The Positive Side of Medicine

Has Intimacy Gone So Far Out Of Style That It’s Poised For a Comeback?


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There’s a new potential trend dawning: intimacy. Mind you, trends don’t always have the best timing. People went crazy over disposable baby food pouches yet simultaneously stressed over plastic pollution. The touch trend isn’t any different.

Has intimacy gone so far out of style that it’s poised for a comeback?

Sexting has replaced making out in the backseat. University faculty handbooks recommend all male professors meet college co-eds with their office doors halfway open. It’s as if more folks are writing about consensual sex than there are folks actually having it.

The “you do you” culture has inspired a market that pushes self-love as a sufficient stand-in for actual intimacy offering everything from Hygge blankets to sex-doll brothels. The message is: If no one else will touch you, touch yourself!

Trend predictors watch for endgames that signal the birth of something new and saturation points at which nothing else will be welcomed in the market. Some say that point came last year with Gatebox. Gatebox is a digital girlfriend who resides in a glass cube. The commercial evokes the existential dread of the Joaquin Phoenix sci-fi movie “Her.”

Unfortunately, spontaneous touches fell out of favor. Formerly sexually active people stay home with a vibrator and watch “Game of Thrones.” Could this mean that these folks no longer remember how to go about touching others?

Dating apps told us having a third-party interloper (i.e. a touchscreen) is the most empowering move people can make. Online dating does have benefits, but it also can decrease one’s fluency in social cues, create option paralysis, and the tendency to reduce humans to avatars. What can be done to fix things?

In order to orchestrate a comeback to intimacy, some people have been trading in their smartphones for dumbphones. Facebook has reported recent issues. Millions of users have chosen to click on “deactivate.”

Still, even if “offline” is the new black, that doesn’t mean everyone is going to jump into one another’s arms. They might not know how anymore. In fact, some are turning to professionals for a compensated touch.

For example, “professional cuddling” has gone from “that’s too stupid to be real” to a service for which Siri can look up a local address. RentAFriend.com has more than 621,000 companions you can rent by the hour for various events. Sex therapy is also becoming not only viable but even potentially superior to couple’s counseling.

Indeed, Walter Brackelmanns, a sex therapist, reported that in the case of his practice, the divorce rate was only five percent, which suggests sex therapy is effective. Some trend predictors suggest the status quo may be swinging from “Don’t touch me!” to “Oh! Please touch me again!” Should we expect the launching of body language clinics?

Picture a welcome comeback complete with “pheromone-based” dating and prolonged eye contact becoming more popular than SoulCycle. Even those in the know have yet to grasp how we would accomplish this. Perhaps, for now, it’s enough to look forward to a time when people turn from spending a lot of time just thinking about sex to actually having it.

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