When it comes to sex education, I couldn't disagree more with all this abstinence only nonsense. It's not that I don't understand it--oh I get it, I really do--but judging from the facts, oh say, skyrocketing amounts of STD sufferers and scores of unplanned pregnancies, no one can convince me that it's actually working. Still, just because I don't agree with it as the be-all and end-all of sex ed, doesn't mean I can't respect aspects of the idea if it works for certain individuals (to each her own!). And that's why a new site that's causing quite a ruckus in Japan gave me pause.
Apparently the big craze amongst 20- and 30-something Japanese women is Webkare (Japanese for "web boyfriend"), a website where you can "date" a virtual boyfriend. According to Tech Crunch, "the site attracted over 10,000 members just 5 days after its release on September 10, racking up 3.5 million page views in the same time frame," and with numbers like that, you can bet some American techie kid who lives in his mom's basement is already plotting a home grown version. Obviously, in the grand scheme of lovin', there's nothing like the real thing baby, but it seems to be working as an antidote to loneliness, on some level anyway. And I have to wonder if rushing home to e-flirt with your virtual boyfriend fulfills some of the desire for connection that fuels so much casual sex in the first place?
Now, let me be clear: First off, I don't actually think that there's anything wrong with casual sex between two consenting adults. And obviously, whatever satisfaction these women derive from their cyber love interests is again, no realistic substitution for a relationship. Still, if it's true that there's a portion of the population that's having casual sex for all the wrong reasons--such as, to experience a brief, albeit meaningless moment of romantic connection instead of simply for one's own pleasure--then could a site like Webkare offer a similar supplement (sans the risk of contracting a disease)?
Maybe I'm reaching here, but I feel like there could be something in that. I mean, do you think some of these women are having less sex because of all the time and attention their new "committed" relationships require? Is that even a good thing? (Certainly, missing out on the chance to meet a potential real life love interest is not.) Can a virtual mate be comforting on some level? Could Webkare be an abstinence only educator's erm, wet dream?
Um, lemme know.
See also: "Are people seriously not using condoms anymore!?"