The sexual life of cyber-savants

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Anthropology, 2003, 14 (2), pp. 229 - 248
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Netsex, or cybersex as it is sometimes known, is shown to be both a way of manifesting and dealing with some of the problems facing people in some online groups. The ethnographic data comes from the mailing list 'Cybermind', where netsex seems to have been an important, but relatively hidden, part of list activity. Some effects of the structure of mailing lists and communication programs are described. A description of netsex is given and analysed, various list-based discussions about the subject are described, and it is shown how netsex operated amongst some group members. It is argued that netsex is one of a number of ways which are used to frame and explore the occurrence of diverging meanings and vague boundaries, the paradoxical conventions of authenticity (depending on such things as strong emotion, body feelings, typing errors and gender) and the oscillating and uncertain relationship between online and offline life.
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