Dorothy Heller

A writer, blogger, mother, medical interpreter, bookaholic, grandmother, shower singer, translator, tea-aholic and an aspiring songwriter. Still writing her novel and wants to write at least one good song.

Mature Singles and the Technology of Love

Has life as a mature single become tiresome and awkward—“awk” as my twenty-something daughter would say? Does online dating feel like an investment of time and energy that is out of proportion with the ROI (Return on Investment)? Does swiping right leave you cold? Are you beginning to lose hope that you will find your mature lover and partner?

Mature singles, do not despair. As always, technology has come to the rescue.

In 2013, the New York Times published a review of the film, Her, by Spike Jonze: “’Interactive’ Gets a New Meaning—Sex Toys and Cybersex Are Enhanced by New Technology.”Hope for our future was portrayed by the lonely hero having a love affair with an operating system. At the time, the theme was considered to be more or less out there-more science fiction than reality.

Then along came the pandemic, to kickstart the idea of having sex with yourself with or without numerous devices–anything other than another (potentially plague-bearing) human being. A two-second internet search came up with the link between masturbation and immunity; masturbating to sexually explicit media; statistics on ssexual behaviors during the pandemic; why the New York City Health Department was encouraging masturbation, etc., etc.,

Leading the charge are the Women of Sex Tech. Finally, technology working for human good–providing pleasure for one, instead of creating more robots and erasing more jobs.

Pandemics and social distancing aside, other human beings are so hopelessly inconvenient—especially mature human beings. They have baggage—ex-spouses, progeny of varying ages, health problems, “issues.” They snore, fart, leave the toilet seat up. Mature women worry about being fat, or want to talk about “where the relationship is going.” Even if they’re post-PMS (or post-menopausal, for that matter), they still have moods and feelings—so tediously labor-intensive and time-consuming.

Meanwhile, the mature male of the species often resemble a greedy kid in the candy store whose eyes are bigger than his stomach—he has florid fantasies of sensual adventures, but no longer has the stamina to follow through.

Not to even mention the challenges of long-distance romance. Online dating sites constantly offer up tempting partner possibilities who leave inconveniently far away, no matter how selectively you set your parameters.

Even when you’ve finally found your partner, there all the complications of merging several generations in order to commit and cohabitate. Figuring out the finances. Tolerating each other’s exes—or the lingering memory of the dearly departed.

Then, to add insult to injury, once you’ve navigated all the complications and negotiations of the merger, you have to put up with your partner’s presence, 24/7, warts and all.

Why exactly are we looking for love–at least with another human being?

Future generations will wonder why people ever tortured themselves with the complexities of “relationships” with defective human partners. Instead of therapy, you can invest in Real Touch: “a USB-connected sex toy that promises ‘interactive sex’ with another person over the Internet…. as if the two were in the same room.”

A Taiwanese company offers LovePalz, “the world’s best interactive toys for Internet love.” Fundawear is a pair of his/her underpants with vibrating nodes that can be remotely activated by an iPhone–“touch over the Internet” and “the future of foreplay.”

Chris Moukarbel, director of “Sex//Now,” on HBO states, “we’re experiencing an unparalleled technological revolution, and we’re learning that social desire feeds technological change.”

According to The Future of Relationships, new technology will enable people to “get attached to and develop real relationships with their hardware and software” and enjoy “long distance foreplay,” “relationship forensics” systems; “teledildonics” (sex toys operated by computer technology); and “data mining… to metricize sexual performance and even love.”

According to Terry Young, founder of Sparks & Honey, “If you fast-forward five to 10 years, it’s fascinating to think about what teenagers might constitute as intimate relationships and how relationships will be radically different.”

A further technological advance is the Brave New World of “virtual sweethearts,” who can be modified and customized to the user’s every whim and preference. Why even bother to wait for your aging partner who lives three-hundred miles away to activate your Fundawear? You can program your own personal electronic partner—your individualized Mr. Darcy or Dreamgirl.

The Internet is already the best thing to ever happen to adult films–and adulterers. Technology has now brought the plastic blow-up doll to its fullest potential. Men with the emotional maturity of the buyers of blow-up dolls can purchase an electronically customized Stepford Wife who doesn’t require food, lodging or a joint tax return, and can be conveniently stored in a carrying case or bedside drawer when their services are not required.

Women will have some improved version of “Boyfriend Maker” and the lovable, squeezable, “Limon” vibrator for one or two.

That hoary expression, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” certainly doesn’t apply to us– the Boomer Generation. We’re chronologically challenged, not aging, and we know how to roll with the punches. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” may have been one of our favorite songs, but with all due respect (PROPS) to the Beatles, Boomers know all about “moving on.” All you need to hold—or virtually hold you- is your personalized electronic love device.

The logical next development–once our customized virtual non-human sweethearts have been consigned to the junk heap of technological history along with the TI 99 and flat screen Atari--will be for our electronic devices to have relationships directly with each other, and eventually only with themselves. It will be the End of Interface—or the Age of Interface For One.

By that time, there will be no need for a human user at all. Which could become a problem—who will produce, manufacture, distribute, and actually purchase these self-sufficient romantic robots?

Not to worry. I’m sure technology has the answer.

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