It was Thanksgiving, and Matt Silver was sitting around a table with his family when his 24-year-old girlfriend texted. “It was the first time we’d been apart,” he said. A full-frontal bare vulva popped up on his screen; he fumbled and the phone landed faceup under his 10-year-old cousin’s chair. (He retrieved the phone with his foot.)
The V-selfie, though very much here, is perhaps less insistent. Shared on dating apps or in texts, it has been sent to create longing and a sense of intimacy: a missive of lust and promise to lovers, or would-be lovers, who are separated.
“You’re giving a piece of yourself,” said Silver, whose new long-distance girlfriend of two years (they met on Tinder) took seven months before she sent her first intimate portrait from her bedroom in Hong Kong in shimmering morning light, with a glimpse of a Buddha in the background.
Her V-selfies, he said, are “bold, courageous, beautifying, radiant and captivating when there’s a story and based on a conversation that led up to it. It’s not just an image. It shows an element of trust.”
Like everything else, the new intimacy — wooing, connecting, arousing and even cuckoldry — is virtual.