DVC Sociology Discussion

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The way intimacy works now versus then is very different. Nowadays, intimacies “atypical” spaces are becoming more and more conventional, making it more and more complex. For example, say your grandma was our age in the 60’s, intimacy was shown when you saw each other through gestures, or even love languages such as gift giving. Now intimacy is shown through dating apps, where people can reach one another whenever, and wherever, making intimacy seem like it needs to always be constant. Not to mention because of these complexities, the “typical and conventional” idea of dating and being monogamous are slowing becoming a thing of the past. For example my grandma met my grandpa in high school and were married for over 50 years, which I feel that was a common thing for that time period. Nowadays you will hear less and less about life long relationships. “Implicit in Bauman’s ideas is the suggestion that life-long monogamous partnerships are being eroded by the proliferation of extensive ‘networks’ of romantic possibility (Hobbs et al. 2017, 272).” Thats because intimacy is so complex now, and it is not like it used to be, not only does intimacy require you to be together in person and online, but now people have other “options” at their finger tips. However visions of intimacy have changed, before the idea was that men are the dominant figure, and who you date is who you marry, but times have changed and the way intimacy “should work” has changed as well. Today when you go out as a couple together, you are expected to act a certain which shows you are with someone. Whether holding hands, hugging, peck on the cheek, whatever gestures show you are together. There is also an expected way in which you go out when yo have someone but are not together physically at that moment in time. From my personal experiences I have seen people act very differently in these kind of situations, making me think that life-long monogamous partnerships are becoming less and less intimate or are even starting to erode. With that said I have also seen more and more polyamory which encompasses a whole range of relationship practices, like Open relationships, open marriages, intimate networks, group marriages, triads and quads are the descriptive terms for polyamorous relationship arrangements offered by a range of authors (Munson and Stelboum 1999b; Labriola 1999; Anapol 2010). Yet these labels do not exhaust the full range of polyamorous possibilities(Klesse, Christian. 2011. 5).” While polyamory has become more popular and common, there is definitely a different kind of love associated with it versus monogamous. There is a different level of love in monogamous as you devote all your love and time to one person, the love associated is definitely sweeter. As I can only imagine not many people can handle or accept sharing a partner. “Despite the centrality of love in the interpretation of polyamory, there are few analytical accounts of what kind of love is advocated in polyamory(Klesse, Christian. 2011. 5).” That said relationships intimacy and its meaning is evolving and becoming more and more atypical as the world shifts to a more open view point.

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The definition of intimacy within relationships could be described as feelings of closeness, safety as well as being emotionally supported and connected. Due to technological advancements or the “digital revolution” within our society, relationship intimacy can now be attained in atypical spaces through our cellular devices. In contemporary times, dating applications are one of the many forms of atypical spaces of intimacy in which reveals the complexities of intimacy. These dating apps “increasingly allowing people to meet and form relationships with people with whom they have no previous social ties.” (Hobbs 272) Complexities of intimacy within these kinds of applications include romance being based on initial physical attraction through portraits chosen by the application users, the ability to choose who to respond to, and the higher possibilities of romantic partners in the comfort of one’s home (or wherever they may be). With the first complexity that I stated being that within dating apps potential romantic relationships are heavily based on initial physical attraction through one’s profile which is heavily based on selfies and portraits of a person. This is a complexity due to the fact that one can think someone is attractive on the dating app, but if that person does not feel the same way then inevitably, they will not match. For example, on Tinder, “with mutual right swipes resulting in a ‘match’ and the ability to begin a conversation.” (Hobbs 272) This reveals the complexity of rejection due to one’s looks and not attaining a right swipe back from someone they swiped right on. This is complicated because in order to get to know someone you want to get to know within this dating app, they must swipe right on you back and if not, you lose all your chances on conversing with them. Whereas, within a real-life scenario (i.e. walking in the city and seeing someone you’re attracted to) you can use your initial attraction on an individual and walk up to them and have a higher chance of conversing with them instead of having to wait to see if the two of you are a ‘match’ on the app. Which then leads to another complexity- the freedom of choosing who to talk to and maybe even how many you choose to talk to on these apps. With this freedom, polyamory comes into play. “Poly-interested people are connected via various networking sites, email lists and newsgroups.” (Kleese 9) Dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, etc. make it much easier to be in polyamorous relationships as well. While living with 3 other girls, one of them being on these dating apps the most, I was able to see through her that there are a lot of people who don’t really use these apps for long term, monogamous relationships. My housemate as well as the guys she would talk to on these apps would be on the same page about being open to talking to other people intimately aside from each other. “[…] sociologists like Giddens see romantic love on the decline […]” (Kleese 12) I have noticed that with hookup culture being very popular among my peers, it makes me realize that [yes] maybe romantic love is on a decline. Not only is romantic love on a decline, but I also think due to the fact that through dating apps it is much easier to interact with people in the comfort of one’s own home, this also declines face-to-face social interaction. A lot of people can find it much easier and less frightening to talk to an individual through these apps because they do not have the pressure to respond right away [or at all]. While being in a romantic, monogamous relationship for years now, I am able to see this decline within romantic love and social interactions face-to-face occur especially through those who use these atypical spaces of intimacy.

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