403 Forbidden

Sex in Context

by Justin Hall

Technology could either foster a healing synthesis of culture and community or accelerate capitalism's soulless commercial crass-fest. To remedy silly synthetic sex with artificial sweeteners, I propose a healthy dose of humanity -- Web pages celebrating the magically mundane moments of offline life. I want more folks to share their personal sense of the sensual online.

When I was younger I got off on porn mags. Playboy or Oui, the raw straight-up sex was enough for masturbation. Older, I have known real women with depth and warts and sagging breasts; porn often repels me. Belying artificiality -- sex without strings, without personality.

Real-time sex has a context, nestled within relationship and history that add appropriate weight. The interplay of emotion, attraction and the quirks of each partner and situation, that is the raunchy fun of rolling in the hay.

By its nature, pornography is concentrated, extreme sex. Porn mags and porn pages feel weird because they present us sex out of context. Alt.sex.stories is a greater turn-on than alt.sex.pix.buxom. buxom.buzzom because it's folks writing largely for their own sake. They have a story to tell (true or not) that doesn't have to sell or win anyone over. More straight from the hip, more honest, more sexy!

I like stories better because there's build-up. They convey a better sense of character, place, setting and mood, more than another prostrated silicon sweetheart shucking her hot pants.

Sex-filtering software like SurfWatch forces erotic content into a ghetto. By segregating sex, folks learn it is to be found on pornographic pages, nowhere else. I am prevented from providing a positive page in example of sexuality, as I speak of sex in a relationship or as I explain how I contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

Concentrated sex is warped; it scares us, takes control of us, exploits us and alienates us. Concentrated sex is what we get when we prevent sexual integration.

When we ghettoize sex, we make a commodity of it. Purveyors of the straight-up nasty capitalize on the forbidden and taint our sense of the sensual.

Harlequin Romance novels are considered acceptable because the sexy stuff falls between the emotional wrangling. It is not considered brain warping to read about sex in the context of a relationship.

Online porn archives are another story. They are simply sanitized, software versions of our neon-lit urban outposts of sin with damp paper bags out in front and a guy with too-thick glasses behind the counter, with paranoid men furtively indulging their fetishes amid the racks. Like that porn store, pages of porn pictures exemplify the screwed-up sexuality of our culture. If people were permitted open channels of sexual communication, we wouldn't have thousands of horny geeks dialing daily into Playboy for their bizarre, alienating sense of the erotic.

If we continue to suppress and segregate even the most benign forms of erotica, we risk perpetuating this sexual alienation. No doubt there will be plenty of businesses to pick up the slack. For example, this post to my interactive list of sex links:

Netstar linked us to NetMate live video conferenced cybersex And of it they sez. This is 21st-century sex. Cybersex. Live video and voice communications with a sexy cyberbabe. Cybersex is safe sex.

Safe sex, alienating sex. I may have to use a condom when I sleep with someone, but I don't want all my lovin' to have that latex sensibility.

The Internet could open some minds, and free some souls. People who think they're weird can find out they're not, and lead happier lives for it; unless we decide they're deviant and dangerous and drive their voices underground. In that case, we will continue to alienate our sexuality, especially when computers are checking to see if we are violating taboo.

Offline, there is not enough frank and healthy sexual dialogue. This potential exists online. The Internet offers an opportunity to shrug off our prudish ways, explore the deviant, share our fantasies and fears from the sanctity of our desks. Giving up our neuroses over bodily functions and basic instincts would do a world of good for our culture.


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