(In 1997, Mike Myers, with a debt to Wilhelm Reich—and to films such as . In the fantasy forums called MUDs, it was sometimes called Tiny Sex, as Sherry Turkle would note in her 1995 book , discussing early “computer-mediated screen communications for sexual encounters. as people typing messages with erotic content to each other, ‘sometimes with one hand on the keyset, sometimes with two.’ ”Along came CD-ROMs and DVDs—interactive discs that could be slipped into a disk drive or game console—which allowed users to issue simple commands and choose various options or outcomes in their sexual entertainment.But for a species that now got its babies from test tubes, why shouldn’t a geek try to get his ya-yas out by way of Alpha Centauri? An Internet list of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ describes the latter activity . There were Internet forums where people could post erotic stories (or add to others’ stories)—many of which would evolve into multipart series—that would attract tremendous followings.There were hatchling websites that stole printed porn pictures and posted them as their own; sites that featured virtual strip blackjack; sites where online models popped up in tiny matchbook-size peep-holes, responding to keyboard commands (“How about removing those fish-nets? The Internet began to micropander to every type of sexual connoisseur.One of the earliest Net-sex horror stories involved an online skeeve who turned out to be a con artist. One of the West Coast leaders of sex-positive feminism, Bright in the early 1990s had left her job editing .In the early days of the Web, Mayes notes, “the digital sexual image is very private—you take it, put it up on your computer, share it just with the people you want to see it. For all the benefits that these websites brought us—gay and straight and otherwise—little did we know the extent to which our personal images would become public commodities that had the potential to spin out of control.”The Internet, for many, was a virtual singles bar.
VR sex, theoretically, involved people in proximity or in distant locations donning special suits and/or cybergloves and/or headgear, festooned with wires, and then remotely diddling their partners and sharing a simulated sexual experience, sometimes accompanied by SFX audiovisuals.
At the Web’s inception, few outside the tech world realized it would be seen as one of the signal events in computer science. Or that it would make it possible for an individual or a group or a government to communicate with billions.