up to no good, and you're going to love reading about it!

Love,
Misty Kaye

p.s. Here's a little something to whet your whistles...