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Better than sext? New Facebook app could change the mating market

I’m intrigued. And horrified. And curious. And incredulous.

Twitter, that lolly-bag of random ideas, just led me to a story on the website of Cosmopolitan magazine about a new FaceBook app called “Bang with Friends”.

Catchy.

Think I might go back to Scrabble.

According to Cosmo:

The way it works is you sign into the website using your Facebook profile, and then you anonymously register interest in, erm, banging your contacts. You actually click a button called “down to bang” for the guys you’re digging - slightly creepy, but hey, it’s better than a wall post expressing your intentions. If the guy(s) you pick haven’t pushed the button for you too, thus aren’t interested, then your crush remains a secret. But, if you did make their cut, then you are both made aware, in fact the “down to bang” button will change to “awaiting bang”…yep, there’s no skirting around the issue here.

For those who need to know - How to Bang http://bangwithfriends.com/fuck/how

I’m sure the delectable balance of intrigue and horror will propel many a media story about this new app and let slip an avalanche of moralising. I don’t really want to moralise here myself. All the important stuff can still be boiled down to two words:

Consenting Adults.

The way people find each other for romance and for sex has been changing ever since there first were people. The pace of change accelerates steadily, as economies and social institutions and communication technologies change. And the self-appointed gatekeepers of sex have exploded in “moral” outrage at every step along the way.

I don’t think of myself as old, but the world of sex and relationships that young people today seem to inhabit is not a world I recognise. Mobile phones, and the internet have revolutionised the business of finding one another and establishing both interest and rapport. At the risk of revealing my inner creep, I certainly wish there had been more of this stuff around when I was younger.

But one of my main research interests is sex, and especially the different interests that often generate conflict. This conflict simmers even between consenting adults who use protection and like each other - both in Facebookland and in real life (which I am told I can abbreviate IRL). And any device that changes the mating market can be used to tilt the balance in favour of one party over another.

Hell, why did these “university aged men” invent Bang with Friends other than to get more roots? And why, for that matter, did Zuckerberg (and accomplices) invent Facebook?

Bang with Friends opens up a world of awkward. How do you proceed once you get the “awaiting bang” all clear? And if someone is “good to bang”, then how do all the old-fashioned niceties that surround consent get dealt with?

Most of all, what kind of deception can we expect and anticipate?

As Conversation columnist Lauren Rosewarne put it, in another context:

People go online and pretend they are somebody else all the time. People we know in real life demonstrate all kinds of delusion and absurdity on Facebook. Craggy paedophiles routinely go into chat-rooms and pretend to be adolescent skaters and both single and married folks rapidly drop kilos, years and play up the pep constantly on dating websites.

This app doesn’t simply change the market for those folks who are looking for a “bang”. It changes Facebook for everybody else too. If this app catches on with enough people, and not just under-laid 22-year-old straight men, then anybody could find themselves on “down to bang” lists. And how long will it be till those “awaiting bang” notifications get shamed, with screenshots and all?

And that’s the thing about technologies that change the sexual and reproductive landscape: porn, Viagra, AIDS, the pill, safe abortion, amyl nitrate, legalised prostitution, priestly celibacy, IVF, cloning, sexting, daytime ads for ashleymaddison.com, erectile dysfunction drugs, and sham drugs. Anything that I’m allowed to Google at work and you aren’t. Every one of these changes the balance of interests between partners and changes the game, for better or worse. I wouldn’t want to stop progress, but I’m fascinated and at times a little scared about the consequences.

For the meantime Facebook is already a notorious tool for stalking. I can only imagine the incentive to unfriend exes, colleagues and creepy distant acquaintances has suddenly tilted dramatically.

Join the conversation

7 Comments sorted by

  1. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Grant Phillips

      project officer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Let me clarify what I think you are saying:

      - things would be much better if they were like the old days
      - women should have less control over their own finances
      - women should have less control over their own bodies

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    2. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Oh god - still on about the 'feminist society' huh Dale? So it's all of society now, and not just the education system?

      Oh, and by the way, we men have always wondered what goes on in the minds of young women. But I tend to think that your analysis is rather poorer than just about any I have seen anywhere else.

      Are you divorced and bitter, or just never married?

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    3. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      I’m waiting for it to stop raining. If only it would stop raining, and I can go back to work.

      But luck does have it that I don’t use Facebook.

      I have always thought of it as being somehow gossipy and juvenile.

      As for the new bang app, probably juvenile.

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  2. Sean Lamb

    Science Denier

    Poor old Cosmo, it must be getting so difficult to stay shocking these days. How long before the winds of change blow them off the shelf as well.

    " If this app catches on with enough people" - if being the operative word.

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  3. Iain Wicking

    Director

    Says 20,000 signed up...19,900 will be males.

    More Fumblebook irrelevance.

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  4. Yoron Hamber

    Thinking

    Sounds like a meat market to me.
    And just because crude works, have a direct impact on us and sell, I don't have to adapt to it.

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