♥What should I say to my OkCupid dates?

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Ok so. I am actively meeting people on OkCupid.

I decided I would feel comfortable talking about karezza on a second date. I'm pretty experienced at TMI/oversharing and I can usually make someone comfortable with me (or if he didn't seem comfortable and open, I would hold off).

But I need to know from the men, how should I present this idea? Should I put more emphasis on how I have personally chosen to forego orgasms because of the benefits to my reward circuitry or more on the loving connection I am looking for in a partner? Or what?

I'm curious about your different perspectives. I kinda feel like if I start talking about pair-bonding and all this, a guy would get his shields up thinking I want to jump straight into a super-serious committed relationship, or that I don't like sex, or something.

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Wow!

I'm so delighted to see you here. That's a bold initiative! As you may know, we're about to redo the site, and it is my hope to feature more writing by the amazing people here. (The posts I've put up by the recovering men have really touched a chord with both male and female readers...and annoyed a few die-hards. Wink ) It will be fun to share what you learn, too.

The men here always want to hear from more women, so it's great to have you joining the dialog.

Guys? Any insights?

My thought, for what it's worth, is that there's no right way. Trust your intuition. Some people click with the science; some with the ancient wisdom; some with your own story, etc. No one clicks with having the information shoved down their throats. Smile

As I've said, if people are meant to hear this, they often give you an opening that makes it clear what approach would work best. For example, they may say they are discouraged about relationships. Well...that's your cue to tune up about why you're now feeling more optimistic, and that you're looking forward to testing this "crazy theory" for yourself someday. Wink Or they may say why humans can't be monogamous...and you share about bonding behaviors and the Coolidge Effect, etc. Or they may mention tantra, and you talk about some of the other traditions that have discovered similar bits.

You're enabled to blog.

Lead-in topic

If Artist Guy stays in the picture and we end up talking about my intentions for my sex life, I can see what a lead-in topic could be. He was a heavy potsmoker for many years, but he quit for good four months ago. He said the withdrawal lasted a month or two. He quit because he's a collaborative artist and his colleagues wanted him to for reasons of creativity and artistic flow. So that's interesting. It kinda seems analogous.

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Well, you need to know

I mention karezza in my OKCupid profile. And I am a man. As someone interested in karezza I would be overjoyed to find another person interested in it. I am wondering how I could ever possibly bring up the subject of karezza with anyone I might meet thru a dating site. Karezza obviously shows a high level of seriousness in a person. That is what I am seeking, and the only thing I will accept. If someone is too immature to speak about (or contemplate) non-orgasmic sex they are probably not a suitable partner for me. Isn't it strange that we supposedly live in a sexually liberated culture, but we feel we can't even talk about sex openly with the person we will be having it with beforehand?

imnotcoming - That second

imnotcoming -

That second site you link to is very interesting. I'm a newer karezza fan (a little over 2 months now) and I've been sitting here thinking how I would respond to you if I heard about it on a second date.

I think it really depends on the person. If you make the right connection, you may find men that will try to change and appreciate your ideas. I think the second date may be a little aggressive as far as getting to know the man well enough for that level of discussion. But -- I haven't dated for a long time and do not know when men are expecting to get some in the dating world now.

Meeting new people is complicated. Some are very open from the time you meet them while others are more protected. I've always found women to be more open initially as they are better emotionally connected. It takes men a while to really feel comfortable and get over the macho thing.

I hope you keep posting, great to have someone like you on the site.

hello imnot

As a man I have a few ideas for you but want to ask you a question first. Is your main interest to find someone you can explore karezza with, or are you looking for a long term committed relationship and want karezza to be a part of it?

Both

I am open to both exploring karezza (in a monogamous but perhaps not ultimately long-lasting relationship) and finding a long-term committed relationship.

Let's say I find someone who is not a long-term fit for me, but was open to exploring. I'm really curious how the relationship ends?

I'm so used to things ending because of my overwhelming repulsion reaction where I'm like, "Man I used to think he was so cute, what happened???" I don't know what would happen if I kept thinking someone was cute past the first month.

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*smile*

I had a minor light bulb go on as I read your blog. It's a thought I've had before, but you brought it to mind again.

1. I already knew from personal experience Smile that too many orgasms tarnish my perception of a partner (to put it mildly). Obviously, you were pretty handy with the sex toys.

2. The men here complain that "women only want jerky alpha males," and can't see how wonderful they are. You can't abide a partner after a short time.

3. Quitting porn causes the most astonishing shifts in perception in those who quit. Often they can't get over how attractive they find potential mates who are just "normal" (i.e., not "10s"). The change appears to be linked to return of reward circuitry sensitivity.

4. Women who have been desensitizing their brains with too much stimulation and quit...are likely to find mates a lot more delicious. It's the only way I know of to get past that end-of-honeymoon distaste. (Tip to guys: If you don't want to be invisible or undervalued for your wonderful, but non-alpha, qualities...don't make us come, especially if we're wise enough to be willing to experiment with something different! Wink )

Can't wait to see what you notice next time around.

And don't worry about how the relationship will end. A) It may not. B) This approach to sex tends to leave a much better taste in lovers' mouths, even if they must go their separate ways. I think it has to do with effects of more bonding behaviors on the subconscious. There's a much greater level of trust between partners.

Thinking about this~

I can't say for sure, but I don't know if you can really have "casual karezza" (meaning, with someone who isn't a long-term fit for you). It's not a mechanical thing, but a mind and energy thing and as a woman, I don't know if I could drum up the feelings needed to put myself in that mindset with a casual partner. But if I'm wrong and you find through experimentation it is possible, please share with us!

I've commented on online dating on this forum before, but I really think the most important quality you can find in a mate is someone who is open-minded (about everything) and with whom you can share your soul. If you find yourself with someone who doesn't allow you to open up and share your innermost *everything,* I would say it's probably not going to be a good match for life or for karezza.

And I agree with Marnia about the timing and how to bring it up...you will find your own way with each different man and should know whether or not it's a good time to mention it or not. People are at different stages of growth and enlightenment and some are just not ready for this and some are ripe for it~~you should be able to easily attract someone who is ready for this since you are ready for it and inviting it into your life.

Good luck with your search!

rediscovered

Well, If I were a woman

Well, If I were a woman looking for a guy that would be open to non-orgasmic love making I'd want two qualities. One, that he demonstrates, in some way, his capacity for direction in his life. Making the choice to give up orgasming and then following through with it is no easy task for a guy. He'll have to be determined to do it and at his core it will have to be his decision for himself first. If he does it just for you it won't ring true.

Second, he'll need to show he's open to feminine wisdom. Male direction is great but without feminine wisdom a guy is only partially on track. Feminine wisdom brings depth and fullness to a guy's direction. A number of the major things in our lives were instigated by my wife. The funny part was that I thought some of them were my idea's until she pointed that they were her's, and then I implemented them, how deflating!! Somehow I forgot that part.

If you explain karezza to your potential partner and he says, "tell me more" you probably have a keeper. It says he's open to you and your feminine perspective. If he immediately contracts and gives you an I don't know look or answer, then you may have an uphill battle on your hands. From being a guy and knowing them pretty well, giving up orgasm is one tough sell for the male psyche so you might want to ask him to think on it and give him some information to read, like the wisdom page on this web site. If when you see him again, after he's had some time to chew on it, and he's still locked down about it I would move on. Do you really want a guy that right from the beginning cant hold space for what's important to you? Look for the guy that says, "tell me more", he's your man.

You mention something about a guy that may practice karezza with you but isn't a good fit, and wondering how it might end. I think it would end because it wasn't a good fit. I don't believe karezza would save a relationship that's not a good match but I do believe karezza can bring harmony to one that is solid but might be floundering.

Can you speak to using Karezza

in a nonmonogamous relationship, as you have? ( http://www.reuniting.info/node/6343#comment-38933 ) This might answer the question about Karezza with more casual sex partner for both Rediscovered and myself. It's been a long time since I was non-monogamous, so Kareeza wasn't something I explored at the time. I never know what might come up for us in the future though, so it would be good to understand how it's worked for you.

Quizure

Goddesses like inspiring men to conquer dragons.
-Marnia

Quizure

Well, I don't tend to talk about non-monogamy here as I think most folks have their plates full just getting on with good old conventioanal monogamy and moving beyond orgasm is enough of a challenge by itself, but since you ask....

So the question, how does karezza style love making and non-monogamy work together and how do you introduce other potential partners to it?
The simple answer for us is; by example. 

First, we're the types to get to know somebody, develop a connection, and some level of intimacy before moving into any sexuality. We dont just jump into bed with people, and a group orgy would not be for us, at least not anymore. Since friendship first establishes a sort of base line, moving from friendship into friendship with sexuality is fairly natural. Our sharing in this way is far from frequent and only when it feels right. With most of our friends we would never go there.

We tend not to say a whole lot about karezza before hand, although we'll definitely bring it up. When we engage we keep it slow. Most folks start out slow, we just keep it slow. For me, I just make sure I don't orgasm, if the person I'm sharing with wants to, that's her business, I don't preach it. Because I've been being non-orgasmic for a long time its not difficult to manage my own arousal even with someone who focuses on stimulation and orgasm. Its not that hard to keep a partner in the middle zone when you know what your doing. I would say I put out an energy of, "I'm not going were you're going but if you like, your more than welcome to come over here where I am"

If I need to slow someone down, I'll do it with a word or two, or with my body. My wife simply does it with her body, she's not much for words. You'd be surprised how a guy responds when a woman sends clear signals. At some point you see something dawning on the other person. A sort of, "hey, whats going on here, this is different, and mmm...  kind of nice, I think I like this. Its such a sweet way to introduce karezza to someone. You'd be surprised how positive the response usually is. I look at it as a kind of gift I'm giving. Normally a person would have to be introduced to the concept somewhere, wrap their mind around it, and then stumble along with their partner as they try to get the hang of it through trial and error. This way a person gets to jump into the middle of the experience with a practiced partner and get a real taste of what its all about. I love the sharing that happens.

I remember a lovely friend saying, "you can go now" (meaning, have your orgasm) after engaging for quite some time, definitely longer than she was used to. I said, " I don't do that". You could see the wheels spinning in her head as she digested the experience. The next time she was all over it, wanting more and ended up getting so behind the idea that she had a conversation with her teenage son telling him this was the way to make love when he began being sexual. Another friend did the same with her son as well.

You would think that someone practicing karezza would get pulled into the hot conventional style sex of the other person but its by far the other way around, at least with us it is. They can feel you're on to something and they usually lean into it. Now, of course, if they're really going to move into non-orgasmic love making they will still have to go through the rewiring process but they have a tangible personal experience to relate to.

Just to be clear here, I'm not recommending or even suggesting people jump into non-monogamy just because karezza has a positive influence or any other mental reason. Being non-monogamous, with or without karezza, is not for everyone and can easily make a train wreck out of a good relationship. There is definitely stuff you have to work through and it takes a certain type of person.  For those brave souls that read this and feel its right for them, and if you're willing to do the work, it can be a wonderful and positive experience, in the right situation.

If anyone has more questions feel free to ask.

Thank you for sharing these beautiful stories!

I do have one other question - do you find that you developed a deep emotional/spiritual connection with your partners, or does it stay more light and friendly without getting more emotionally connected. (Maybe you do a great Buddhist non-attachment thing?) All my experiences were pre-karezza for me, and I don't recall anyone in the circles I knew talking of anything like Karezza.

I just love the spectrum that loving human relationships can take.

Quizure

Goddesses like inspiring men to conquer dragons.
-Marnia

For the most part the

For the most part the emotional/spiritual connection is already there. If the sexuality is added its a outcome of the already existing connection. I think the days of unconnected non-monogamy are past for us. Through our growth around karezza, casual conventional sex isn't going to work for us which means our non-monogamous interations are very few and far between. Its not something we seek out but let unfold, if and when the feelings are there.

I like what you say, "I just love the spectrum that loving human relationships can take" Life can be such a rich encounter.

Learning through trial and error

[quote=Darryl] Normally a person would have to be introduced to the concept somewhere, wrap their mind around it, and then stumble along with their partner as they try to get the hang of it through trial and error.[/quote]

Aww, I think stumbling along with a partner is half the fun of it! (at least it has been for me) And practice, practice, practice makes perfect~~even the "errors" (orgasms) are fun! Smile

But I'm positive if my lover ever came to me and said he had found someone else with whom he would like to "share his knowledge," I would be absolutely heartbroken; I've become very attached to his "knowledge," lol, and don't want to share it with *anyone*~~ Wink

rediscovered

Thank you

for this wise and sensitive portrayal. I imagine before books and before the internet this is how people learned about karezza. In Sky Dancer Yeshe Tsogyel, who lived 757-817 CE, took three male partners at the same time as part of her spiritual practice. Her practice was non-orgasmic and, as you might imagine, with three young men very demanding. Here's a quote:

[quote]At Paro Taktsang I began the last austerity to be practised for my own benefit. This was the austerity of 'the seed-essence of co-incident pleasure and Emptiness.' With my consorts Atsara Sale, A Bhutanese boy called Sale and Atsara Pelyang, all three invigorated by nutritious herbal elixirs, I disciplined myself in the cultivation of creative skill to its full potential for seven months through day and night without respite. At first, shaking and trembling, my body was enervated and my mind was stunned and intoxicated. Lymph saturated my whole body, above and below, and diseased, aching, feverish and trembling, I came close to death. But later, all the lymph was transmuted into the nature of seed-essence and pleasure flooded my entire body. Initially this pleasure was contaminated by passion, but soon it became a field of Awareness and finally an unremitting flow of Awareness...the resulting seed-essence was not capable of evolving into dualistic vision. p.85 [/quote]

"Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks

for putting up the quote. Yes, I expect the odds of finding a spouse interested in the same practice was pretty low in arranged marriages. Maybe it's still pretty low. Wink

snowy

Thanks for the quote. The Asians often have a refreshing perspective on sexuality.

On the lighter side of non-monogamous relationships I discovered that my parents had played around with polyamory in their wilder years, much to my surprise. My fathers response to the whole thing was him saying to me, "the only thing worse than one woman is two!!" I don't think karezza was in the picture.

Ha ha!

Didn't you also tell me that your non-monogamous experiments began *before* your karezza experiments? There may have been a certain inertia at work in your choices over the years, especially given that your wife wasn't totally on board until more recently.

Yes, we were non-monogamous

Yes, we were non-monogamous before we discovered karezza, which has definitely brought our non-monogamous activity down to a trickle. And now it has to be just right, moving from a karezza framework demands it.

The thing is, Annabelle WAS on board from the beginning, and here's the intersting part, just for me. In a short time she saw how me not orgasming held so much more space for her exploration as well as my energy of, "I cant get enough of you". She loved all that. The reason was, the only information I could find at the time was from Taoist sources which actually encourages the woman to orgasm all she wants, its only the man who should not. This was our framework.

The discovery of karezza was really an evolution since we had no information to pull from. Annabelle started considering not orgasming all on her own. I thought, "well if it works this good for me why not the both of us". It just felt like the thing to do. We kind of outgrew the Taoist approach and moved to the karezza approach by instinct. When I found your site it was like, "hey, this is what we've been doing, there's actually a name for it, and other people are doing it too"

And now here we are. I kind of like that we arrived by feel, although with better information we could have shaved a few years off the process. All in all I'm happy with the path we took.

Thanks for sharing

your story. It's always fun to hear more about how people stumble on this "out of the way" approach. I, too, went through the "orgasm's no problem for women" phase, and it was a rude awakening when I started to observe myself a bit more carefully. Smile

I got a date

Thanks for the input. It does ring true with me.

My taste in men seems sort of aligned with the men who are on this site, in that I tend to like guys who like substances and porn. Ha, ha. I mean, to be more flattering, I like guys who are emotionally sensitive but the world has been a painful place for them, and so they have substance/porn habits and are romantic serial monogamists.

It seems like I was getting the message from mainstream culture that around age 30 women are supposed to stop liking bad boys and settle down with nice, stable, income-earners. Well, I get the idea behind that, but I really like my emotionally sensitive, impulsive, romantic, liquor-swilling boyfriends. And especially so if they are into reading philosophy and are open minded and experimental. I have definitely seen examples of men like this in their late 20's who have had enough of the self-destructive path and really want to get off the merry-go-round. Last year, I decided to affirm my taste in men and not try to shift it to be more practical. I figured I just needed to get lucky and catch one of these guys right when he felt ready to get off the merry-go-round. So I guess, my strategy is still the same but with karezza added as part of the deal, to make it actually work.

It sounds like I want to change a guy. I guess I do, but like you said, it has to be someone who wants to change and who reads the material and is inspired by it whether we date or not.

On OkCupid, I look for this question in someone's profile:

"How long do you want your next relationship to last?"

OkCupid is a little... cruisy? Does that word work in a heterosexual context? When I first filled it out, I was being jaded, so I put "0-6 months." Not many guys choose "the rest of my life," but I noticed that the few guys I liked on there had put "the rest of my life." And I realized that's what I wanted, too. I just thought it was unrealistic. So I changed my answer.

Anyway, I've been talking to some guys on there and I'm meeting up with a dude tomorrow. :) He's into meditation and art... also seems a bit boozy.

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Meditation and art

Meditation and art sound promising; hopefully only "a bit" boozy. Let us know how it goes--when it's appropriate for you.

"Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Oh god!

This is why dates suck!!!!

Well, he's really cute and he was either shy or not into me, so... I'll be optimistic and say maybe he was into me and just shy. I'm pretty talkative but sometimes he would let there be big lapses in the conversation when we would eavesdrop on the people sitting near us... but then I caught him looking at me a bunch. Well anyway, I'm trying not to obsess about it. BE STRONG!

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I'm not questioning your

I'm not questioning your perception of the experience, but what is wrong with some silence? Does that tell you anything about you? Was it uncomfortable silence? Why or why not? Consider that karezza is perhaps a form of silence.

Yes

Silence makes me feel like I need to fill it. Maybe if we'd been sitting side by side at the bar it would feel more natural to be silent, but when facing each other, you have to either look at the person's face or off somewhere, and I didn't like either option. I can make eye contact while talking or listening but not during silence. It's ok, though, I don't think it was a big deal. I forgot how first dates can feel so awkward.

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A date is only as awkward as

A date is only as awkward as you feel about it. I remember when I first started dating...later than many and I'm probably still at the novice level. I've not had weird feelings despite looking for it because of what everyone else suggests. Try accepting the flow. Silence is a form of communicating and regrouping. Do you want a partner that you can't be silent with? Perhaps try an eye gazing party if you can find one. People find the silence eerie. I wanted the background music off so we could have silence and more focus. How often do you live with silence on your own? How does it make you feel when alone? If you noticed this on the date, your brain/psyche could be trying to tell you something. Ask him about it if you go out again. Maybe he's in your world to teach you something. That's more or less how I approach any relationship, date, or even online meeting that never gets to a date.

Silence

I like it when I'm with my friends and by myself. I know enough quiet people who are really awesome that I'm willing to endure it to see what happens.

Also, I'm not a very good question-asker. I'm mostly used to the conversational style where people trade funny/crazy stories, and jump in whenever they think of something. That's how my friends are.

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Have you tried asking about

Have you tried asking about the silence? That question is available, at least the first time? Or just ask what he's thinking at that moment? Or share what you're thinking. Stories are reporting and often peoples way of avoiding being present or talking about themselves. Pay close attention to your question asking friends. It is an art. You can practice here. It can be challenging to write in question form and be careful about the many presumptions we all make.

What does it say that you enjoy silence yet found this silence uneasy? I sense conflict. Was the silence too comfortable with a new person? Triggered insecurities in you?

Also keep in mind

That the men in your generation can be overdoing the porn, so you may not see the real guy until he has been off of it for a while. Look at the amazing guys we have here who were formerly not acting like themselves.

Not sure how long you've been lurking, but two of the most common post-porn improvements are social confidence and seeing women entirely differently. Since you can't know who's a "keeper" under the circumstances, you need to rely on intuition. When in doubt, you could check the oracle. Winkhttp://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/inner_wisdom_oracle

First dates

Speaking of them and how awkward they can be...

When I met my sweetheart (online through Match.com) we had a first "meet" (he didn't like to call it a date because he thought two people should first meet, then decide if they want a "date").

I walked away from the encounter thinking there was no way he was even one bit interested in me and saw him as a stiff, passionless man who had been single way too long.

So I sent him a long response to a note he sent me (his note basically said he'd like to continue the relationship and have an actual first date). I told him I was sorry, but I'd been in a passionless marriage for many years and had decided for myself that I would never go that route again and that I didn't detect even one little bit of interest from him toward me, blah, blah, blah (bless his heart for having to read all that).

Well! The response I got back was as if it were from a different person! I think he was so used to trying to be a gentleman and not coming across as a pervert, etc. (I can only imagine the previous dates he had had over a span of years being single), that he had shut off his Romeo valve.

Anyway, after that was cleared up, we gave it another shot and he has turned out to be *the* most passionate, romantic, loving, sensuous, caring man I have ever met.

So first impressions can suck, ha!

rediscovered

What is the rush to talk

What is the rush to talk about it? Do what feels natural. I can tell by how the other person acts and what they say whether they would be open to it. At least I think I can tell.

Are you going to insist that he try? Keep in mind it might be harder for a guy, especially if he isn't into it. On the other hand, if you help, he could make rapid progress if he wants that.

Talking about bonding isn't the same as voicing premature fantasies about kids and a picket fenced house in the suburbs. If it scares off the guy, he probably wasn't right for you anyway. You're trying to talk about more complete love. You have to stay very open and accepting to his issues which could very well include porn.

I could probably wait longer, but I don't want to mislead anyone

I would insist that the man do karezza with me, but only in the sense of, "Here's what I am looking for, take it or leave it." I wouldn't try to date someone who learned about it and didn't want to do it.

I like the idea of talking about other things first, like yoga or Eastern mysticism, so it doesn't feel like I am sitting him down for a "talk."

Actually, I've been in a similar situation before, because I had vaginismus (psychosomatic pain during sex) and I needed someone who would be patient with that. After I figured out that's what I had, the first guy I started dating said that it was too heavy for him and he had to walk away. But then I dated a couple others who were fine with it and helped me.

I made a lot of progress with the vaginismus, which seems completely linked with all the concepts on this website, and I think with karezza it won't be an issue at all in the future. I love sex but I hate "fucking." In fact... I just realized that I might post this info in the vaginismus forum. It's just now hitting me how connected they are.

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One other thought

Have you tried meetup.com? They have many groups that you can join where you can find people like you. Takes away the dating pressure and lets you meet people that share your interests (and hopefully maturity).

Someone posted a link to this article

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/07/04/110704fa_fact_paumgarten

And I thought you'd get a chuckle out of its description of OK Cupid:

OK Cupid, in its profile, comes across as the witty, literate geek-hipster, the math major with the Daft Punk vinyl collection and the mumblecore screenplay in development. Get to know it a little better and you’ll find that it contains multitudes—old folks, squares, more Jews than JDate, the polyamorous crowd. Dating sites have for the most part always had either a squalid or a chain-store ambience. OK Cupid, with a breezy, facetious tone, an intuitive approach, and proprietary matching stratagems, comes close to feeling like a contemporary Internet product, and a pastime for the young. By reputation, it’s where you go if you want to hook up, although perhaps not if you are, as the vulgate has it, “looking for someone”—the phrase that connotes a desire for commitment but a countervailing aversion to compromise. Owing to high traffic and a sprightly character, OK Cupid was also perhaps the most desirable eligible bachelor out there, until February, when it was bought, for fifty million dollars, by Match.

OK Cupid’s founders, who have stayed on since the sale, are four math majors from Harvard. While still in school, in the late nineties, they created a successful company called the Spark, which composed and posted online study guides along the lines of Cliffs Notes. At the time, they experimented with a dating site called SparkMatch. The fodder for their matching apparatus was a handful of personality tests and droll questionnaires that they’d posted on the Spark to lure traffic. They sold the company to Barnes & Noble in 2001 and then reunited in 2003 to revive the dating idea. To solve the chicken-egg conundrum of a dating site—to attract users, you need users—they created a handful of quizzes, chief among them the Dating Persona Test. A man might learn, for example, that he’s a Billy Goat, a Backrubber, a Vapor Trail, a Poolboy, or the Last Man on Earth. The Hornivore (“roaming, sexual, subhuman”) might want to consider the female type Genghis Khunt (“master of man, bringer of pain”) and avoid the Sonnet (“romantic, hopeful, composed”). They also urged people to submit their own quizzes. By now, users have submitted more than forty-three thousand quizzes to the site. Answer this or that pile of questions and you can find out which “Lost” character/chess piece/chemical element you are.

Essentially, OK Cupid opened a parlor-game emporium and then got down to the business of pairing off the patrons. The quizzes had no bearing on the matching, and at this point they are half-hidden on the site. They were merely bait—a pickup line, a push-up bra. There is a different question regimen for matching. On OK Cupid, the questions are submitted by users. There are three variables to each question: your own answer, the answer you’d like a match to give, and how important you think this answer should be. The questions are ranked in order of how effective they are at sorting people. Some questions might be of utmost importance (“Have you ever murdered anyone?”) but of little use, in sorting people. Others that divide well (“Do you like Brussels sprouts?”) will not do so meaningfully.

And yet some questions are unpredictably predictive. One of the founders, Christian Rudder, maintains the OK Trends blog, sifting through the mountains of data and composing clever, mathematically sourced synopses of his findings. There are now nearly two hundred and eighty thousand questions on the site; OK Cupid has collected more than eight hundred million answers. (People on the site answer an average of three hundred questions.) Rudder has discovered, for example, that the answer to the question “Do you like the taste of beer?” is more predictive than any other of whether you’re willing to have sex on a first date. (That is, people on OK Cupid who have answered yes to one are likely to have answered yes to the other.) OK Cupid has also analyzed couples who have met on the site and have since left it. Of the 34,620 couples the site has analyzed, the casual first-date question whose shared answer was most likely to signal a shot at longevity (beyond the purview of OK Cupid, anyway) was “Do you like horror movies?” When I signed up for the site, some of the first things I was asked were “Are clams alive?” and “Which is bigger, the sun or the earth?” It’s hard to discern the significance.

The purpose of the blog is to attract attention: the findings, like the quizzes, are to lure you in. Rudder has written a lot about looks: whether or not it helps to show cleavage (women) or a bare midriff (men)—the answers were Yes, Especially as You Age, and Yes, If You Have Good Abs and Are Not a Congressman. He found that women generally prefer it when in photos men are looking away from the camera (hypothesis: less intimidating), and that men prefer the opposite (they want a woman’s full attention). A user can rate other people’s profiles. The matching algorithms take these ratings into account and show you people who are roughly within your range of attractiveness, according to the opinions of others. The idea behind the matching algorithms, Chris Coyne told me, is to replicate the experience you have off-line. “We tried to imagine software that would be like your friend in the real world,” Coyne said. “If I were your friend and I told you that So-and-So would be the perfect date, your response to me would be to start asking me questions. Does she like dancing? Does she smoke pot? Is she a furry? Is she tall? On the Internet, people will ask—and answer—extremely personal questions.”

OK Cupid sends all your answers to its servers, which are housed on Broad Street in New York. The algorithms find the people out there whose answers best correspond to yours—how yours fit their desires and how theirs meet yours, and according to what degree of importance. It’s a Venn diagram. And then the algorithms determine how exceptional those particular correlations are: it’s more statistically significant to share an affection for the Willies than for the Beatles. The match is expressed as a percentage. Each match search requires tens of millions of mathematical operations. To the extent that OK Cupid has any abiding faith, it is in mathematics.

There’s another layer: how to sort the matches. “You’ve got to make sure certain people don’t get all the attention,” Rudder said. “In a bar, it’s self-correcting. You see ten guys standing around one woman, maybe you don’t walk over and try to introduce yourself. Online, people have no idea how ‘surrounded’ a person is. And that creates a shitty situation. Dudes don’t get messages back. Some women get overwhelmed.” And so the attractiveness ratings, as well as the frequency of messaging, are factored in. As on Match.com, the algorithms pay attention to revealed preferences. “We watch people who don’t know they’re being watched,” Sam Yagan, the company’s C.E.O., said. “But not in a Big Brother way.” The algorithms learn as they go, changing the weighting for certain variables to adjust to the success or the failure rate of the earlier iterations. The goal is to connect you with someone with whom you have enough in common to want to strike up an e-mail correspondence and then quickly meet in person. It is not OK Cupid’s concern whether you are suited for a lifetime together.

OK Cupid winds up with a lot of data. This enables the researchers to conjure from their database the person you may not realize you have in mind. “Like that guy in high school with the Camaro and the mustache who bow-hunts on weekends,” Rudder said. “You can find that guy of the imagination by using statistics.” The database also gives them a vast pool to sell to academics. In no other milieu do so many people, from such a broad demographic swath, willingly answer so many intimate questions. It is a gold mine for social scientists. In the past nine months, OK Cupid has sold its raw data (redacted or made anonymous to protect the privacy of its customers) to half a dozen academics. Gregory Huber and Neil Malhotra, political scientists at Yale and Stanford, respectively, are sifting through OK Cupid data to determine how political opinions factor in to choosing social partners. Rudder, for his part, has determined that Republicans have more in common with Republicans than Democrats have in common with Democrats, which led him to conclude, “The Democrats are doomed.”

OK Cupid’s office occupies a single floor of an office building a block away from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, that old redoubt of pimps. It’s an open-air loft space, with the four founders at desks in the middle of a phalanx of young men (and one woman) staring at screens. The four are Sam Yagan, the C.E.O.; Chris Coyne, the president and creative director; Max Krohn, the C.T.O.; and Christian Rudder, the editorial director. As they all like to say, Sam is the business, Chris is the product, Max is the tech, and Christian is the blog.

Yagan, who is thirty-four, is also the face. A Chicagoan with the mischievous self-assurance of a renegade salesman—he can seem solicitous and scornful at once—he does appearances on “Rachael Ray” and meetings with the suits at I.A.C. He makes grandiose claims with a mixture of mirth and sincerity. As he said to me one day, “We are the most important search engine on the Web, not Google. The search for companionship is more important than the search for song lyrics.”

All four founders maintain profiles on OK Cupid, but they are all married, and they all met their wives the analogue way. Yagan met his wife, Jessica, in high school, outside Chicago, where she and their two kids now live; she works for McDonald’s, overseeing the sustainability of its supply chain. He commutes to New York every week, bunking in a hotel. Rudder, who is thirty-five and from Little Rock, met his wife, a public-relations executive from Long Island named Reshma Patel, twelve years ago through friends. They live in a modest apartment in Williamsburg, and often have friends over at night to play German board games. Coyne and his wife, Jennie Tarr Coyne, who have a toddler and a child on the way, have been together eight years, but sometimes they go out and pretend it’s their first date. She is from Manhattan and works in the education department at the Frick Collection. They were classmates at Harvard, but they met again a few years later outside a night club in New York. He had a drunken woman on each arm. “Don’t I know you?” he said.

“I was a little grossed out,” she recalled. “I decided I was done with him.”

“She decided she had to have me,” Coyne said.

Afterward, she looked him up on the Internet, and discovered that he’d come from a town in Maine near where her father, Jeff Tarr, also a Harvard graduate, grew up, and that they had gone to the same Scout camp. Chris and Jennie began e-mailing each other, and eventually went out on a date. She considers herself an excellent matchmaker, with a well-tested compatibility theory of her own—that a man and a woman should look alike. (In 2004, Evolutionary Psychology published a study of this phenomenon titled, “Narcissism guides mate selection: Humans mate assortatively, as revealed by facial resemblance, following an algorithm of ‘self seeking like.’”) She and Coyne are both blond, fair, and lean, although, because he is seventeen inches taller, she worried they’d be ill matched. They were engaged within a year. They moved into an apartment in the same building as her parents: the San Remo, on Central Park West. Jennie’s father, too, had started out in the computer-dating business; at Harvard, he’d been one of the founders of Operation Match, the inspiration for TACT.

The Coynes’ marriage has a whiff of a phantom variable that the matching algorithms don’t seem to take into account: fate. Serendipity and coincidence are the photosynthesis of romance, hinting at some kind of supernatural preordination, the sense that two people are made for each other. The Internet subverts Kismet. And yet Coyne and his wife both have a profile on the site, and the algorithms have determined that she is his No. 1 match. He is her No. 2. She struck up a correspondence with her No. 1, a man in England, who eventually, after she friended him on Facebook, stopped writing her back.

Google could snap them up in

Google could snap them up in a second if it wanted to. Or just build its own system that uses individual web search history on the back end. That way you get the real person and not the person that has for any number of reasons selected certain answers.

I'm waiting for them to revive Crazy Blind Date. I'm apparently crazy enough to have tried it. I would have done it more times, but they had tight scheduling paramters and it didn't always work out. The one that did was decent enough for a totally blind date as in I knew nothing about the person, never spoke or emailed before, etc. I've evolved and could make much more of it now. The system partially died due to lack of users and a feedback system that didn't work so well.

That's so good

“We are the most important search engine on the Web, not Google. The search for companionship is more important than the search for song lyrics.”

Also, you guys should check out that OkCupid blog mentioned, OkTrends. It is AMAZEBALLS. They make all these crazy conclusions (very non-PC) and then say, "Oh hey, you can't get offended, this is what the data shows!"

In fact, OMG, the entry up right now is about orgasm!

imnotcoming.wordpress.com
imnotcoming.tumblr.com [contains sensual imagery]

umm

Exchange numbers, and keep mobile contact.. bring it to real life as much as possible. And if those okcupid girls don't workout? Go out and be sociable.. it's nerve racking, but very rewarding!