Before COVID-19, for years, we heard that the United States was experiencing a “sex apocalypse”. For this reason, in my dissertation I explored sociosexually violent and increasingly algorithmic “syncing issues” of this era’s U.S. landscape. In doing so, I found that, for decades, researchers like Field (2014) innervated the health harm(s) of touch hunger. Left untreated, touch starvation went endemic. Now, as people pretend COVID-19 is over, these two issues in tandem are especially concerning for immunocompromised folks. In this piece illuminated prior heart-breaks and self-realizations of feminine presenting millennial and Gen Z folks taking place in algorithmic spaces, documenting a contagious shift: their increasing sociosexual expectations for cishet men. Additionally, I found that they’re experiencing a post-Roe v Wade present-COVID-19 silver-lining: late-in-life realized queerness and neurodivergence(s). To tingle new nerves, I update these temporally distanced dissertation discussions, provocatively unmasking and putting them into close conversation with another distanced intimacy: ASMR. After taking the body politic’s temperature, I amplify that audio intimacies are filling intimacy gaps in the present-COVID-19 age.
Dr. Bernadette “bird” Bowen, she/they, Visiting Assistant Professor, Media, Journalism, & Film, Miami University