In a future with an increased reliance on online intermediaries in daily life, casual sex and hookups are initiated only through digital platforms.
What began as the taboo and distasteful personal ads section of Craigslist has become the overwhelming norm for dating and sex. In a transitioning from Craigslist’s anonymous “blank seeking blank” to Tinder and Grindr profiles, finding a casual encounter in the present has become as simple as ordering takeout.
No longer does one need to flirt or date in the physical world. Emotional intelligence between humans outside of digital contexts has diminished, and displays of affection in public are largely uncommon. Dating requires a connection through digital space, but little written or verbal exchange is made between participants. Like a food ordering system, the participants select desirable traits for their delivery. These valued traits can be accessed remotely or input manually by a participant. A match within a specified distance is made and the individuals are tracked by geolocators as they engage at a private meeting place.
Social interaction has declined in public, and has been compensated for in humans in the form of private sexual expression. The population has become increasingly driven by constant sexual desire. Cases of rape increase.
The increase in casual sex with strangers has led to an increase in HIV and STD transmission rates. Sex education did not meet the rate of change seen in technologic social interactions and young adults are therefore not prepared to protect themselves. An increase in HIV and STD transmission has caused higher medical costs and subsequently a growing number of people who cannot afford treatment. Classist divides grow: the poor have become poorer and sicker with drastically lower life expectancies.
Along with height, weight and body type attributes, the ordering process for hookups includes selectable options on HIV and STD status, which is publicly accessible information. Complete trust is given to the digital systems to protect the user’s health by pairing only documented HIV negative participants. A black market for clean blood samples grows, allowing for unknown transmission between sexual partners. Once diagnosed, it is impossible to live life without being socially ostracized. Communities of diagnosed individuals form in digital and physical spaces as they are shunned from society.
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Malpass, Matt. 2013. Between Wit and Reason: Defining Associative, Speculative, and Critical Design in Practice in Design Culture, Vol. 5, Issue 3, pp 333 – 356