Here is the abridged version of this article: bad.
And now, the full version will elaborate.
I considered using the title “12 Frustrating Things Only A Lonely Person Who Has Scrolled Past Too Many Articles About Other People’s Sex Lives Would Know.” That felt wordy. Moreover, I’m not sure if I could’ve come up with enough items. Enough list articles exist, so I decided to proceed this way.
Sex and relationship articles collect hits and shares like few other articles do. All cover similar territory, but they vary in specificity. Some are directions about how to correct what we’re all doing the wrong way. Others are tips for how to have sex that resembles couples-friendly porn. The rest tend to be confessionals. The point of all of them is to get clicks. No, that’s cynical. The point is to enlighten or empower or entertain (even if by making readers cringe). There. That sounds more positive.
I’ve wondered if the bulk of people reading and sharing can actually relate. Maybe the articles are simply a voyeuristic sojourn for those who feel they’re on the outside of some kind of digerati sex club. What I do know is for people who can’t stir any interest from others (translation: can’t manage to get laid), these articles are further reminders of the distance between imagined and actual life. Clicking on sex and relationship articles might be a form of mild masochism for some. Even when read for the sake of self-improvement, they can sting more than inspire.
I’m equally curious about the motivations for writing these articles. Some writers seem to be bragging through them. Others seem to be going for sensationalism. Still others seem driven to genuinely offer help. All of the articles get clicks. On some level, writers might just be out for self-promotion (which might make you wonder why I’ve written this).
Blogs and online magazines get views galore for their writers’ efforts. A few confident and comfortable readers get something to pass the time in the bathroom or on a train. What about those who want to drown in the tub or jump on the tracks after reading about what everyone else is supposedly doing? If a sufficient number of readers are lonely types who feel like garbage after reading these articles, maybe action is necessary. Perhaps a campaign should begin to stop this kind of writing on the grounds that it makes lonely people uncomfortable (loneliness shaming, anyone?). Even if others enjoy such articles, an advanced civilization can’t risk the possibility of something a few people enjoy inadvertently upsetting a few others, right?
I jest. Barring such outright absurdity, maybe the lonely and sensitive among us should think twice before opening articles with titles such as “21 Mind-Blowing Ways To Make Morning Sex Incredible.” Even articles intended to offer advice might hurt more than help some people. Although advice columns and sites need to suggest otherwise, some lonely people aren’t able to fix their loneliness. Society is such that many people are going to be alone no matter what they try to do about it. The dismissed and unwanted can still get online. They might be driven to scour pain-inducing pieces, or they might see them by mistake while reading news. The sight is like salt in the eyes.
The lonely can try to minimize exposure, but this is tricky when every site from Yahoo to the Weather Channel hosts stories about why someone else has a better sex life. People notice something more often when they’re fixated on it. When this something happens to be everywhere, the combination of fixation and ubiquity can hurt over and over.
So how can lonely people deal with this? Look back to the title of this article. My point isn’t to offer a solution. My point is highlight what bringing Cosmopolitan from the grocery store checkout line to the homepage of every site does to people for whom sex and intimacy are myths. I suppose lonely types could remember that the same forces behind bikinis in beer commercials are behind articles about spicing up the bedroom. The lonely might be able to add their voices on sites like this one. A market for commiseration might exist. People also enjoy the misfortune of others. They just don’t like this as much as they like learning the best way to keep their partner around via superior oral sex.
To the lonely finishing this article: someone knows exactly how you feel. Try to shield your eyes if you must, but know that enough other lonely people are out there to populate a small nation.