YOUNG NEW YORKERS no longer care about having sex. It’s not the endgame, nor even the animating force of social interaction. Men and women still get dressed up, but not for the purpose of taking off their clothes in another’s company. What used to signify desire or the desire to be desired now boils down to narcissism. How will I look on Patrick McMullan tomorrow? Or just on Facebook? The Observer spent a few weeks at parties and gatherings fraught with abstinence but slack of any sexual tension, and we heard a repeated sentiment, often delivered with uncharacteristic fervor: “We are a self-obsessed generation.”
What devalued sex for 20-somethings in New York City? Social media networks, rather than bringing people together, encourage nothing so much as an orgy of self-congratulation. Anyone worried about accumulating Twitter followers could be racking up bedmates. The networks are omnipresent. Dueling iPhones rest on the nightstand. And if you sleep with someone, they’ll be all over five Firefox tabs for the next week.
“He was in my Twitter feed, on my Tumblr dash, in my Gchat group, writing the articles I read,” a young woman who works at an Internet start-up told The Observer, over Gmail chat. “It’s like you don’t want to become attached with someone else’s online identity—or known because of someone else’s online identity, who you’re dating. You want your own, damn it.”