Horny Twitter Is Here and It’s Ready to Fuck

The Beto sex tweet was just the beginning.

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Dec 5 2018, 9:17pm

Image by the author

Shortly after the 2018 midterm elections, writer Leah McElrath tweeted something so jarring, so blatantly horny, that it sent waves through the social platform.

Imagining some potential 2020 presidential hopefuls in the sack, she wrote, “Ojeda and Avenatti as candidates are like the guy who thinks good sex is pumping away while you’re making a grocery list in your head wondering when he’ll be done.”

Fine, whatever, even porn stars think about mundane things during sex. What really made the tweet go viral was the kicker: “O’Rourke is like the guy who is all sweet and nerdy but holds you down and makes you cum until your calves cramp.”

Some people disavowed what became known as the “Beto sex tweet”—even my colleague, Eve Peyser. I understand the backlash on some level: those men are real people who haven’t done anything to make others publicly wonder about their sexual prowess (besides, I don’t know, sweating a lot?). On the other hand, we have a president who said he grabs women by the pussy. We live in gross, explicit times.

No matter your opinion, the Beto sex tweet is only the tip of the iceberg for a phenomenon I call Horny Twitter. The concept is pretty self explanatory: people tweet horny things, for all the world to see.

I’ve come across various manifestations of Horny Twitter. There’s simply liking NSFW tweets, which is the most passive route. This is a favorite for notables such as Ted Cruz and Armie Hammer, who have liked hardcore MILF porn and BDSM tutorials, respectively.

Then there’s the call-to-action horny question, pioneered by writer Nicole Cliffe.

While Cliffe, who did not respond to a request for comment, and others who ask these questions may not be outwardly horny themselves, the replies pick up the slack for them. What’s beautiful about this facet of Horny Twitter is that the questions are genuinely interesting and reflect what non-horny tweeters may be too shy to ask.

Finally, there’s the most-outright display of Horny Twitter: tweeting horny things, without context, just because.

Why do people do this in the period of history dominated by fwitters (like finstas, but on Twitter) and locked accounts? Why do prominent people broadcast their horniness in the digital town square?

“Because it’s fun,” Sara David, Broadly culture editor and prolific tweeter, told me over email. “Twitter is public, but if you're not being a racist/sexist/bigoted piece of shit, what's the harm in being horny?”

Amelia Capaz, VICELAND social editor and fellow active tweeter, listed several reasons one might horny tweet: for social media engagement, to promote sex work, or to legitimately find a hook-up. Her reasoning, however, is different: “I just do it so my friends can respond ‘adjhfajdkhfdjkf’ and tell me they're blocking me for the hundredth time,” she said over email.

It’s no accident that this is all going down on Twitter as opposed to any other social network. Facebook is for old people at this point—and even if you’re young, you’re friends with your old family members.

One might think Instagram is a good avenue for horniess, and in some respects it is: who hasn’t liked a butt shot of Emily Ratajkowski once or twice, or fallen prey to the “thirst follow”? When it comes to the actual content one produces on Instagram, however, it is the most polished of the social networks. Your friends don’t typically share how horny they are on their Instagram stories; they’re much more apt to humble brag about a cool concert or dinner.

And while Snapchat is known for sexting, a 2014 paper found that only 1.6 percent of respondents used Snapchat primarily for sexting. What’s more, Snapchat itself is on the decline.

“Twitter is for your deepest darkest desires, so it makes total sense that this kind of behavior would emerge there,” Taylor Lorenz, internet culture writer for The Atlantic, told me. “I can’t think of another social platform where it would just be totally normal to say stuff like that; Instagram is too polished, Facebook your family is on, [and everyone on] TikTok is 12.”

While Horny Twitter appears to be a recent trend, its rise fits the zeitgeist. Climate change may cause a global crisis as soon as 2040, Donald Trump is president—there is a lingering feeling, especially in the Nazi-ridden cesspool of Twitter, that nothing matters, so we might as well be as hedonistic as possible. “I definitely feel like the past year maybe has made me approach the platform more openly,” Lorenz said. “I kinda don’t care what people think. And I think that’s a broader feeling in society.”

As David put it bluntly, “We're all going to die, we might as well get our jokes and nuts off.”

In a post-“grab ‘em by the pussy” world that’s still grappling with the #MeToo movement, discussions of sex have only become more common. Just as people have grown less concerned with being “civil” toward members of the right-wing, people seem more willing to say sexually explicit things even if others are offended.

Increased openness online may very well be a win for women and the sex-positive movement. “[Horny Twitter] normalizes female sexuality, which is a good thing,” Lorenz said. “To see other women tweeting thirsty, horny things … makes you feel less ashamed about your own sexuality and that’s a really positive thing.”

Capaz noted that horny tweets also have the potential to be educational, or at least pro-sex education. She said, “While it's not always that deep for me, I do agree that there are benefits to normalizing ‘sex talk,’ because the only way we can learn about something is by opening up the discussion.”

Horny tweeting may even help you meet the person you’re horny for—like Bolu Babalola, who tweeted about Michael B. Jordan and got to meet him days later.

As for the Beto sex tweet that brought Horny Twitter into the light? The women I spoke to had mostly positive things to say about it, and so do I: it’s an example of a woman—not a famous woman and not a millennial/Generation Z member to boot—being comfortable talking about her sexuality online, and I’m for that.

David supports the tweet for its openness, but takes issue with the sexual specifics—and to prove her point, she countered McElrath’s horny tweet with another horny tweet. “Beto would not make my calves cramp,” she argued. “Broadly contributor Zoé [Samudzi] is more astute in her observation that he would give mid strokes. Sorry!”

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