Is This The Way Our Sex Lives End?

Not with a bang but a whimper (apologies to T. S. Eliot)

Nick Irving
Human Parts
Published in
10 min readNov 19, 2018

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Photo by Kevin Lee on Unsplash

OOne question has been preoccupying me lately: How does one separate the thread of one’s own past from broader trends in history?

I’m talking about the “Dating Apocalypse.” Like many of the commitment-phobic perennially single, I’m on and off “the apps” a lot—swinging from full-blown frenzy to total cold turkey in a matter of days. But there’s a trend: I get fewer and fewer matches, fewer and fewer messages, and each time I delete all the apps, the refractory period gets longer and longer. One of these days I’ll be off them for good, but not because I’ve met anyone, just because I’ve given up on getting what I want.

Given my historical training and current research interest in the neoliberal marketization of everything, I’m tempted to read this as part of something larger than myself, but I just can’t tell if the slowing tempo of my sex life is due to a worrying global trend or if it’s something much simpler: I’m 37, busy, and just not as attractive as I used to be.

Most stories about the past are only ever ways to assuage the feelings we’re having about what’s happening today.

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Nick Irving
Human Parts

PhD in Modern History and government functionary. One-time historian of peace and protest, now researching and writing about work.