Access Denied: When Internet Hook Ups Go Awry

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Rejection hurts. We expect it to hurt when a relationship ends, but what about when it’s rejection from a random internet hook up?

Access Denied

Photo: Mike Licht

Rejection is rejection and it hurts. Just because it was supposed to be an internet hook up doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

In a recent post, Hooking Up: Today’s Rewards For The 1960s Sexual Revolution, I provided an introduction to ‘The Hook Up’. The definition of Hooking Up is fluid and, depending upon the context, can encompass everything from kissing to penetrative intercourse (anal or vaginal).

Today, I want to take the conversation a little further to talk about random internet hook ups.

The Random Internet Hook Up

You may know the type I’m talking about. The hook up that begins somewhere online and is supposed to end in a hot random sexual encounter (think craigslist personals, facebook, myspace, adultfriendfinder, manhunt, match.com, INSERT YOUR FAVORITE SITE HERE).

Hormones peaked and, not wanting to spend another night masturbating alone, you log online and start looking for potential partners. Profiles are browsed, pictures exchanged and you’ve narrowed down your choices.

Whether you picked LauraHotGirl or Cowboy4U, your body is aroused and your hopes are now up. You and your potential partner decide on whose place you’ll meet at and you head out the door.

Awkward Encounters

Now the potentially awkward part; the face-to-face encounter. Assuming you’ve already had the obligatory discussions about boundaries, sexual health, and behaviors you both enjoy online, if the erotic tension is right you may move forward and have a great evening of consensual sexual pleasure. But what if the tension isn’t right? What happens when you get there and you realize any one of the following:

  • This person seriously misrepresented themselves online and you’re just not into this.
  • You didn’t have a chance to talk about sexual health and STIs while chatting online and now that you’re here you don’t know how to start the conversation. And… maybe if you bring it up, s/he won’t want to hook up with you.
  • You’re really into this person but they clearly aren’t into you.
  • Some other reason that diminishes the erotic tension to the point that this hook up may not happen.

What Does Happen Next?

Sometimes the result may end in ‘pity sex’. By this, I mean the hook up goes on because one person feels obligated since so much work went into trying to make it happen. Perhaps there’s a feeling that the previous discussion online was some kind of unspoken internet-bound contract that entitles both parties to orgasms (even if one member isn’t entirely into it).

And sometimes the result may be no hook up at all. You, your potential partner, or both may be brave enough to actually verbalize “hey, on second thought, there really doesn’t seem to be any chemistry. I think I’m going to bail now, but it was really nice meeting you”. And with that you see them to the door (or are seen to their door), and find yourself back where you started.

You’re Not Alone

I bring this up because I get a lot of questions about this topic in my everyday life.  The consistent theme I hear in each one of these ‘hook  ups gone awry’ stories is “what’s wrong with me? Why didn’t s/he want to hook up with me?”. (Funny how it’s rarely the other way around… Why didn’t I want to hook up with her or him).

Rejection Hurts

So here’s my take. Rejection is rejection and it hurts. It can fill you with self-doubt and make you question your body, your personality, and anything else that you think may have been the cause of said rejection.

Just because it was supposed to be an internet hook up doesn’t mean it hurts any less.  Even in an internet hook up you need the same things as a relationship: communication, honesty, and an exit strategy.

Sure an exit strategy is easy to joke about, but the reality is that it’s important to develop the ability to take care of yourself if things go awry.

J. Bradley Blankenship (M.S.)

is a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University where he is also a project coordinator for the Center for Sexual Health Promotion.
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Comments

  • bettysmorgas

    Rejection does hurt, but thank god for online dating sites. Any time I need a roll in the hay, there it is. If I need a free dinner or mocha late, there it is. If I need to satisfy my oral fixation deeply, there it is. If I want to experiment with jungle fever, well maybe not that far…