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Alternative Spaces of Intimacy

The Digital revolution caused modern ‘romance’ to change significantly because people now have the means to connect via the internet without the need to physically approach another person in the streets. As a consequence, there are more and more people who started dating online or met via social media. Among gay people that coefficient equals around 70%, which is unbelievable (Hobbs et al., 2017). Mobile apps made sexual activity easier, because to ‘hook up’ online is easier than going to the club and suffering from several consecutive denials until finding the desired date.

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It is quicker, more efficient and one can find a person with some kinks and worldview. However, Zygmunt Bauman in his book Liquid Love argues that these ‘app-dates’ liquefy the solidity and security of romantic and family relationships (Hobbs et al, 2017). This is not true, however, because if one wanted to find a quick and available ‘hook-up’, he or she would find it whether they have family or not. Apps influenced the speed of such dates but did not destroy the family institution and did not liquefy love. Love and relationship can be formed anywhere, but with the appearance of dating apps, it became easier.

It is also becoming easier to engage oneself in a polyamorous relationship, which means to love and have a relationship with more than one person. As a dominant vision of a ‘standard’ family says – the relationship is supposed to occur between two people. However, as society develops and dating apps become more accessible, it is possible to engage in a polyamorous relationship if the partner agrees. This certainly challenges a traditional view on family structure, however, it can be considered normal, because love is something that one’s heart chooses. There can be one, two, or more loves in one’s heart and the desire to be with all of them.

Moreover, as dating apps have become popular, there are increasingly more definitions of intimacy and intimate relationships. For example, when phones first appeared, a phone sex service soon followed (Berlant, 1998). It challenged the normality and abnormality of sexual relationships, however, those relations are also normal just like any other type of sexual engagement. In the modern world, the notion of cybersex is trendy, there are certain sites where one can watch someone engage in sexual activities or do ‘sexting’. It is a form of sexual roleplaying, which occurs solely through the use of text messages and sometimes can include photos and videos upon the agreement between both parties.

These ‘atypical’ spaces of intimacy have created a whole new sphere of virtual sexuality, which was unthinkable in the past. At that time, people could imagine intimate relationships between two-man and women. There were untypical families like in some religions (Islam, Fundamentalist Mormonism, etcetera), but that was highly condemned despite cultural differences. Contemporaneous, one can engage in several types of intimate relationships: a quick ‘hook-up’ via a dating app, sexual relationships for money via viral prostitution, sexting, cybersex, and even pornography (Hobbs et al., 2017). All those things have appeared after the digital revolution and shaped the notion of sexuality, and changed the spaces, where intimacy takes place (which was typically the bed in the past) into more devious places like the internet.

Overall, the digital age has encouraged people to understand their sexuality, helped them shape their intimacy, and discover the things they are comfortable with. Dating apps and other means of intimacy reshape conventional notions on intimacy and its conservative nature into more ‘barbarian’ and devious acts. One can easily explore her or his boundaries in their safe space, which was unavailable and even unthinkable in the past.


Berlant, L. (1998). Intimacy: A special issue. The University of Chicago Press Journals, 24(2), 281-288. Web.

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Hobbs, M., Owen, S., & Gerber, L. (2017). Liquid love? Dating apps, sex, relationships, and the digital transformation of intimacy. Journal of Sociology, 53(2) 271–284. Web.

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