By Little Richard
My name is Little Richard, and my drugs of choice are marijuana and online dating. Am I well or poorly advised to avoid these things? Even in the most drug- and sex-positive atmospheres, the answer may sometimes be yes. However, one of my main “undercover reasons” for giving up on monogamy was that no matter how happy I was with my partner, I was always looking out for others, usually online. Interestingly, though my newly sexually adventurous lifestyle has led me to a situation where sex is easily available to me, my desire to look out for new partners did not stop once I had enough sex to occupy all my time. I should now be a satisfied sexual giant—an Otto Von Bismarck of cock, if you will—but even though I desire to ice my balls each morning after their intense yogurt shooting of the previous day, I still feel a compulsion to go back on OKCupid or to events organized through Fetlife and keep meeting new people.
I can’t help but wonder why this is. After all, I have access to rich and highly varied sexual experiences: my partners are like a multicolored array of shapely ice cream flavors. Depending on the day, I might be seen spending my time with people who have all different levels of emotional and physical availability to me. I am in one relationship in which the woman I’m seeing isn’t dating anyone else, whereas some don’t have time to see me more than once every few months. Their physical characteristics and bedroom proclivities are also highly various. When I feel like getting off through activities other than sex, I also attend fetish parties and meet with a sadist or two to sate my inner masochist; my goal in those ventures is to get myself flogged, whipped, and tortured using various implements. Yes, through my recent exploration, I’ve discovered that that’s also something I enjoy.
Nevertheless, although I am fully occupied in terms of partners, I’ve found myself back on OKCupid, running searches for my fantasy woman of the moment. Whether I want to add a blonde to the collection, connect with married women, or find someone really, really kinky, a whole list of candidates is just a simple OKCupid search away. And if I want to do something really out there, there are probably literally meetings about it organized through Fetlife. But even if I’m searching for something of which I already have one or two copies, I still get off on the process of online dating.
More after the jump!
For some reason, it is exhilarating to think that all across New York City, there are thousands of women sitting in front of their computers, fumbling for words as they write their profiles and answering yes-or-no match questions about topics like whether they’ll fuck on the first date. It all feels elevated to pre-porno interview status. I started dating online when you had to run searches for random AOL user info to find a stalking victim. Now, not only do all the women post pictures and info about themselves, but you can find out whether or not they’re DTF by running the “about sex” filter on their match questions. Plus, dealing with them requires no actual tact, saving people like me from certain disaster.
The sheer quantity of potential partners and the quality of information about them available online doesn’t just make me feel like I’m shopping at Pussy Walmart; it also provides for unique fantasies unto itself. Simply put, modern online dating has many more similarities with prostitution than many people would like to admit. Like many men, I actually enjoy the power exchange that comes with soliciting a prostitute: the idea of seeing an online ad for her, looking her up, throwing some cash in her face, and spraying my DNA all over her gives me a feeling of agency unlike anything else, even though I have several partners who will do the same with me for free. Similarly, I simply enjoy the feeling of agency that comes with earning a new sexual conquest primarily through online interaction, and I enjoy the excitement that comes with getting to know a new person sexually. I once had a friend who used to say, “You can only know 90% of everything about a woman until you have sex with her”; I would contend that that figure is actually more like 85%.
In addition to the learning experiences that come from my connections with both prostitutes and people from the Internet, I also enjoy the actual sex. Although I have only been to prostitutes a handful of times in my life, I derive particular enjoyment from booking an hour with a call girl and then seeing whether I can fuck her well enough for her to offer to pay me for the second hour. My intensive efforts have earned me “extras” (like cum in mouth, deep tongue kissing, and asshole licking) for free, whereas other johns might have had to pay hundreds for those privileges. I also take pride in giving a “special surprise” to any woman adventurous enough to feel out what I’ve got in my front pocket after meeting her online; this implied competitive element is the same whether or not the girl is paid.
Online dating, seen through a certain lens, can be reconceptualized as a prostitution fantasy with words substituted for money in the equation. There is less anonymity with online dating than prostitution, but not by much, and actually, the way pornstars are booked these days is through websites not dissimilar from online dating websites, but more geared towards pictures, measurements, and sex acts. Exploiting this similarity, when I find an online dating profile of a girl who matches one of my favorite pornstars, I drag a web browser window with her pictures displayed next to a video of the similar pornstar and do my thing.
It is precisely this infinite accessibility of women that kept relationship difficulties from bringing me down during difficult times while I was adjusting to polyamory. Because I am lucky enough to live in New York, I could never exhaust my ability to contact more women. I would literally die of exhaustion first. This renewability has prevented me from experiencing the feeling that I’ve reached a dead end.
I also can’t shake the feeling that I’m beginning to manage my dating situation like the general manager of a football team. Just as injuries can sideline players, so can a few misplaced words scuttle relationships and leave one’s love life in a lonely shambles. Plus, in addition to the acute breakups, there is the more insidious tendency for my occasional hookups to gradually lose interest in me. I can’t imagine why, but believe it or not, this happens. I suppose it’s the natural way of things. Regardless, online dating.
Is consensual non-monogamy (which guarantees my ability to stay on OKCupid essentially forever) a way of not dealing with an addiction I have? Maybe it is. Would it be nice if I could resist the urge to peek at an incoming OKCupid message or fantasize about something non-salient while there is pussy at the ready? Sure. It might help me get more things done. However, actually, I get quite a bit done anyway. Is a compulsion undesirable just because it controls how we go about our day? If so, then any persistent dedication to sexual activity outside of reproduction could be recast as a waste of time. Thus, there is really no argument that could convince me that continually seeking out novel sexual experiences while already in relationships is a bad thing.
My cyber compulsion also carries certain psychological benefits. In the past, I have tended to feel extremely uncomfortable in loud, crowded situations with only strangers around. Ultimately, it became easier for me to get out and enjoy the city if I could do it within the context of dating. Maybe I felt as though I would be negatively judged by everyone who saw that I was a single guy going out by myself. Having gone through a large portion of my life with a severe companionship deficit and intolerant parents, I tend to shoehorn negative judgment into every social situation involving myself, and online dating was really a big part of what snapped me out of it. Without it, I don’t know if I would have ever realized that I am not really inferior to anybody else.
Our other noble contributor, Banana, has also communicated that online dating has helped her branch out and become more confident socially. One thing to emphasize about Banana’s approach is that she uses online dating and event sites to maintain various elements of control over her dating life. When I first met her, she seemed ambivalent about her developing relationship with Partner, and she maintained a steady rhythm of OKCupid dates—partially because, like me, she simply likes the exhilaration of meeting a “stranger in the night,” and partially because she wanted to manage her commitment levels to various people. Since I’ve met her, though, she seems to have become significantly more closely paired with Partner than it seemed initially. After she joined Fetlife, a kinky social networking site that serves as the hub for organization of kinky events in New York City, that site served as a resource for her to connect with people and events to provide more various swinger experiences that would include Partner. Since she and Partner have mutually become involved in those, their relationship seems to have taken on a new dimension of mutuality and security.
All these experiences and observations lead me to conclude that the compulsion to maintain an online dating presence is a perfectly logical and normal thing in light of its benefits in today’s New York. There is so much appeal in the ability to dial up whatever type of mate or experience I desire. Of course, there is no guarantee of success or a good time, but the unique renewability and accessibility of online dating compensate for that. I’m glad that I’ve now arrived at a point where I can engage my desire to meet people online productively, thereby riding the Internet into the sunset like an atomic bomb.