I had an interesting conversation with someone on Twitter a few days ago, about the amount of sexually explicit messages she was receiving on the dating site Plenty of Fish. Complaining about the sex chat and dick pics she was getting, she considered those making their, ahem, unannounced declarations of lust, disrespectful and offensive.
That much I get.
Everyone has their limits as to what they consider to be a reasonable level of online exchange and there are no rules, nor should there be, as to what that is.
After all, one woman’s offence can be another woman’s pleasure.
Our conversation, however, was not debating the fact she found the messages offensive, but that she was still on the site she was receiving them from.
Had she been sent dick pics and crude messages on LinkedIn or Facebook, I’d be in agreement, there is a time and a place for sex chat and these are not them, however, she was being sent the messages on Plenty of Fish, which, for those of you who aren’t aware, is a free dating site, it’s also very well know in the industry as a hook up site – in other words, anything goes.
And, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys – or in this case, you pay nothing, don’t be surprised when you get men who are looking for hook ups and going to send you pictures of their penis.
And this is where we disagreed. She maintained that it shouldn’t matter where the messages were sent, it just mattered that they are sent and that women shouldn’t have to be selective about where they ‘hung out’ online but should be free to use any dating site they chose without being sexually objectified.
Ermm … ok, good luck with that one.
Becasue I’ve used a number of different dating sites in my life and can vouch for the fact that the caliber of men (and women, I don’t doubt) vary on them massively. Obvious though it maybe, the sites you pay for deliver more than those that don’t, so, when I am looking for something more than casual sex or hook ups I go to a place where I know I can find it (the paying sites) and when I want something fun and casual I know it’ll be easy to find on the free sites (in theory at least).
Sure, free sites aren’t officially sex sites but to complain you are being objectified on a hook up site is like complaining about the weather in the eye of a storm – and you’d have to be living under a dating rock to not know their reputation.
So if you find the level of banter and exchange so offensive why be on it?
I find it frustrating too, when women who are offended by things – sexual or otherwise, speak for an entire gender. Just because one women finds certain types of sexual exchange online offensive doesn’t mean to say we all do.
I don’t see myself as remotely sexually objectified by uninvited messages – nor do I feel a victim.
I feel like I’m on a free dating site full of silly men who probably haven’t had a shag for a while and think that a hook up site is a good place to get one.
That is all.
Sex messaging on free online dating sites shouldn’t be something we should expect or have to get used to but if you don’t want to get used to it then go elsewhere. For every man who’s looking for a relationship there’s a man that just wants a s**g – and, like everything in life, not least of all online, there are always going to people who over step the mark (men and women – in all different contexts of life) While some see crude messages as sexiest and demeaning, others see them as, mildly amusing, a little pathetic or, perish the though, sometimes, quite sexy – if you don’t like it, don’t put yourself around it. Simples.
So to the women who spend their lives fighting a crusade against what they consider to be acceptable online in places where it’s inevitably going to happen, my advice would be – if you don’t want dick pics go elsewhere … there are plenty of fish elsewhere.