January 14th, 2009

Ah, the days of youth, when we used to have sex on the internet and then feel like crap about it. Luckily those days are long gone. We’ve learned to appreciate online sex for its powers of creative expression. Right?

A few weeks ago, The Escapist ran an article called, “When I Was a Sex Goddess.” It’s the personal narrative of a woman who used to be hooked on MUD sex. As much as I appreciate the fact that it was written by a gamer librarian (Can’t… resist… naughty… imagery…), there are parts of the article this cybersex apologist can’t help but shake her head at. Things start off well, with florid descriptions of the power of words:

For me there will never be anything to compete with the power of words. You have the ability to shape your character with complete freedom. My physical description could linger on the flare of my hips, and my movements were only limited by my imagination. I lightly brushed, slowly caressed, rapidly thrust, inhaled sharply, coyly smiled, brightly blushed, flushed, moaned, gasped and laughingly tossed my hair in a swath of destruction and broken hearts.

The author — who was in college and had a boyfriend at the time — initially felt some pangs about hooking up online, but the allure of cybersex quickly overwhelmed her:

I wasn’t sure how I felt about online sex. Did I want to participate? Was it dishonest? Would I get caught? I didn’t feel like it was being unfaithful to my real-life boyfriend because of the clear demarcation between me and my character. In the end I went along with it because I couldn’t come up with a good reason to say no.

While, the author concludes, she appreciates those online experiences that helped shape her early sexuality, she looks back now almost with shame. Internet sex, she seems to say, is for the immature and weak:

Though I’m not particularly proud of the things I did, I am grateful for the unique opportunity MUDs gave me… When one of my former online flings tracked me down years later and began making advances, I very clearly told him, “No, I don’t do that anymore.” I have finally learned to say no.

All in all, this isn’t a judgmental piece, and it’s one that clearly expresses female sexual desire. Both of those things are nice to see. Still, I can’t help but hope that someday we won’t feel the need to reflect on our cybersex adventures with regret or moral lessons. Why move on from something that’s just as much a craft as sex itself?

Tags: cybersex

3 Responses to “Recalling MUDS and cybersex shame”

  1. Misty Says:

    Cybersex is a very odd thing for me. I grew up on it, in many ways; I gained internet access when I was about 15, back in the early 90’s, and immediately found a subset of MUDs, called MUSHes, that didn’t have the ‘combat’ or ‘dungeon’ overtones and instead focused completely on roleplay.

    It was an amazing and liberating time. I’m trans, and it was a chance to explore myself in a safe environment. I knew what I was inside, but it wasn’t something I could explore in ‘the real world’.

    I spent a .lot. of time in the following years engaging in various roleplays, and I’m unashamed to admit that no small amount of it was sexual. And times were good.

    But over time, I became /more/ self conscious. Rather than becoming more comfortable and more relaxed, I found that as my talent for writing increased, my insecurity about /sharing/ it decreased, and especially in that area.

    For a few years, I drifted away from the medium entirely, through a mixture of busy life and other distractions. And when I returned to it, I found myself virtually incapable of sharing intimacy on that level.

    And that’s more or less where I am now, a few years later. I can enjoy exploring characters and engaging in various RPs, but ‘cybersex’ remains out of reach for me, and it frustrates me to no end. I’m a very sexual person at my core, and I feel like I have had a part of that taken away, and I don’t know how to get it back.

    Dunno why I’m posting this here, lol. Guess there aren’t many places to mention it without being looked at very strangely, since as you say, it’s a pretty stigmatised aspect of sexuality, even with as much as sexuality itself is stigmatised.

  2. Cybersexy Says:

    Misty, I know quite a few people in Second Life who are transexual, and even rp that way. You may want to try hooking up with one of the transexual groups in SL so you don’t feel self conscious. You might even find a good cyber partner there?

    If there’s anything I can do to help, feel free to IM me in SL (Diannah DeCuir is my name there, although I won’t be online there until Sunday because I’m going on a trip).

  3. Misty Says:

    Oddly, it’s not being trans that causes my issues. That doesn’t bother me, though I have learned to warn most playmates that I am; for some, it makes a difference, and I would rather know that before than be called foul names later.

    It’s more that I have become very sensitive to my written words, and very self conscious that they be ‘good enough’. To the point that I will rewrite an interaction four or five times before taking a deep breath and just hitting enter.

    This means I spend most of my time worrying, and not enjoying. Worrying about phrasing, about readability, about plausibility.

    I recently became involved with a girlfriend who lives in Sydney, so we don’t get to see each other ‘in person’ often, so of course cyber is our only recourse. But it’s terrifying, because I feel very inadequet. And as she has a background more on the WoW and MSN side of things, she finds my interactions intimidating.

    I don’t know how to ‘back down’ and be brief and kinda crude, like most people seem to want in IM-type encounters, though. x.x

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