This is Your Booty Call

BlogHer Original Post

I was recently having dinner with friends and we commented how the scandals surrounding presidencies have changed over time. It went from no pot, to not inhaling, to DUIs or I did a little blow. And we laughed about how future pundits towards the middle of the century will be commenting on how strange and secretive the new president must be because she didn't post nude photos of herself on MySpace as a teenager.

That is what I thought about when I read about BabyCenter's new program, Booty Caller, which sends you alerts during your fertile window to remind you to have sex (as if the problem is that you constantly forget to have sex and not the fact that your uterus devours all ye who enter). This is not the first program that has people enter sensitive fertility information into an online program. Fertility Friend has been recording for years not only basal body temperature and cervical fluid, but the number of times you have sex each cycle.

One has to question how all of the information we're adding online will come back to affect us later.

A recent Washington Post article critiquing the Booty Caller service mentions special features of the program including text messages reminding you to get it on that evening and not use a lubricant to finding out the possible due date if you were to conceive that cycle. This final point, of course, is perhaps the kind of help we all can do without regardless of the fact that so many of us have sat with Ann Douglas's Mother of All Pregnancy Books open to the due date page trying to discern exactly which week in June we'd deliver. And that is what adds to the heartbreak on the back end when you see another negative and now have a date embedded in your brain.

The quote that stood out for me from the article is delivered by a happy customer who receives simultaneous text messages with her husband whenever it is time, according to her Blackberry and a computer program, to have sex. "It would be nice if [we] remembered to have sex on [our] own. But absent that, technology that reminds you to be human can be very useful indeed."

It feels very A.I. (referring, of course, to the Spielberg film and not the somewhat offensive 1970's term for an IUI)--technology reminding us to be human, reminding us to set down technology and have sex because without technology telling us that it's okay to leave, we would sit staring at our blackberries all day long. The comments following the article--all 18--slam people who would use such technology, though, ironically, all the comments were left by people who spend enough time in front of the computer to read not only the entire article but also log in and leave a comment.

Still, computer programs cannot predict how far from being in the mood you are due to depression or the fight you had with your husband the other day or how excited you are to have sex now even though some random algorithm tells you that it's past your fertile window and no help no help no help.

Dear Sugar recently ran a poll on the service asking if it was a good or bad idea (85% of their readers--108 votes total--thought it was a good idea). SherriLynn also scratched her head at the service, stating, "I get that people are busy and modern conveniences should make their lives easier. Still, text messages as foreplay seem a little much." Strollerderby points out the convenience of having dual text messages for both people in the partnership so that "he can be prepared to be jumped when he walks in the door."

Perhaps this is just the bitter woman in me who knows no amount of reminders is going to create a baby the old-fashioned way, but I do have to wonder how deeply people have thought about the amount of information they are setting forth online (so says the blogger who just Twittered about shaving her legs).

Melissa is the author of the infertility and pregnancy loss blog, Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters. She keeps a categorized blogroll of over 1600 infertility blogs and writes the daily Lost and Found and Connections Abound, a news source for the infertility blogosphere. Her infertility book, Navigating the Land of If, is forthcoming from Seal Press in Spring 2009. She is the keeper of the IComLeavWe (International Comment Leaving Week) list which is currently open for January.

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