Man Bartlett

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salmagundimagazine: “You’re alone, it’s late, and the lights are low; your face is bathed in the phosphor glow of your PC screen. Connected by modem to the information services America Online, you browse through a list of user-initiated group discussions called ‘rooms.’ The topics range over a wide spectrum of interests, from pop culture to politics, but i the BBS’s ‘People Connection’ section, sexual themes predominate. Room names scroll down your screen: ‘Romance Connection,’ ‘Naughty Negligees,’ Hot Bi Ladies,’ ‘Gay Room,’ ‘Naughty Girls,’ ‘Women Who Obey Women.’ Highlighting one, you click your mouse and ‘enter’ the room… Here as elsewhere on America Online, sexually explicit conversation is conducted warily, since public rooms are policed by ‘guides’ recruited from the membership and paid in free on-line time. Derided as ‘cybercops’ by those who frequent blue rooms, guides are empowered to delete dens of iniquity whose language and subject matter are not in keeping with the system’s guidelines… Like the habitues of conventional singles bars, BBS users tend to therefore scan rooms for potential partners with whom they might slip away to more secluded quarters… Soon you find yourself typing with one hand. Coitus in cyberspace, like intercourse in the physical world, progresses from foreplay to climax; orgasms are signaled by cartoony exclamations: ‘ohhhh,’ ‘Wow!!!’ and the perennial favorite ‘I’m Commmmmminnngggggg!!!!!” …Most common… are sexually explicit descriptions of what each participant is purportedly doing. Another variety, favored by orgy-goers, involves the communal creation of sexual fantasies, a form of consensual world-building… Stranger still is the notion of on-line adultery: Should significant others be jealous of their partners’ on-line indiscretions? ‘If you have ‘virtual sex’ with someone,’ writes a user…., ‘is that in essence…cheating on your [significant other]… or more like interactive fantasy? And if you have an ongoing virtual relationship, is that in effect an affair?’…” —Mark Dery, Escape Velocity, 1996

salmagundimagazine:

“You’re alone, it’s late, and the lights are low; your face is bathed in the phosphor glow of your PC screen. Connected by modem to the information services America Online, you browse through a list of user-initiated group discussions called ‘rooms.’ The topics range over a wide spectrum of interests, from pop culture to politics, but i the BBS’s ‘People Connection’ section, sexual themes predominate. Room names scroll down your screen: ‘Romance Connection,’ ‘Naughty Negligees,’ Hot Bi Ladies,’ ‘Gay Room,’ ‘Naughty Girls,’ ‘Women Who Obey Women.’

Highlighting one, you click your mouse and ‘enter’ the room… Here as elsewhere on America Online, sexually explicit conversation is conducted warily, since public rooms are policed by ‘guides’ recruited from the membership and paid in free on-line time. Derided as ‘cybercops’ by those who frequent blue rooms, guides are empowered to delete dens of iniquity whose language and subject matter are not in keeping with the system’s guidelines… Like the habitues of conventional singles bars, BBS users tend to therefore scan rooms for potential partners with whom they might slip away to more secluded quarters… Soon you find yourself typing with one hand. Coitus in cyberspace, like intercourse in the physical world, progresses from foreplay to climax; orgasms are signaled by cartoony exclamations: ‘ohhhh,’ ‘Wow!!!’ and the perennial favorite ‘I’m Commmmmminnngggggg!!!!!”

…Most common… are sexually explicit descriptions of what each participant is purportedly doing. Another variety, favored by orgy-goers, involves the communal creation of sexual fantasies, a form of consensual world-building…

Stranger still is the notion of on-line adultery: Should significant others be jealous of their partners’ on-line indiscretions? ‘If you have ‘virtual sex’ with someone,’ writes a user…., ‘is that in essence…cheating on your [significant other]… or more like interactive fantasy? And if you have an ongoing virtual relationship, is that in effect an affair?’…”

—Mark Dery, Escape Velocity, 1996

Man Bartlett