I mentioned before I pluck random books from my bookshelf, books I have already read and read a few pages when I have a lull or feel drawn to them. This evening it was Sadly, Porn by The Last Psychiatrist. I am a late to the TLP blog, and I have not read all his blog posts. What I have read is thought provoking and very funny. This isn’t a review of Sadly, Porn but the pages I landed on this evening made me think of the dating discourse that seems to have taken over Twitter/X.
There is a passage in the book where fantasy in the context of sex and porn is discussed. TLP writes, “Generating your own sexual fantasy has no payoff and thus no reinforcement because after the orgasm there’s nothing left, all that work you put in refining what you want becomes afterwards merely a memory of what you’ll never have.” This immediately made me think of the online dating discourse and the death of romance. It seems like dating discourse has become porn. It generates high engagement, algorithmically, I suspect dating discourse generates as much engagement as porn and fight videos all of which most likely light the limbic system up like a Christmas tree. LOL
I recently had a conversation with a mutual and he stated that he would never engage with dating discourse online. I simply replied that it is fun. However, many things that are “fun” are also deprecating. If you replace porn with dating discourse you have the same outcome, you’ve gone online obsessed over and engaged with whatever post some dating guru or some viral tweet and through them decided you’ve been imparted with some new wisdom on relationship dynamics without ever having to experience the dynamic. In engaging with dating discourse, you are often being relieved of the naivete that is so necessary in romance and love. I think most people start fantasizing at a young age about how they will be in love and the type of romantic partners they hope to encounter. Dating discourse destroys the fantasy and replaces it with mourning.
Mourn, "to feel or express sorrow, grief, or regret; bemoan, long after," also "be anxious about, be careful" or "to pine away.” This is dating discourse, it’s a public, crowd sourced mourning for love and romance. Both of which many people have yet to experience in real life and are already bemoaning and anxious about experiencing either. The discourse is castrating. TLP follows up the previous statement with, “anything so your mind is not ruminating, fantasizing, the painful video memories seem masochistic, but they are 100% defensive to a person stuck in mourning.” The online dating discourse is often masochistic. People salivate over posts where men or women post their dating failures. Worse than being masochistic as TLP points out in the context of porn the discourse serves as a defense mechanism from ever engaging in romance or engaging in good faith, which is where “game” or playing games enters. Many engage in dating discourse mourn with everyone online and become completely jaded. As TLP points out. “The pathology isn’t in the fact of the images, it is in the replacement of the images, it is a disorder of thinking. You can say the digital images are painful, but they are far less threatening than imagination.” People share dating stories, icks, red flags and game etc. the problem isn’t sharing them, as humans have probably always done this as it is the easiest way for most people to relate to one another. However, many are simply replacing the discourse with real life experience. Why try if the viral post with a graph says all women prefer men over 6 feet or only poor men like women with large asses? It is less threatening to engage with and obsess over thousands of posts on dating that tell you a million different ways you will be slighted, heartbroken and divorced than to engage in romance in a meaningful way without your brain running 20 million red pill dating scenarios in the background while you’re on a date. The discourse has become a “perpetual mourning.” The fact is love is experienced by 2 people (usually LOL) it is too nuanced and refined to convey online. It is often even hard to explain why it did or didn’t work out. I will leave it here with a quote from the book, “Life is made up of meetings and partings. Such is the way of it.” Be happy you are alive and have the opportunity to love and be loved. Why mourn and bemoan the greatest joy of living?
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