Computer Love: Technophilia in the Real World


I think it's important that we're all on the same (web) page here. By "cybersex" I don't mean looking at traditional porn that was obtained electronically, nor do I mean people using adult enterntainment programs such as Virtual Valerie to get their jollies. The cybersex I want to examine is almost exclusively the province of the chatrooms and the IRC. People use these mediums to communicate their feelings and actions of what they are doing to each other. For instance, a typical cybersex encounter might proceed somewhat along these lines: and so on, and so on (with increasing amounts of profanity).

I subtitled this site "A Study of Real World Technophilia" for a reason: to emphasize the fact that not all technophilia manifests itself in such blatant ways. In fact, it could be argued that cybersex is not a form of technophilia at all, that the sexual focus is on the person or people instead of the machine itself. Still, I include it here because of some of its implications for computer culture, both present and future, and because of the popular association.

Theorist Jean Baudrillard would comment that that cybersex is a simulation of the third order: the words and imagery of sexuality masking the absense of any intimate sexual contact whatsoever. Everything about the experience is simulated. The nicknames people give themselves, such as Redneck275 can be chosen not because of any grounding in reality, but because they are signifiers for a personality the person wants to adobt. 19Sarah19, for example, might be a fifty year-old male who simply enjoys playing the part of a young female. (I've always been suspicious of the seeming proliferation of females in chatrooms.) The personalities can be donned and shed like clothes in the landscape of the chatroom, for they too seem to be empty simulacra, being completely removed from anything in the real world.

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