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Sexplorations with AJ: Digital Dating and Being Single in the 2020s

Hello and welcome to our educational, unapologetic, entertaining voyage into all things sexy. 

I’m AJ and I’ll be navigating us through this hot and steamy journey - although I will probably be on a bus or something because I can’t drive and I’m a bit scared of boats.

I'm passionate about learning, intimacy, and I never stop talking so why not combine all three into a nice, neat, easily digestible sex column?


Darling’s first sex column, I should mention (imagine me winking). 

Hopefully on our explorations together, we’ll all learn something - but don’t get confused, this is nothing like the lessons you had at school. 

You know those coffee shop debriefs with your mates where you discuss the sordid, explicit affairs of the night before or if that stuff in your knickers is normal? Sitting and giggling into your latte while you recount the ins and outs, ups, downs and all-arounds while your friend sits opposite you completely entranced by your escapades - or desperately trying to give you advice and book you a GP appointment. That’s what this column is going to be like. 

So, if you fancy - and I hope you do - let’s meet up for a chat and info session on the first Thursday of every month. 

Supply your own coffee though, I’m not made of money.

Over the next few months, we’re going to dive into everything from casual sex and experimentation to the serious stuff like the aftermath of assault, consent, and safety. 

To just dip our toes in, let’s start with the basics and talk about the bumpy road that is dating in the 2020s. 


Now, I've had many dating chats over the last few years. Whether they be post-breakup comfort sessions or a morning-after-the-tinder-date catch up, you can bet that they ask that classic question:

“Why don't you go out to meet people?”

If you're riddled with anxiety like me, that question will make your jaw clench and your palms start sweating. But at the same time, unfortunately, I think we all know that there's some truth to their concerns.


Hinge, Tinder, Bumble, - even Plenty of Fish if you're vintage, dating apps are the thing. They're everywhere, everyone is using them and that seems to be the extent of most peoples dating outreach these days. And honestly, who can blame them?

Meeting people in person is frightening, especially someone you find attractive. And having to go up to someone, tell them you think they're attractive and then ask them if they think you are is borderline heart-stopping. 

There are both pros and cons to dating apps but to many, the cons outweigh the pros. 

Apps like Tinder and Bumble are a glorified version of 'Hot or Not' and no matter if your the swiper or swipee, that's going to deplete your confidence eventually. 

On the flip-side, when people like you, it feels damn good. It is so easy to get addicted to that dopamine hit but it's ultimately short term. 


Speaking of short term, what are most if us actually looking for on these app? Hookups? Relationships? Not sure? There's labeled options for all of them to help you find someone whose after exactly what you're after which sounds great in practice. 

In reality, we're all human and feelings and thoughts can change with time. Intention versus execution is another huge hurdle with apps and modern dating. 


Not that these apps are all doom and gloom. I have several friends who have loving, strong relationships that began virtually. 

Though they might be few and far between, they definitely are out there. The focus doesn't always have to be on hoping in bed, in fact apps like Bumble have settings that are made for searching for specifically platonic relationships which is refreshing. 


Bottom line is that we all want to feel good, because who wouldn't? 

For some people that looks like a long term partner, for other it may be a short term one, some person you met on the street, a person from work, by yourself, by yourself with someone over the phone, over the phone with no one else - I could go on (and you bet I bloody will next month). 

We just want to feel nice: emotionally and physically. It's human nature. And boy, is it hard to navigate when we're on the cusp of a wide-spread virtual-sexual revolution that no other generation has really experienced before. 

Not to sound cheesy, we do have each other to lean on while we navigate these tumultuous dating scenes. I'll hold your hand, you hold mine and we'll have a grand old time. 


Thank you for reading this very first column entry of Sexplorations with AJ, I've enjoyed chatting and I hope you have too. Same time and place next month? 


Edited by Emily Duff

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