Sex, The Internet’s Own Wasteland
And their friends, the loitering heirs of city directors;
Departed, have left no addresses. - T. S. Eliot
I don’t mean to lay the blame at your feet, internet, but I am. How abysmal, how easy. In the morning there are sex bloggers on both America’s coasts (and in the middle, too, but there are fewer, or at least, fewer who say so) searching you for signs of intelligence, and just coming up pale and empty. For fuck’s sake, Technorati’s WTF? Sex has already been taken over with SEO rubbish, the fate of any social search tool that sex is allowed to traffic in (Yahoo killed theirs, and what of you, Mahalo?). Want to cry into your tea with less of a community of users driving your tears? Just customize your Google homepage to sex story feeds (here, I’m not territorial, are a few of mine: “sex study,” “sex research,” “sex science”) and read, weep, repeat. SEX NEWS IS BAD NEWS. Sex news tracked on the Web even more so. Sex news tracked by an untrained public? Just hand me my Hitachi and the handcrank generator, or something with enough batteries to get me off until the future arrives for real, please.So what, then, would break through the internet wasteland of sex, where scandal passes for conversation and teaching people how to have an orgasm (so long as we don’t track your IP or tell your blogroll) and not get HIV is still seen as the apex of sex education? These are all still vital acts, yes, but they are not the whole picture of sex, not hardly. In fact, the more we focus on the endgame — coming, not dying — we lose the big picture, of why this information might be hard to come by in the first place.
What sex media would make a dent in this? Can sex media make a dent? Sex blogging at first seemed the answer: of course, people have been blogging sex since before blogging was blogging, and when blogging broke into genres — prematurely, I say, but of course, it brought advertisers with it — sex blogging itself went a bit stale. Is it good for the state of sex to just fill the web with more and more and more stories of all the ways we could, do, would fuck? Is it good for the state of sex to just say more — or ought we consider how to speak more smartly of sex?
Blogging is just a platform, blogging could be what we like, and FTW, Sexerati is not going to get all Andrew Keen on sex & the web, but what if it did? What if we dosed the sex web with a bit more erati – the gleeful elitism of sex that we supposedly dare not go there with? Sex is to be celebrated, sure, and people everywhere need better sex education, sex skill-building, sex comfort even.
But what else? Sex culture. Sex lit. Sex analysis. Sex theory. Sex happenings. Sex community.
Sex smarts, in other words, that fill the needs of not just the individual, but the sexual body politic. Sex that serves a civic duty, yes!
Sex that can be spoken from the rooftops and straight on through them, not just confined within a textfield.
There’s no argument that the internet has given rise to new sexual speech. Foucault, Sedgwick, Rubin, all would rejoice a little. Now, though, surrounded by new online sex acts each day, is it not time to apply a bit of a critical eye to how sexuality is produced by the internet? How we play a part in the production of sex in not just our reading, linking, and tagging, but in what we don’t even think to look for?
the piece is offered to you under a Creative Commons License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
Melissa Gira is a speaker at our event about
the future of Sexuality
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Registration: 18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15