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The book isn’t so much a dating advice book as it is a distillation of why online dating can be so difficult and confusing — and how and why dating and courtship have changed so much, so quickly.

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Sometimes what’s not in a book stands out more than what is.

In 2015, comedian Aziz Ansari published a book with sociologist Eric Klinenberg about the realities and frustrations of dating.

And another thing that’s changed in a very, very short amount of time: In 2015, two men could write a book about dating that barely mentions sex — and doesn’t mention consent — and that absence wouldn’t seem notable.

A mere few years ago, men weren’t expected to draw attention to harassment, rape, coercion or sex that’s not assault but not quite consensual, either.

The next morning (or even that night) come the recriminations: Was it wrong to give that person the sexual green light when you had no intention of rekindling the emotional side of the relationship?

Marilyn, a 57-year-old single colleague of mine, recently reconnected with someone she had worked with many years ago. "No," Marilyn said with a laugh, "it's better than that: I'm in like with him — and that's exactly where I want to be." She further confided that they planned to make their reunions "a regular thing — if four times a year can be called 'regular.' But I think that's about all I really want." Marilyn's casual approach to maintaining a friendship with benefits typifies the mindset of older folks who have reconciled themselves to having "great fun" even if it's "just one of those things." And episodic pleasure-seeking may be more common than you think: In The Normal Bar, a book I wrote last year with Chrisanna Northrup and James Witte, we reported that 61 percent of female survey respondents who had partners fantasized about someone they had met.From 2005 to 2012, for example, a third of couples who got married in the United States met through an online dating site.The authors look at how the Internet has expanded singles’ options and made it harder to pick just one.So presumably he’s thought about what makes a hookup good for everyone involved.For “Modern Romance,” Ansari and Klinenberg convened focus groups with hundreds singles in the United States and abroad.Is that a deplorably manipulative state of affairs?

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