Cybersex promises to transform sexuality. Discuss.
Human sexuality is an enormous part of a human life and people are constantly faced with sexuality challenges. As the world evolves, ideas and inventions are voiced and created to make life better for everyone and the internet is one of these creations becoming an essential part of many lives all over the world. Cybersex is a growing form of sexual expression over a computer where people get arousal through typed text, video, images and spoken voice (Waskul : 2003). Because cybersex is so wholly person, yet so wholly impersonal creates many interesting qualities in the phenomenon (Waskul: 2003). With the internet rapidly becoming one of the most used tools in the world, it seems only an easy and curiousity driven progression that relationships arousal is experienced via technology. The underlying question of this innovation is whether or not cybersex will transform human sexuality or is it merely a backward step for society? In an investigation performed of online users, three types of cybersex participants were established. Firstly, there were the recreational users who perform cybersex for curiosity and entertainment. Secondly, the sexual compulsives who use it for sexual desires and lastly the at –risk users who rely on internet interaction, have a definite addiction which leads them to becoming isolated, living solely from this fantasy world (Cooper:2000). Cybersex is a virtual environment with convincing representations that become real through their outcomes (Waskul:2003). The manifestations of cybersex allows people to react to them as if they were real which is how we come to the conclusion of Cybersex having the three types of users, the level of addiction depending on how deeply persuaded someone is. Cybersex used in control is healthy and no different to watching pornography. However, it can grow from transforming human sexuality to being very problematic and as we can tell from above, if not done in moderation it will have harmful effects.
The vast number of sexually- oriented online chat rooms is a huge reflection of the immense ranging sexual interests that are now spreading throughout cyber space. New forms of identity as well as intimate liaisons are being created all the time. Be it “sexually active women, men, teenage and adult homosexuals, closeted and open bisexuals, people with multiple sex partners, part-time or full-time sex workers” or trans genders, all have found a new means to build their solidarity through the internet (Castells:1996). The internet mediated environment has become a very important channel through which individuals are freeing their embodiments which help to further pronounce their sexual practices. People always try and find ‘closure’ amongst feelings or ideas which are not settled. People tend to feel more clear headed if they can pin theirs, or someone else’s sexuality down to a label. The qualities of cyber space liaisons make it possible for identities to be truly “fluid”(Castells:1996). Identities are no longer fixed but instead taken up, created and explored, mixed and matched, and eventually given up only to try out a series of other sexual identities (Castells:1996). Nowhere else is this identity formation process more actively carried out then on the internet. What leads someone into a potentially dangerous and addictive area is when they do not give up their online identity and pursue the one that is true to them in the real world. They resort to the online cyber space to free themselves from the fake persona they have created outside this fantastical world. Cybersex is an escapist method for some people, diverting their sexual struggle away from the focus of society. The cyberspaces’ anonymity allows a person to freely follow their sexual desires and curiosity without the pressure and possibility of ridicule from society. This could go two ways. Either this expression will help them become more comfortable...
References: Castells, Manuel. The Rise of the Network Society. The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Vol. 1. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
Cybersex: The Dark side of the Force, Edited by Al Cooper, Brunner – Routledge, 1 edition, August 11 2000, 325 Chesnut street, Philadelphia
Self-games and Body-play: Personhood in online chat and cybersex, Peter Lang, D Waskul 2003
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