Cognition & Reality

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Textual Love

Filed under: Sex & Love — drtone @ 11:17 am

A new channel for love communications has opened up in the last decade: Love by email, instant messaging, and texting. There’s even a term “sexting,” which refers, I believe, to something akin to the old standard of technological love, phone sex. As someone engaged in an affair that involves a lot of emailing, I’ve wondered about how the features of the medium affect the nature of the communication. For example, if I send an email to my girlfriend, I expect to hear back within a couple of hours; the same is true for her. If it takes longer than that, all kinds of stories appear: “She hasn’t answered because I went a little far in my references to sex”; “she’s lost interest”; “there’s something wrong with her”; “she’s having a difficult time with someone else, and she can’t take time to send me a message”; “she won’t even take time to send me a messag; I should have signed my last email “Love…: etc.  It’s a fertile ground for stories and an interesting medium through which to resolve misunderstanding. Sometimes it is inadequate for doing so.

I’d like to hear from readers about their experiences in this realm. What happens when there’s a delay in a lover’s reply? What are some of the other features that distinguish “text love” from love in the flesh…other than the obvious. There’s a dissertation or two in this topic.


1 Comment »

  1. Because this subject is so very big, I will say whatever comes to mind about it. I love emailing my boy friend. I love it because of his considered responses. I love it because we don’t interrupt each-other because we can’t due to the nature of emailing. We address each-other in ways that we wouldn’t otherwise. I think emailing is a new and delightful way of getting to know someone. Of course, it’s no the same as “in the flesh,” but I don’t care. It has elements of safety that are important to me in getting to know another person. I am not rushed into saying things that cajole or placate. In a lot of ways, I am more my relaxed natural self when I email. I choose what I want to say more easily. In some ways, it’s more romantic than actually being in person because there’s space in which your own story about the other has time to incubate and be nurtured. It’s all about getting a good story. It’s not about reality. What reality? I can only know what’s true for me. When I do actually see my boy friend in the flesh it is such a different sort of surprise. It is then that I can look at the cardboard construct of my emailing him and jump into the pool and get wet. I definitely vote for having both experiences. People used to have writing as their main means of communication a hundred years ago. There were no computers then. Still, the feeling translates as a conversation from far away. Then there is talking on telephones. I consider that all these ways of communicating are bring me closer to my lover, bring me closer to everyone for that matter.

    Comment by annie wallack — Sunday, 8 August 2010 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

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