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Members can contact each other through email and participate in blogs and forums; social networking plays a bigger role here than at many other dating sites. The site expects you to exercise your own judgment as to whether the matches are valid and worth pursuing. Members can view profiles and send messages to people who interest them.

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The heavily used and well organized forums are there for the viewing without even signing up. Video and audio chat capabilities are also available. Rosenthal is a technology, gadget and lifestyle writer based on the West Coast. Army Ranger has died as a result of gunshot wounds suffered during combat in Afghanistan. Barea was lost for the season, Stephen Curry scored 48 points against them. Taryn Jones turns into a space cadet at an art installation that you can see, touch, and snap!

Taryn Jones goes inside the pits to see the masters in action, tastes tests amazing meat, plus finds out why you might want to save room for dessert. Kentucky Fried Chicken is now serving chicken and waffles. And online dating intensifies that confusion. Kaufmann argues that in the new world of speed dating, online dating and social networking, the overwhelming idea is to have short, sharp engagements that involve minimal commitment and maximal pleasure.

In this, he follows the Leeds-based sociologist Zygmunt Bauman , who proposed the metaphor of "liquid love" to characterise how we form connections in the digital age. It's easier to break with a Facebook friend than a real friend; the work of a split second to delete a mobile-phone contact.

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In his book Liquid Love, Bauman wrote that we "liquid moderns" cannot commit to relationships and have few kinship ties. We incessantly have to use our skills, wits and dedication to create provisional bonds that are loose enough to stop suffocation, but tight enough to give a needed sense of security now that the traditional sources of solace family, career, loving relationships are less reliable than ever.

And online dating offers just such chances for us to have fast and furious sexual relationships in which commitment is a no-no and yet quantity and quality can be positively rather than inversely related.

After a while, Kaufmann has found, those who use online dating sites become disillusioned. But all-pervasive cynicism and utilitarianism eventually sicken anyone who has any sense of human decency. When the players become too cold and detached, nothing good can come of it. He also comes across online addicts who can't move from digital flirting to real dates and others shocked that websites, which they had sought out as refuges from the judgmental cattle-market of real-life interactions, are just as cruel and unforgiving — perhaps more so.

Online dating has also become a terrain for a new — and often upsetting — gender struggle. Men have exercised that right for millennia. But women's exercise of that right, Kaufmann argues, gets exploited by the worst kind of men.

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The want a 'real man', a male who asserts himself and even what they call 'bad boys'. So the gentle guys, who believed themselves to have responded to the demands of women, don't understand why they are rejected. But frequently, after this sequence, these women are quickly disappointed.

After a period of saturation, they come to think: The disappointing experience of online dating, Kaufmann argues, is partly explained because we want conflicting things from it: Worse, the things we want change as we experience them: Maybe, he suggests, we could remove the conflicts and human love could evolve to a new level. Or if 'love' sounds too off-putting, for a little affection, for a little attentiveness to our partners, given they are human beings and not just sex objects.

This is the new philosopher's stone — an alchemical mingling of two opposites, sex and love. Kaufman's utopia, then, involves a new concept he calls tentatively LoveSex which sounds like an old Prince album, but let's not hold that against him.

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Kaufmann suggests that we have to reverse out of the cul de sac of sex for sex's sake and recombine it with love once more to make our experiences less chilly but also less clouded by romantic illusions. Or, more likely, realise that we can never have it all. We are doomed, perhaps, to be unsatisfied creatures, whose desires are fulfilled only momentarily before we go on the hunt for new objects to scratch new itches.

Which suggests that online dating sites will be filling us with hopes — and disappointments — for a good while yet. This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative.


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