Loving and Lusting in the Digital Age

Ever find yourself turning to Google, Facebook or Twitter for help with your love life, lusty libido or relationship redux? If so, you’re not alone. In what is turning into a sweeping trend, digital is becoming just as real as offline when it comes to matters of the heart. At least, that’s the case for millennials born into an Internet-connected and social media-centric world. An annual “Love & Lust” study conducted by advertising group Havas Worldwide found that millennials—or those born after 1980—perceive online romance to be just as compelling (if not more so) as interactions offline. Earlier generations, however, are not as convinced.

For the study, 2000 adult respondents, both men and women, millennial and otherwise, weighed in on such topics as flirting, dating and breaking up, as well as the influence the online sphere has on these endeavours.  A full 22 percent of those surveyed said that they had already had a romantic or sexual relationship thanks to the Internet. About 50 percent of people know someone whose relationship began online. And close to 25 percent of respondents know someone whose offline relationship ended because of misdeeds committed online.

Survey findings also include the insight that millennials are more romantic than their predecessors, with today’s young people treasuring Valentine’s Day, believing in romantic love and considering themselves romantics to a greater degree than either the 35-54 or the 55+ age sets. They also, unfortunately, harbour more anxieties about sex than their elders. Of the millennials surveyed, 1 in 3 worries about their performance in bed, 1 in 5 worries that their sexual behaviours and fantasies are abnormal and 1 in 6 occasionally feels guilt after sex.

In its elaborate infographic, Havas shows that perceptions and behaviours about love have seen some startling changes in the span of a mere decade. For instance, 2003 saw intelligence winning by a land-slide over physical appearance for the top spot as best turn-on; to wit: by a hefty 79:10. In 2013, the ratio evened out to 46:42, meaning that just four percent more people valued intelligence over looks. Clearly, modern men and women expect the complete package from their partner, more so than they did ten years ago.

According to Matt Weiss, Global Chief Marketing Officer of Havas Worldwide, “Not so long ago, being online was distinct from the rest of life. People with a taste for titillation had to sit at a computer and tie up a phone line while they checked out chat rooms and surfed the raunchier regions of the Internet. Now people are online virtually every waking hour … For society at large and for marketers, this is creating profound changes in how people think about some important distinctions in life: public vs. private, real vs. imagined, normal vs. abnormal, and right vs. wrong.” The take-away is clear: the digital revolution has changed not only how we work and play—it’s had a profound impact on how we love, as well.

Word Count: 495; Mercado News

February 28, 2013: http://mercadonews.com/v5/index.php/Sex-and-Gender/loving-and-lusting-in-the-digital-age.html

editor writer

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