- My sexual identity:
- My Zodiac sign:
- What is my body type:
- My figure features is quite slender
- What I like to drink:
- I have tattoo:
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MA Dissertation by Robin B. Department of Sociology. University of EssexColchesterUK. Cybersoc Cybersociology Magazine. All materials here may be used for academic purposes, but I do ask that you obtain permission before disseminating copies or quoting extensively from any of my work. Use of this material for reasons other than academic research is allowed only with my express permission obtainable by : robin cybersoc.
Cybersex in online chat rooms is defined here as having two forms: 1 computer mediated interactive masturbation in real time and, 2 computer mediated telling of interactive sexual stories in real time with the intent of arousal.
Both of these forms of cybersex are found on America Online. Ethnographic methods are used in researching and writing this paper.
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There are several key theoretical arguments made here. Computer-mediated-communication is narrow-bandwidth. Much of the information we obtain in face to face interaction is from body language and other physical cues. In narrow-bandwidth communications, this information is not transmitted, making misinterpretations frequent.
This has led to the emergence of a new language which helps users to avoid misinterpretations. Because AOL chat rooms are a narrow-bandwidth space, users are anonymous there. This anonymity allows users to safely and freely experiment with their multiplicity of selves.
The multiple selves that users of online chat rooms experiment with online are part of a whole self. Experimentation with these selves is possible, at present, only within the narrow-bandwidth space on online chat rooms. People become cyborgs when two boundaries become problematic, 1 the boundary between animal and human and, 2 the boundary between human and machine.
The people presented in this paper are cyborgs because pieces of them are undeniably tied to the computer, a prosthesis. Cyborg theory is a powerful tool for looking at sexuality and gender is sue s in wider society. Until we live in a society where it is safe to freely experiment with sexuality, and with gender a social constructwe will be forced to become cyborgs.
In this paper, all names, user names, names of chat rooms where observations are made, geographic locations, and any other identifying information have been changed.
Table of Contents. Sample Pre-Interview Questionnaire Completed 3. Sample Online Interview 4.
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Sample Cybersex Transcript 5. Four Other Forms of Cybersex 6.
Robin Hamman's Home. Chapter One. In recent years journalists and academic researchers have been writing extensively about human interaction with computers and comp uter mediated communication. Most of the present literature concentrates on the World Wide Web, Hypertext systems, Multiple User Domains, Usenet news groups, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. Surprisingly little is written about on-line chat rooms, virtual rooms within on-line services such as America On-line and CompuServe. In online chat rooms, remote users may "talk" with other users of the same service in real time, and they pay to do so.
This is not unlike paying to become a member of a social organisation or club. Users of online services often create close knit communities centred around a specific online chat room. These communities defy the physical distance between users and are growing rapidly in size and .
This paper is the result of a study I am conducting on cybersex in online chat rooms. There are two forms 1 of cybersex which originate 2 in online chat rooms. The first form is computer mediated interactive 3 masturbation in real time.
In this form of cybersex, users type instructions and descriptions of what they are "doing" to each other and to themselves while masturbating.
They often type using one hand 4 while masturbating with the other. The second form of cybersex i dentified here is the computer mediated telling of interactive sexual stories in real time with the intent of arousal 5.
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Users who take part in this form of cybersex tell each other sexual stories online with the intent of arousing themselves and other users. Nguyen and Alexander state that cybersex of the two types defined above is satisfying enough that it can often "evoke physical orgasm" in the participants. Writing about a divorce case caused by an on-line extramarital affair, Ian Katz states that on-line services "have become the singles bars of the 's" Katz, Online chat rooms where people engage in cybersex, as defined above, are found on most online services as well as on the internet 6.
Nguyen and Alexander note that, according to Jack Richard of Boardwatch magazine, "50, now engage in daily cybersex using up to real-time chat lines [chat rooms]". According to their own press releases, America Online, popularly called AOL, is the "largest and fastest-growing provider of online services in the world, with more than 6 million members world-wide.
It is a news and information service, an arena for political speeches and a forum for political discussion, a giant software store, and a computer advice centre. AOL is also, according to Lichty and those who use the service, "a community" that has many aspects of a physical community. Lichty,3 These aspects of community include the use of group specific language, a virtual proximity to other members of the community and, in some cases, a common purpose for using online technologies.
When computer users in North America or Europe first decide to an online service, the most readily ava ilable one is usually AOL. This is because of AOL's network of access s that are a local call for most of these users, and the packaging of AOL software with magazines and computer equipment.
AOL also uses television and magazine advertisements to make a toll-free telephone available to people who want to order AOL software for free. Most of these marketing strategies, and direct mailings which AOL frequently uses, employ give-away offers of not just free software, but also ten to twenty free hours of online time.
Many potential customers of AOL use the free software and the free trial period and then decide that they do not want an online service.
I use up the [free trial] hours then cancel my membership. However, this method is time consuming because the user has to change their username and alert all of their online friends of this change each time they re- on as a new member. AOL users overwhelmingly agree that AOL is the most readily available online service, and many find that it is the easiest to use. The of users who tell me that speed when web browsing is a primary concern of theirs when choosing between online services surprises me. Most access only providers are faster and cheaper than AOL.
Reggie and Rob would be better off subscribing to a flat rate internet access provider 8 if they only want to browse the Web. They use the content of AOL, which non-members cannot access. The content of AOL includes such things as online magazines and newspapers, stock market quotes, free downloadable software, and of course, chat rooms. America Online has a lot to offer diverse types of users, and this is part of the reason that AOL is the largest and fastest growing online service.
Another reason that so many people use AOL is for cybersex. Wednesday night 9 is a busy night on AOL, and on weekends it gets even busier.
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Users of the People Connection can call up a list of chat room names to help them in selecting a room to enter. This list includes both public chat rooms, which are created and mediated by AOL staff, and member rooms, which are member created rooms where the topic and the way of speaking about it are mediated only by the participants. I counted six-hundred and sixty public rooms, and seven-hundred and eighty-two member rooms in ten different.
Each room has a name that is meant to attract certain types of people to come chat there. Most users select which room to enter by looking at these lists of room names. Personally, my favourite room is usually called "Ravers," although the name of the room occasionally changes to other rave music related names Once in the Ravers room, I found that the people there shared many of the same interests as I do.
Through the mail, my online friends and me trade tapes of our favourite music and occasiona lly send each other greeting cards. It is rare for me not to spend at least a few moments a day in this room now that I have become friends with some of the other users there. Some people who use chat rooms on AOL do so with sex as a primary goal, and the names of chat rooms reflect this. Because AOL staff create them, none of the public chat rooms has a name that is sexual in nature or openly soliciting partners for cybersex or physical sex.
Uncensored by AOL, just under half 12 of the member rooms have a name that is sex related. Although I identify almost half of the member's chat rooms as being sex related or solicitations for partners or for sex, I do not believe that every person in every one of those rooms is talking about these topics. As far as I have been able to observe, most of t he people in chat rooms with even the most explicit sex related names are not talking about sex.
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Instead, they talk about their jobs, family, and other interests or hobbies. There are two forms of cybersex seen in AOL chat rooms. These are identified at the beginning of this chapter as 1 computer mediated interactive masturbation in real time and, 2 computer mediated telling of interactive sexual stories in real time with the intent of arousal.
AOL is the location of focus for the research presented here. AOL is the largest and most accessible online service in the world. Almost half of the member created chat rooms on AOL have names that can be considered to be sex or cybersex related. Most users use lists of the available chat rooms t o decide which room to enter. Although many AOL users engage in cybersex in chat rooms, most users talk about other topics of common interest while there.
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The next chapter is on methodology. Sociology is nearing a crisis point unless we begin to explore and incorporate other disciplines. Ethnography is the appropriate method for researching and writing about cybersex in AOL chat rooms.
Researching in cyberspace poses unique problems. Doing sociological fieldwork in cyberspace is interesting and challenging. Cyberspace is a good place for new students of sociological methodology to begin to practice and refine their fieldwork methods.
Chapter Two. Research Methodology: Applications in Cyberspace.