Sex in the Poli – Facebook, relationships & “faux” encouters of the cyber kind

Today, almost everyone we know is a member of the network, including our boyfriends, current and past spouses, bosses, co-workers, sisters, brothers, children and sometimes even our parents. We already know that Facebook is a great medium in keeping up with all these friends and loved ones, and according to some studies it is also a place for finding people for sexual encounters, but beware to all of those in solid relationships it can also break up marriages, create havoc between you and your mate as well as bring out many of your insecurities. I mean think about, if an ex-boyfriend writes a comment on our wall and your partner sees it… a fight can erupt between you and your partner because he or she got a wee bit jealous. Indeed its fun chatting with friends on Facebook, but according to recent studies this actually creates obsessive characters, feelings of jealousy and ironically enough it also isolates us. Today Sex In The Poli takes a hard look at Facebook, relationships and sexual “faux” encounters of the cyber kind.
The first study, released by the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada revealed that that Facebook increases jealousy in users’ romantic relationships. The study, which was published in the latest issue of CyberPsychology and Behaviour, concluded that the more time people spend on the social network, the more jealous they tend to become.
The result? Specific factors make this social network a breeding ground for relationship jealousy. The researchers identified four themes that contributed to jealousy on Facebook. They are as follows:
  • Accessibility of information: Increased info about the interactions of significant others lead to increased monitoring and jealousy for 19.1% of participants
  • Relationship jealousy: 16.2% of respondents were explicitly linked to Facebook use contributing to jealousy
  • Facebook as an addiction: 10.3% of participants had major difficulty limiting the amount of time he or she looked at his or her partner’s Facebook profile.
  • Lack of context: 7.4% of respondents referenced how Facebook can be ambiguous and that, without context, jealousy can be spurred over misunderstandings.
In a separate study, David McCandless — graphic designer, author and obsessive data collector – analyzed over 10,000 break-ups in Facebook status announcements, over the course of a year in an impressive act of science / cyber-stalking. The results, graphed above, paint a very collegiate picture of the break-up cycle.  
According to his survey, you are least likely to be dumped on Christmas Day, but also most likely to be dumped between now, the first of November and Christmas. Most people start off the summer single, but there’s also a huge spike in the spring, around Spring Break. 

Most relationship changes are announced on Mondays, perhaps because a lot of dating, and dumping, takes place on the weekends prior.

Whether this study says anything about break-ups and dating, I personally do not know, but still 10,000 is a decent sample size to make some kind of theory; so we should probably all be extra nice to our boy- and/or girlfriends between now and the new year, just in case. 
Facebook is a haven for sexually deprived people as well. It is almost like the social network has unleashed everyone’s inner freak. Men and women say communicating via social networking, instant messaging and texting leads them straight to the bedroom. According to yet another sex survey from Shape and Men’s Fitness magazines, 80 percent of women say relationships lead to sex more quickly because it’s so easy to stay connected.
Fifty-eight percent of the men surveyed said flirting over Facebook, texts and other such social networking helps them get women into the sack sooner.
Tech-enabling flirting may not be as intimate as the old-fashioned, face-to-face variety, but according to the survey, it can apparently still lead to great sex. 
The magazines found that 47 percent of those surveyed said their sex lives are “amazing,” compared to 21 percent last year. 

But Dr. Dorree Lynn, a psychologist and author of “Sex for Grownups,” said social media are actually fostering a sense of “faux intimacy” among couples. Men and women may report amazing sex in the short term, but what happens to those relationships in the long-term? “It’s easier to hop into bed than have a relationship,” said Lynn. “It’s all a function of the fast-paced world we live in, where communication skills, genuine communication skills, which means face-to-face communication, are quickly going by the wayside.”

Digital communication, and the time spent engaged in it, may give couples a sense of intimacy, but certainly texting and social media does not teach us how to develop genuine relationships. I mean think about it folks, if you let your fingers do the walking then you can forget that you need to do the talking. That will isolate you, as well as take out the magic from the connection made between people.
It is erotic to “cyber” flirt and even experiment with “faux” love-making via the airwaves, but it cannot match up to the actual intimacy that two people can share with one another. 
Now, don’t get me wrong, the social media certainly also has its downsides, I am sure we are all surrounded with people who are glued to their laptops, blackberries and iPhones 24 hours a day. But as with almost anything, I think social media is what you make of it. 

Just ask yourself several simple questions. Do you mainly use it to grow virtual gardens and talk to virtual guy/girlfriends, or do you use it to network, keep in touch with family, get to know people in your field of interest and then actually meet them in real life? If you mainly do the latter, then I think social media results in the opposite of isolation.

In Greece we say “Pan Metron Ariston” which is ancient Greek for “everything in moderation”.  Just like with everything else, wine, food and whatever…, as long as we do not over abuse our use, and know very well that the relationships formed on line are totally virtual, and we use the internet in moderation… then the social network is great, and we shouldn’t really have a problem. 

Oh by the way -and this is for all of those want-to-be singles out there- please… if you don’t want a heated fight with your partner, then just write “in a relationship” in your status… be honest… otherwise re-read the above article because you might end up sleeping in the garage tonight.


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