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And here we are, we’re both these ultra-smarty-pants, computer-genius women—how can this be happening to us? This guy has all these super-brainy women dangling on a string.
’ They compared notes—and it was the same man.” When they floated his name to the wider community of The WELL, Bright recalls, “there was complete pandemonium. And he had been doing this with so many other chicks, it was just [crazy].”Bright recalls her reaction: “I’m sitting there at my keyboard and I just dropped my cup of coffee, because I had just fucked this guy in New York City a couple of weeks earlier. And I felt really embarrassed because, unlike the others, I had not given him money. [He] was, as far as I knew, the first Internet cad.”There were downsides, there were upsides.
“What the Internet did was give me a new awareness of myself.
Previously, the gay bar scene revolved around a body fascism: a prescriptive sense of muscles, tight abs, shoulders that you had to have. So in a bar, my eyes had always been filled with fear—the fear of rejection.
In the early days of the Web, Mayes notes, “the digital sexual image is very private—you take it, put it up on your computer, share it just with the people you want to see it. For all the benefits that these websites brought us—gay and straight and otherwise—little did we know the extent to which our personal images would become public commodities that had the potential to spin out of control.”The Internet, for many, was a virtual singles bar.
On the largest dating sites, chemistry (both sexual and interpersonal) would be replaced by algebra.
But for a species that now got its babies from test tubes, why shouldn’t a geek try to get his ya-yas out by way of Alpha Centauri? An Internet list of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ describes the latter activity . There were Internet forums where people could post erotic stories (or add to others’ stories)—many of which would evolve into multipart series—that would attract tremendous followings.
Bright recalls that she had first gone online because she’d heard that on a computer bulletin board called The WELL a community of people was engaged in a discussion thread labeled “Why I Love Susie Bright.”Bright now says, in a series of interviews and emails, “The WELL was like the shiny new toy that everyone in the media was fascinated with. The first time there was a sex hoax on the Internet—at least that I am aware of—it happened at The WELL.
There was a private women’s conference that only [female] members could be part of.
There were hatchling websites that stole printed porn pictures and posted them as their own; sites that featured virtual strip blackjack; sites where online models popped up in tiny matchbook-size peep-holes, responding to keyboard commands (“How about removing those fish-nets? The Internet began to micropander to every type of sexual connoisseur.
One of the earliest Net-sex horror stories involved an online skeeve who turned out to be a con artist. One of the West Coast leaders of sex-positive feminism, Bright in the early 1990s had left her job editing .
In previous decades, many gay men, he says, had relied on Polaroids (which required no processing) since they were concerned about bringing their undeveloped film to the corner drugstore or one-hour photo shop.