Can You Trust LinkedUp!, The New Dating App for Business?

Can You Trust LinkedUp!, The New Dating App for Business?

Online Dating Lacks Community, Which Creates Trust As a sex therapist I spend a lot of time counseling single New Yorkers about how to find good partners. That’s gotten a lot easier since online dating has radically increased the number of people to choose from. But online dating has its disadvantages. It’s great if you’re just looking for a hookup or casual fling. You know no one in common, so you don’t have to worry about hurting your reputation if things don’t work out. You go your separate ways afterwards, and there’s no collateral damage to either of your social networks. It’s also great if like many people in sex therapy you’re worried about your sexual performance.  If the sex is a disappointment, no one else will find out. But if you’re looking for a more serious relationship, the disconnect between your social networks becomes a disadvantage.  Since you know no one in common, you lack a context for your relationship. There’s no social “glue” to hold you together. Relationships are the fruit of community. Community is the tree that grows the fruit. Online dating delivers the fruit without the tree. Trust is a hard thing in any relationship.  But it’s harder to trust someone if you don’t really know or understand the world they come from.  The subtle signals that people in the same community give each other are often lost or misperceived by a stranger. What would really be valuable is an online dating platform that taps into a community of people you know and trust. The new app, LinkedUp! does just that by using your professional business network on...
Mass Erotic Choice as a Social Organizer —   from Beatlemania to Fifty Shades of Grey

Mass Erotic Choice as a Social Organizer — from Beatlemania to Fifty Shades of Grey

Photo credit:  Pedrosimoes7,  via Creative Commons.    The Questions Never Change Working as a sex therapist, I have more than a passing interest in what the culture happens to be serving up about eros. Part of it is simply curiosity about what my clients are reading.  But the greater part involves a search for conceptual tools with which to understand the erotic mind. Fact is, sexuality remains a mystery in many ways. Are humans inherently monogamous, or not? To what extent are men’s and women’s sexual natures the same or different? What’s the connection between sexuality and spirituality? What do women want? These questions forever haunt us. Last year, I endeavored to review a new book, written not by sex experts but  by computer scientists, that nonetheless purported to offer insights about human sexual nature based on such things as Google porn searches and word choice in online erotic fiction. The idea was and is a compelling one:  If you want to understand human sexuality, look at people’s actual choices.   On the internet, those choices are measurable. By year’s end, my review of A Billion Wicked Thoughts had stretched to eleven articles, with no end in sight.  Wary of tiring my readers, I put a stop to it.   Mass Erotic Decision-Making But now with Fifty Shades of Grey it seems we’re back in the territory of mass erotic choice. Can we learn anything about sexuality from the success of FiftyShades?   Yes, I think so. Since the book is erotic fantasy rather than actual sex, though, we have to be careful.   We shouldn’t, for example, after reading the book presume...
Lessons from the World’s Largest Sex Experiment

Lessons from the World’s Largest Sex Experiment

Photo credit:  Pedrosimoes7,  via Creative Commons.   Mapping the Erotic Mind This year saw the publication of A Billion Wicked Thoughts, a book that among other things discusses its author’s independent analysis of 55 million sex-related Google searches. Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, the two computational neuroscientists who wrote A Billion Wicked Thoughts, appear to have had enough data to produce a decade or two of scholarly publications in the sexuality field — but instead decided to try to write a best-seller.   This so far has distracted people from the book’s rather new and interesting theory of human sexual motivation. I agree with the book’s critics who say the project is quite flawed.   But I believe it would be foolish to ignore the authors’ ambitious theory of sexual motivation, or their huge and unique set of data that supports it. I’ve attempted on these pages to place the work in cultural and scientific context, and to show its applicability to the practice of sex therapy.    It’s turned out to be a larger project than anticipated, and I still haven’t completed it.   But for anyone with the time and interest, here are the links so far: Part 1:  The Strange New Science Behind A Billion Wicked Thoughts “Heterosexual men generally suppress the impulse to stare at other men’s penises.   But on the internet — where no one but Google is watching — penises get looked at.   According to A Billion Wicked Thoughts, these men are simply responding to an ordinary male desire — to check out and admire the sexual anatomy of a man who is perceived as dominant or...
Writing About Sex: The Simple, the Complex, and the Still-Forbidden

Writing About Sex: The Simple, the Complex, and the Still-Forbidden

Seventh in a series of articles loosely based on A Billion Wicked Thoughts, by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam.   Things you Still Can’t Say in Print About Sex Last May saw the publication of a new and somewhat controversial book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts, written by two experts in the new and somewhat controversial field of computational neuroscience — a scientific discipline that uses software principles to understand the human mind. The authors used available data from the internet – the largest such dataset ever collected — to find out what kinds of sexual material people were seeking online, when no one but Google is watching.   They then speculated about the nature of men’s and women’s “sexual software.” Comparing sex and software doesn’t immediately sound like such a good idea.  Since its publication last May, the book hasn’t had an easy time. The media quickly picked up on its more salacious bits such as “granny-porn,” completely ignored the authors’ theory of the sexual mind, and then lost interest entirely.   The New York Times Book Review assigned the book not to a sex researcher but to a cultural critic, who called it a “farrago.” On Amazon, the book currently carries a disappointing 3-star rating.   Closer examination shows a barbell-shaped distribution of reviews, with 15 reviewers having given it only one star, a similar number having given it five stars, and very few votes in the middle.   A quick glance at the Amazon reviews reveals a lot of very angry readers in the one-star camp. Several of my colleagues have refused to read it, dissuaded by the negative press the...
The Cosmo Interview:  Contemporary Sexuality and A Billion Wicked Thoughts

The Cosmo Interview: Contemporary Sexuality and A Billion Wicked Thoughts

I was recently interviewed by Karen Robertson for Cosmopolitan South Africa on the subject of the new book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, which has been extensively reviewed on these pages.    Ms. Robertson’s article “Is Kinky the New Normal?” appeared in Cosmopolitan South Africa in July 2011. Thanks to Ms. Robertson and to Cosmopolitan for permission to reproduce the excerpts below from our original interview.   Robertson:  As a sex therapist you’re on the front line as it were of human sexual behaviour.   How useful have you found the findings in A Billion Wicked Thoughts? Snyder: The book confirms two things we sex therapists have known about for years – that humans are quite sexually diverse, but that there appears to be some underlying order in all this diversity. The authors’ approach is to try to map out the sexual “cues” that men and women use to identify worthwhile mates.   It’s a somewhat simplistic approach, but I believe the findings are mostly valid — and useful in clinical practice.   Robertson:  For instance? Snyder: For instance, as I discussed in The Strange New Science behind A Billion Wicked Thoughts, the authors found that many straight men like to look at other men’s penises online.   Penises are an ordinary sexual cue for heterosexual men. Furthermore, some of the more exotic visual creations on the internet — such as computer-generated images of women with male genitals — attract male attention because they offer things men like to look at, in novel combinations. In this case,  women’s bodies and erect penises.   Robertson:  If a young woman finds what she...