A history of the horny side of the internet
Published: October 24, 2022

A history of the horny side of the internet
A history of the horny side of the internet

From the very beginning, people on the internet have been obsessed with sex.

That's the argument laid out in a new book by journalist Samantha Cole, How Sex Changed the Internet and the Internet Changed Sex. Cole digs through early internet history to show how sexual content and communities were part of the internet from its earliest days and had a profound effect on how the online space deals with identity, community, and consent. From identity play on early bulletin board sites to the rise of online pornography as an industry unto itself, Cole makes the case that you can't make sense of the internet without sex, even if today's major platform companies would like to.

Content Warning: This interview describes multiple sexual practices in straightforward language. Readers who are uncomfortable with these topics should use discretion.

The book makes the case that sex was a fundamental part of the internet from the very beginning. Why do you think that is?

It's just such a part of human nature to want to connect as deeply as possible to other people, whether it's online or not, and the internet opened up a new venue for that. Suddenly people could be whoever they wanted to be. They could take on these personas that were different from who they were away from the keyboard. They could express themselves in a way they never had before. For a lot of people, that branches out into sexuality almost immediately.

It's interesting reading those old message boards where people describe themselves as mythological creators or blobs or whatever they wanted to be. Then they would have these really deep, interesting, philosophical conversations about love and sex and relationships. In many cases, they would meet up and go on dates after that. Sometimes they got married and had kids. I say in the book, there are real people walking around who only exist because these bulletin board systems connected their parents.

There's an immediate security concern there because you have people adopting pseudonyms to share information that's otherwise really private. But it seems like, at this stage, the internet didn't have a ton of tools for keeping your identity private.

Right, just to get in the door of a BBS like this, you had to call someone on the phone and give them your name and credit card info. So it was tangibly personal between you and the admin. Once you were inside, a lot of them would let you use whatever name you wanted, but there were other communities that would demand you use your name. Others would have you put your email address at the end of every post so people could contact you directly. It's an interesting divide: what level of reality do you want to experience through the internet? But the more sexualized communities really emerged when people were using the internet to pretend to be something they wished they were or wanted to try.

How much does this change when you get into the contemporary internet, built on companies like Google and Facebook that are able to treat sexual content very differently?

It gets really complicated when you go from a single person running their hobbyist bulletin board scanning Playboy pictures to this huge machine of moderators making decisions. People can get really frustrated not having a central person to talk to about what's happening on this platform that is a big part of their life. So that definitely has been a huge shift. We have these huge monopolies that are just running the show for us now, and it's hard not to feel like you don't have any of that control left.

At the same time, these companies are now beholden to payment processors and banks, and so they have to push all of this stuff off of their platform, in many cases, because of those financial obligations. So just seeing that change, it's hard not to imagine the internet is going to keep getting more sanitized and less sexual.

You describe a lot of early moments of sex panic in a way that seems very similar to what we see now, but then, in other places, the internet seems to have made people more accepting. Do you think the conversation over moderating sexual content is changing?

People are definitely more aware of the legal landscape. If you asked the average person in the late '90s if they knew about something like the Communications Decency Act, they would have no idea what you were talking about. But now, lots of people have real opinions about Section 230 and are really read up on this stuff. It's all a lot more visible, and the conversation is getting more heated because everyone has a stake in it. You have so many more people relying on the internet for their jobs, sexual or not. So people are paying attention now in a way that they haven't been in previous decades

What about the second part of the title, how the internet changed sex? All through the book, you can see people getting turned on to new things or exploring themselves in ways that wouldn't have been possible offline. Do you think the internet has made our sex lives more specific or extreme?

I think having access to communities of like-minded people can really be world-changing. I researched a lot about fetish and kink communities, and for a lot of people, before they found those communities, they thought they were the only ones. So it's been really interesting to see that grow up with the internet. Suddenly, you have thousands and thousands of people reading forums about their specific fetish and talking about what they're into and why they're into it. 

One thing that really surprised me was these forums about how to suck your own dick. People were just trading tips and advice about how to do it, exercises to do. You would never have access to that kind of information without the internet because, first of all, you would never say it out loud to someone, just hoping they were into it. But suddenly, you have access to all these people all over the world who are like, "Yes, I want to trade advice about how to suck my own dick."

That one was actually too vulgar for the book.

Do you think the internet is creating these desires or just making it safe to express them? 

It can be hard to tell. You can definitely discover something new that you didn't know you were into. Or you might realize you were into it all along, and you didn't know it.

One of the stories I wrote recently was about people who were into blueberries and blueberrification. A lot of them were into this because they had watched Charlie & the Chocolate Factory when they were kids and said, "Oh, that made me feel a way," and carried that with them for years without telling anyone. Then they get online, and they see there are a lot of people who also feel this way. That's a transformational change. It's not just, "I found this thing I didn't know I was into," but also "Now I can really express myself and buy a blueberry suit because I see other people are doing it, too."

Having that community makes you feel less weird. It's less isolating. I think that's a huge part of why people have so much shame about their sexuality and their porn use. They feel like they're the only one who wants this. When you find out you're not the only one, that can be revolutionary.

Source: Re-posted and Summarized from RUSSELL BRANDOM at the verge.


Customer Reviews:

We all have been VERY pleased with Adrian's vigila
We all have been VERY pleased with Adrian's vigilance in monitoring the website and his quick and successful repairs. Evan was also very helpful in solving all of my hacking problems. So in all aspects of the Computer Geeks we are very glad we are working with you.
Kenneth Bruscia PhD
Published:
Kenneth Bruscia PhD
[email protected]
FIVE STARS + It's true, this is the place to go fo
FIVE STARS + It's true, this is the place to go for your web site needs. In my case, Justin fixed my problem immediately. It's such a comfort to know that I can reply on these people for any and all my web needs. You will not find a better team anywhere.
Paul Adler
Published:
Paul Adler
[email protected]
We reached out to Rich and his team at Computer Ge
We reached out to Rich and his team at Computer Geek in July 2021. We were in desperate need of help because our former website design agency left us hanging with major website issues that needed immediate attention. Rich and his team were extremely helpful and quick to come to our rescue! They have helped us with numerous projects that have helped our SEO. Our sales have increased 30% since coming to Computer Geek. We've been working with them for about nine months now and are very pleased with their response time and helpful manner. Rich has proven himself to be trustworthy and dependable. We feel valued as a customer and look forward to continuing a relationship with Computer Geek.
Leigh Hutchens
Published:
Leigh Hutchens
[email protected]
Just to say thank you for all the hard work. I can
Just to say thank you for all the hard work. I can't express enough how great it's been to send projects and they get done. Beyond that, your ability to work with three different folks in a personable way really has been a game changer for us. The improvements to our business because of your hard work have been significant.
Curtis Williams
Published:
Curtis Williams
[email protected]
I would certainly like to recommend that anyone pu
I would certainly like to recommend that anyone pursing maintenance for a website to contact The Computer Geek. I have been using another company to do some maintenance on my site with moderate success. There were issues that were evidently beyond what could be handled by them. However, the professionals at The Computer Geek had them addressed and rectified in no time at all. The Computer Geek approached all of my requests focusing on my goals and the needed performance. Then, once versed, presented me with a very reasonable price. Once the projects were in motion, I found that the tasks were achieved before I expected, with professional results. Also, in one instance where The Computer Geeks brought an issue to my attention that I would have likely overlooked. This was accompanied by a recommendation on how to solve the issue. Overall The Computer Geeks exceeded my expectations!
David Pappas
Published:
David Pappas
[email protected]
I have a important website dedicated to the local
I have a important website dedicated to the local high school going back nearly 100 years. It was suddenly infected with a virus. Rich at Computer Geek fixed it within an hour. I cannot recommend him enough. I hope it's not for a long time, but the next time I need help, Rich is who I'm gonna call.
Eric Williams
Published:
Eric Williams
[email protected]
WOW! I have been wracking my brain for the past 30
WOW! I have been wracking my brain for the past 30 days trying to figure out who was hosting my company's website the domain owner, etc. Yesterday, when I googled for help and I clicked on the link to computer-geek.net and picked up the phone and called them. Rich answered and from there it was smooth sailing!
Rhonda Harding
Published:
Rhonda Harding
[email protected]
A note to let you know how much I appreciate your
A note to let you know how much I appreciate your team's work. Justin is on top of quickly solving any issues, making changes, reliable. Finding you was one of the luckiest days of my 74 years. I'd be honored if you'd add me to your list of references. And please stay healthy and in business. I got enough headaches from other folks.
Dan Cutrer
Published:
Dan Cutrer
[email protected]
We discovered an issue with our Oscommerce cart pr
We discovered an issue with our Oscommerce cart processing images. It is about 14 years old and heavily modified. Looking on google for some expert help I found Rich and reached out to him. We received a response the same day. The next day his team was working on our issue and was able to solve it within a few hours. Price was reasonable and we are very appreciative to find a competent and professional oscommerce expert to help successfully troubleshoot our issue.
Phillip Sirota
Published:
Phillip Sirota
[email protected]
I'm very new to the whole idea of having a website
I'm very new to the whole idea of having a website / blog. I used Bluehost.com and WordPress.org to create Thepredatorhunter.com and then managed to wreck it. On a Sunday morning I opened chat box with Rich and within a few hours everything was fantastic! This isn't just a company for big biz, if your new and small, The Computer Geek can help you out. In trouble? Stop fretting and start typing in the chat box. You will be glad you did!
Dennis Gilmore
Published:
Dennis Gilmore
[email protected]
[Read More Testimonials Here]

Latest Website Related Articles

Windows 11 gets a much-awaited fix for gaming bug

Published: December 1, 2022
Windows 11 gets a much-awaited fix for gaming bug. Windows 11 has been plagued by a bug in its 22H2 update that affects some users, causing stuttering in games, and leading Microsoft to block the upgrade for those people – but the good news ...[Read More]

 

Musk says Twitter sign-ups at an all-time high and hate speech dropping

Published: November 29, 2022
Musk says Twitter sign-ups at an all-time high and hate speech dropping. November 29th, 2022. Elon Musk noted that sign-ups at Twitter are at an all-time high even as advertisers and users claim they are leaving the platform. As per Twitter data...[Read More]

 


Here are some links to related topics:
 oscommerce script designer,   web page troubleshooting,   seo programmer,   bluehost hacked,   hostgator hacked,   drupal hacked,  


Auto Helpers: Auto Helpers
Site Secured By The Website Guardian