Sexuality, Privacy and The Internet

by Rabbit White on October 16, 2009

It has been said before but I’ll say it again, the Internet is changing us, and it has probably already forever changed our sex lives. We can now anonymously (or non-anonymously) engage in whatever kink, chat, turn-on or hook-ups are imaginable.

Our sexuality can be a big part of our internet presence, and I think that is a positive. It no longer becomes an aspect of our personality we feel we need to hide or restrict, it now has a space with many possibilities for us to explore, whether that is engaging in forums, blogging, including sexuality in our social networking or trolling craigslist. But while we are out there, being open, curious and honest sexual pioneers, there remains the question of privacy. Is putting yourself “out there” sexually safe?

Of course there are many pre-cautions you should take that stem from basic self-awareness. Don’t give out phone numbers and addresses, perhaps use pseudo-names and don’t publish anything you absolutely don’t want linked back to you. However, nothing is fool-proof, there have been many instances of safe-players whose sexual online oeuvre have bitten them squarely in the ass: sex bloggers who lose their jobs, x-tube stars who are black-listed and so on.

To me, the problem here is not that what we do online could potentially get linked back to us (no matter how safe we think we are being) but that there is such a stigma with sexuality. Just being our sexual selves can be used to blackmail us, and that is preposterous.

This problem of sexual safety, I think could be solved in two ways. Perhaps people who run social networking sites will really lock down privacy, finding effective ways to separate our sexual, social and professional selves. Or, perhaps our generation will begin to effectively erase those old sexual stigmas. Just as employers are beginning to expect a social persona online, willing to dismiss keg-party photos, perhaps we will become adjacently comfortable with talk of sex and sexuality in an online persona.

This change would erase centuries of needless sexual shame, fear and ignorance. That, I think is a very exciting idea, one that is worth actively working on achieving in our lifetime. So for now, I’ll take the basic precautions but will continue to be sexually visible online, hoping to help change minds.

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