Red Eye: From Text to Sex?

DO GADGETS MAKE YOU CLOSER TO YOUR MATE—OR YOUR CELL?

Is technology your new wingman when it comes to hookups? Consider these results from a recent survey by Shape and Men’s Fitness magazines:

• Nearly four out of five women and three out of five men say they believe texting, Facebook and other social networking tools cause new couples to jump into be faster, according to the 1200 women and men who participated in the third annual sex survey.

• 38percent of women sat they have actually slept with a date sooner because of digital intimacy

• Even before the magic begins 70% of women and 63 percent of men use Google and other online tools to screen potential dates

• 65 percent of those polled said they had been asked out by text and 49 percent through a Facebook message

Kevin Arkinson, 25, says he’s been asked out via text message, but neither instance lasted. “We went on a couple of dates, but not serious”

Arkinson can see, though m how texting and social media could fast forward intimacy. “I think it just makes it easier to approach people so there’s less of a fear of rejection,” the Boys town resident told Redeye. “And then people get more involved faster.”

Arkinson also admits to using Facebook to scope out potential dates before meeting them in person. “If it’s someone who has mutual friends with me, that’s what I’ll look up,” he said. “If I meet someone out somewhere and we exchange numbers, I’ll look them up after we meet a few times.”

Call Kathy Boylan old-fashioned. The 31 year-old told Red-Eye she’s been asked out on Facebook, “but I said no; it was kind of creepy…I’d prefer if you just walked by and asked me out.”

Even beyond social media, texting emerged as the No. 1 way couples stay in touch, the survey found, with men texting 39 percent more often than phoning and women 150 percent more.

“It’s quick, easy and everyone does it so often…it’s easier to pit yourself out there and easier to try to get to know someone that way,” says South Loop resident Tina Sakona, 20. “So in that respect, it expedites things, you can easily let to know people without the pressure of a phone conversation.”

Bela Gandhi, the founder of Chicago-based Smart Dating Academy.com agrees that “your textual relationship can lead to a sexual relationship.”  But she cautions that thought texting, emailing and IMing can increase the frequency of communication between potential couples, it doesn’t necessarily increase the quality of that communication. “I think it can create a false sense of closeness and intimacy,” she said.

Consider this: More than 90 percent of a first impression is based on non-verbal cues, facial expressions, how you look, how you dress, your tone of voice; only 7percent is based on the words you use, according to Gandhi.

“When you’re talking about relationships, you’re talking about connections, physical, emotional and intellectual chemistry and how much of that can you experience, if at all, over text/” the dating expert said.

Mayur Patel of Wrigleyville disagrees. “I think if you’re texting all day long, you feel closer to that person,” the 27 year-old told Red-Eye.

The bottom line of the technology-dating debate may be best summed up by Andrea Lavinthal, co-founder of the “Hookup Handbook.”

“You can use these enhanced communication tools to your advantage…but you can’t use that as your sole method of getting to know that person.” Lavinthal said. “If you can’t sit down and have a conversation with them face to face as easily as you can via text, then it’s a problem.”