I don’t have to tell you that anonymity lowers inhibitions. Anyone who’s received hate mail or read the comments on a YouTube video can tell you that. But people express more than just their opinions on Taylor Swift while anonymous. Ever since someone invented the glory hole, being anonymous has had a direct impact on our sex lives. The Internet is just the latest development in the fine art of finding a wall (distance between two people) and drilling a hole (or series of tubes).
Even before the Internet, people found a way to have sex with people they did not know. For most people, finding someone to spend the night with involved a singles’ bar. Correctly or otherwise, women have long been portrayed as the thorn in the side of promiscuity, and before modern times, it would be foolish to expect to find single, willing women at such bars. Since there is usually a large amount of alcohol on-hand at bars, it became the man’s job to buy as many drinks as was needed to overtake the woman’s desire to remain honorable.
Of course, nowadays, the strict roles of yesteryear are beginning to fall away. Honorable or not, it is becoming acceptable for women to have sex, like it and seek it out. Men and women alike are becoming more adept at having successfully casual sexual encounters. With the advent of the Internet, they have even broken into the world of cruising.
Cruising is documented as early as the 1800s, but probably originated in the earliest civilizations. The practice of searching a public place for a sexual partner was popularized by gay men, for whom anonymity was important in the days when the act of sodomy was illegal. Today, physical cruising still occurs in some cities, mostly among men who claim they aren’t gay.
Most cruisers, however, have fled parks and bookstores for the Internet, where the police have not yet found a way to arrest anyone for public indecency. Today, there are hundreds of websites will help you find a sexual partner. The casual encounters they help arrange can be as anonymous as the participants wish, and the sites can cater to specialty audiences, much like dating websites do.
The benefits of website cruising is that while you remain online, you are free of practically any risk, either physical or to your ego. Not only can you not be punched or have any drinks thrown at you through your computer screen, but you have more privacy to woo someone, since the messages you are sending are seen by only the two of you. While your fingers touch a keyboard, online cruising is one of the safest sexual activities.
Once two people who have found each other on a casual sex site decide to meet up in person, anonymity becomes risky. The reason relationships and elaborate dating rituals exist is so we can weed out all the people who just aren’t right for us. When people have to inch their way closer to each other, imperfections usually become apparent before anything serious happens. With no time for evaluation, a frequent practitioner of anonymous sex is guaranteed to eventually have sex (or almost have sex) with someone they probably shouldn’t have. Whether this person is violent, a thief, has an STI or isn’t as hot as he looked in the add, sex is much riskier when you don’t get to know someone first.
Relationships are stronger when they involve personal contact, but we all know that relationships are not necessary to have sex. Today, finding someone to have sex with is easier than ever, but the unknown still has the potential for both fun and danger.