Human Sexuality and the Internet Term Paper

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Foucault (1981) suggested that modern social life is bound up with the rise of "disciplinary power," which could be controlled and regulated (Giddens, 1992). Foucault termed sexuality "an especially dense transfer point for relations of power," a point which can become a focus of social control. We might see internet sexuality as reflecting a change in the locus of power, where the internet has become a dense transfer medium for those relations of power. Specifically, the internet has become a place where simulation of sex, and sexual barter, occur with minimal control and regulation (Ross, 2005)."

The Internet provides the forum for one person to have several different sexual personas with different ages, genders, preferences and desires.

This has held true through other readings I have done in the past. In fact, news shows are constantly broadcasting the fact that people use the internet to pretend to be something other than what they are. An extreme example is that show that sets people up with a decoy and they believe they are coming to meet a 12-year-old girl and the cameras are waiting when they arrive.

Outside of such illegal and immoral behaviors articles have supported the idea that the Internet is an alluring sex arena because it allows participants to "try on" various personas and act out their sexual fantasies while remaining safely hidden behind invented names, genders and pictures.

An additional point that Giddens (1992) raised is that the body is in some sense the domain of sexuality. In the sense that sexuality is felt in the body, he is correct. But the internet allows for a surrogate body to experiment and to be experimented upon. Not only may a false body be presented (being pictured as younger, thinner, or even represented by a picture of someone else), but "robots" may be created that act in the place of the person and advertise and respond (Ross, 2005)."

The Internet also provides the removal of barriers geographically, physically and emotionally allowing participants to act out their fantasies without physically cheating.

The premise is that typing is not actual cheating so one can participate in intimate chats, web cams and other sexually explicit activities while remaining faithful.

This disagrees with articles I have read in the past that indicate spouses who catch their mates engaging in cyber-sex do view it as being unfaithful to the relationship.


Through the reading and study of this article I have come to realize just how many avenues cyber-sex covers when it comes to the satisfaction of those who want to step outside their personal comfort zone and try something new.

I have always known about web cams and sexually explicit ims but had given little thought to how it provided the ability to change genders, cross boundaries with relationship to sexual preferences, and other areas that may be frowned upon in the participant's three dimensional, real life circle.

This article helped me realize that the social theory surrounding sexual exploits is being changed through the use of electronic media.


Ross, Michael (2005). Typing, doing, and being: sexuality and the internet.

The Journal of Sex Research

Typing, doing, and being: sexuality and the internet.

From: The Journal of Sex Research | Date: November 1, 2005 | Author: Ross, Michael W. | More results for: "human sexuality" transgendered journal

The increasing salience of sexuality on the internet, whether cybersex or use of the internet to make sexual contacts, has focused interest on how internet-mediated sexuality informs social theory. This article reviews social theory and sexuality in relation to the internet, with specific reference to the development of intimacy, the association of texts with sexual scripts, the emergence of cybersexuality as a sexual space midway between fantasy and action, and the question of boundaries and the location of the person in sexual interaction. Also, the supplanting of the real by the symbolic, the internet as a sexual marketplace, its important role in creating sexual communities, particularly where sexual behavior or identity is stigmatized, its impact as a new arena for sexual experience and experimentation, and its impact in shaping sexual culture and sexuality are noted. Finally, the[continue]

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