“The driving source behind sex in the 1990s, whether you’re partnered or single, is the human imagination,” Levine declared. The place where imaginations go wild, anonymity is the rule, and desire runs amok.” Like earlier safe-sex educators, Levine used multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questionnaires to help readers take stock of what they wanted. The chapter “Overcoming Sexual Inhibitions,” for instance, started with a quiz intended to help you assess how uptight you are. If your best friend started unexpectedly talking about his or her sex life over coffee one day, you would:a. A service called Tri Ess connected heterosexual couples who were into cross-dressing.
She placed more emphasis on expanding your horizons than on safety. The chat abbreviations that Levine lists — like ASAP and LOL — now seem so obvious that it is hard to remember that they once needed defining. Decent webcam technology and the bandwidth needed to transmit high-quality images were still a few years off.
“When I first asked her about this, she initially put it down to ‘just fooling around on the wires.’” “It’s just a hobby,” she said.
“Maybe I’ll get some dates out of it.” Yet under the spell of her dirty-talking alter ego, the Naked Lady began to undergo a metamorphosis.
For the first time in history, dating let young people seek mates and life partners on their own behalf, in public places.
Spaces like bars and boardwalks shared many features in common with chat rooms. Sure, people worried about other people misrepresenting themselves.
“She began regaling me with descriptions of her expanding lingerie collection. In short, she was becoming her online personality.” Surfing was the new cruising, and it could change lives.
In “health” class, the point of our endless discussions was to scare us off of sex for at least a few years.
But even though that incident really bothered me, I still didn’t stop.
She ceased to be “a rather mousy person — the type who favored gray clothing of a conservative cut …
She became (through the dint of her blazing typing speed) the kind of person that could keep a dozen or more online sessions of hot chat going at a time.” The effects carried over into real life.
My husband even started doing the laundry—a household task I normally enjoyed.
Nevertheless, I became so enthralled with the Internet that I reached a point at which I couldn’t be bothered with everyday chores.
It contained an article about a woman whose prolific activity in “hot chats” transformed her from a “paragon of shy and retiring womanhood” into a bona fide “man-eater.” The author describes a female friend who spent hours a day in the 1980s on a service called the Source.