“When I first asked her about this, she initially put it down to ‘just fooling around on the wires.’” “It’s just a hobby,” she said.
“Maybe I’ll get some dates out of it.” Yet under the spell of her dirty-talking alter ego, the Naked Lady began to undergo a metamorphosis.
For the first time in history, dating let young people seek mates and life partners on their own behalf, in public places.
Spaces like bars and boardwalks shared many features in common with chat rooms. Sure, people worried about other people misrepresenting themselves.
The author of The Joy of Cybersex, Deborah Levine, had spent several years counseling college undergraduates at the Columbia University Health Education program. Like earlier safe-sex activists, Levine used bullet-point lists to introduce the sites her readers should know and to teach them the language that they would need to thrive on them.
Levine encouraged them to use their computers to flirt, start online relationships, and explore their farthest-fetched fantasies without taking real-world risk. The pages she cited ran the gamut from tutorials for geeks, like to resources for free lovers like the Open Hearts Project and
“Computer erotica appears to provide many people with a ‘safe’ alternative to real, personal relationships in a world where HIV is deadlier than computer viruses.” This was in a book review. If a partner asked you (while undressed in the bedroom) to pretend to be something you’re not, say a cashier at a grocery store or a famous astronaut, you would:a. Think he or she had totally lost his or her mind, and suggest a visit to the therapist.d.
The book, The Joy of Cybersex, argued that the World Wide Web was a godsend for this reason. Say: ‘Sure, honey, but I’d actually rather be a rocket scientist, okay? Think about it for a few minutes, fix yourself a drink, and succumb to the unknown.
But the safer substitutes for sex to be found online offered whole new kinds of titillation.
To talk (or type) about sex constituted its own kind of intimacy.
In the interim, using the right expression at the right time was the only way to flirt and bond.