The Lockdown Diaries (4)
Friday Ephemera

Now Wash Your Hands

It’s with an almost nascent nostalgia that I recall the coining of the Gen Z “sexual recession”: a patronising concern that our youngest generation would be rendered psychosexually stunted, unable or unwilling to fornicate due to over-exposure to smartphones, social media and porn.

Yes, it’s the Guardian, where almost nascent nostalgia is a thing that exists.

Ciara Gaffney, a resident of Los Angeles and a “brand strategist,” is very excited – all but rendered incoherent – by a “cybersexual revolution” that, during the pandemic, is apparently occurring.

Flinging the Gregorian calendar into irrelevance, humanity will be bisected into pre-Covid-19 and post-Covid-19, and although many will ruminate on how we have changed, one thing is indisputable: the rose-coloured epoch before the coronavirus bitterly shamed the sending of nudes.

There’s more of that, a lot, in fact. You’d better used to it.

They were perceived as gauche, even pathetic. In the lockdown era, however, thirst traps and nudes are not only making a glorious, unrepentant comeback, but are now a form of emboldened agency in Gen Z’s blossoming sexual liberation.

For affirmation, Ms Gaffney links to Buzzfeed, where we’re told of an unattached lady named Alicia who sent nude photos to a female friend because she “wanted some validation.” Said friend was expected to “say nice things” and, as Alicia puts it, “hype me up.” Neurotic neediness, it turns out, is the new empowerment. What’s more, the coronavirus lockdown is “galvanising” this new “sexual revolution,” in which seemingly unhappy people share photos of their genitals, often far and wide, in the hope of being validated. It’s all terribly exciting, and radical, and brings our narrator to a state of agitation:

The confines that spurred free love were morals, but the confines that mobilize the Gen Z sexual revolution are walls. Stratified by distance, Gen Z is similarly tasked with reinventing what sex looks like, in a quarantined world where physical sex is frequently impossible. As free love shattered the conventions of its time, Gen Z’s sexual renaissance is doing the same for organic sexual connection.

At which point, it sounds like Ms Gaffney is not so much talking to us as talking to herself, a kind of rhetorical self-pleasuring.

Are thirst traps posted to Instagram “close friends” lists modern courtship? Is mutual masturbation via Zoom sex? What separates the virtual from the real? Why is sexuality by video-screen considered lonely or isolating?

It’s all getting a little breathless. It may be over soon.

If anything, we are seeing humanity at its most tender, reaching earnestly through the virtual void to “actualize” contactless sex. Filled with unfiltered longing posted with abandon, Gen Z’s sexual revolution is one that has been reconfigured and reborn for the digital age.

Any minute now.

What else are we supposed to do with our days besides masturbate excessively and send a flurry of nudes? But it’s more than ennui or physical stratification. It’s a seizing of finiteness.

We need kitchen towel, stat.

Amid the spent wreckage and piles of inapt words, we find repeated assurances that all of this Instagram “thirst trapping” and habitual nude-sharing – whether with lovers, friends or countless random strangers – is “without repercussions.” There is, we’re told, an “absence of consequence.” Though it occurs to me that if you’re the kind of person who feels compelled to bore “close friends” with endless photos of yourself pouting and exaggerating your cleavage, fishing for compliments, or the kind of person who seeks validation from strangers, including strangers that you are in no way attracted to, by showing them your breasts, arse and genitals - then the consequences, as it were, may already have happened.

Update, via the comments:

For those too sheltered to know these things, and too shy to Google, a “thirst trap” is a gratuitously suggestive photo or social-media message intended to solicit attention, flattering comments or declarations of erotic fever – declarations that will not result in any actual sex, but merely make the person in question feel better about themselves, if only temporarily.

Readers are invited to ponder how much time they’d want to spend with the kind of person who craves repeated, even continual, validation regarding their attractiveness - from friends and strangers alike. From daily pouting on Instagram to sending nude selfies to friends. The kind of person who might imagine that such neurotic self-preoccupation is part of a “blossoming sexual liberation.”

If the words aggravating basket case come to mind, I quite understand.



"Nascent nostalgia." The only example I could think of was Tom Lehrer's exercise in "pre-emptive Third World War nostalgia," the song "So Long, Mom, I'm Off to Drop the Bomb."


Instead, I just hear the programme running.



Tom Lehrer's exercise in "pre-emptive Third World War nostalgia," the song "So Long, Mom, I'm Off to Drop the Bomb."

This is a song that some of the boys will have sung to their mothers as they will have gone bravely off to World War III.
Captain Nemo

She teaches gender studies. Can you tell?:


She teaches gender studies. Can you tell?

Let’s see.

Rich countries giving vaccination priority to their own populations (somehow bad)… Privilege (bad)… White male (bad)… Patriotism (bad)… Nations (bad)… Idea of British excellence (bad)… and on and on.

Again, I hear the programme running. In the head of a pretentious fool.


"Why weren’t they seizing en masse the opportunity for one of Violet’s bargain-bin BJs?

Sounds like Violet needs a better brand strategy. Is there a brand strategist in the house? One at the cutting edge of Gen Z’s blossoming sexual liberation?

Farnsworth M Muldoon

She teaches gender studies.

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Huffingpaint Pest, GFY.

For those who don't want your device accessed, here is the twitter version, and apparently Miss Cousens doesn't teach at the real Oxford (nor the University of Mississippi at Oxford), but something called Oxford Brookes which once had Davy Crockett as chancellor, so they have that going for them.

Some other people have thoughts on the matter.


She teaches gender studies. Can you tell?

That’s the thing about wokeness. It quickly blunts the moral and cognitive senses, not unlike a wasting disease.


I've always thought that all my Privacy really needed to make people respect it was a dashboard. Now it feels almost nascent. Thanks Verizon!


Oh dear, 'Dr' Emily. In a brighter and better world, she would be compassionately shot in the face and boiled down for cat food and glue. I suspect that, at heart, she realises this.

Governor Squid

Forgive my lateness to the party, but I'm still trying to get over the Karen article that Sam linked back on Page 1. Julia Baird seems to be trying to paint the Karens as put-upon housewives who are finally finding a voice and enough courage to Rage Against The Patriarchy, when every observer recognizes that Karen is simply the anonymous suburban soccer mom abusing the bureaucracy of a corporation or municipality to make herself feel powerful by bringing overwhelming force to bear against somebody guilty of the most trivial of offenses. She's the furthest thing from a righteous crusader -- she's a petty bully!

Painting her sister Karens as a bunch of Florence Nightingales, when in fact they're just garden-variety busybodies tattling on their neighbors? Well, that's some next-level Karen shit right there. Her feeble attempts at self-referential humor only serve to make it worse.


Forgive my lateness to the party,

I’m going to start taking attendance. We’ll have gold stars and everything.


She teaches gender studies

I think what's most hilarious about our "Doctor" Emily Cousens is how desperately she wants us to believe she teaches at Oxford University.


I think what’s most hilarious…

It’s inadvertently comical, and exactly what you’d expect of the type. What with wokeness being a status game.

Steve E

[...] she wants us to believe she teaches at Oxford University.

She's not even qualified to tutor at Oxford Learning.


See also "Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution" vs. "Woods Hole Research Center".

One of these things is not like the other, although I suspect they both agree on all the lefty issues.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

One of these things is not like the other...

Not unlike "doctor" and "PhD researcher"...


Right, tomorrow’s ephemera has been compiled and will materialise just after midnight.


If ever there was a sign that these people are not serious people...

Steve E

[...] these people are not serious people...

This sums it up perfectly.

Trigger warning: This is a facebook video link.

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