Picking up a guy in your local bar who likes to be handcuffed blindfolded to the bed for sex challenges even the savviest flirters. Not only do you have to lay out all your sexually-explicit desires, but the chances of getting the guy home and in this position boarders on slim to none. However, finding this type of guy online? A 10-second Google search and your fantasies erupt on your screen; whenever, wherever, and in the privacy of your own home.
College-aged twenty-somethings are the first generation of people to have accessed and used the Web for sex in the capacity that we do. We're the first people to experience the boom of Internet porn, chat rooms, hook-ups, webcam shows, sexting, fetish Web sites and more. These places do not care about your gender, your sexual preference or your name—only about what gets you off.
“One's internet sex life and one's personal sex life can, and often do, exist as completely separate entities. There's something about the anonymity of the internet that allows one to approach their sexuality with little- to-no reserves,” said Shane D*, in an interview for College News.
The Internet, in a sense, becomes a sexual haven for those who feel inhibited by judgments of mainstream society, which has attempted to normalize sexual behavior. If a person likes to be tied up and dominated S&M style, he or she can be labeled as a sexual deviant.
However, looking at these types of sexual practices online is deemed merely exploration. Advancements in technology provide everyone with a computer the chance to actively participating in an online sexual community of their choice, without being worried that the person they were involved with last night is going to end up in 9:00 a.m. biology.
Shane D. explains the appeal of the internet:
“The great thing about the internet is that it has every type of porn that you could imagine and, since literally everyone has access to a camera these days, everybody can be their own porn star. This is wonderful. It allows the voyeur in all of us to peer into what 'real' people's sex lives are like. We can actually relate now. It's not about this glossy, fake-boobed, super tan, multiple angle, melodramatic screaming, and cheesy funk music anymore. No! There's single camera set-ups from somebody’s night stand while the TV plays in the background. People aren't blowing through the Kama Sutra either. Things are real. Simple. It gives me an insight into what my own 'real' sex life looks like from an outside perspective, and ultimately it boosts my self confidence.”
While some fantasies and behaviors remain exclusive to the Web, what we see and do online can easily merge into our tangible romps. And this is not necessarily a bad change in the relationship.
“Get your significant other break out the XXX DVD and play your own version of Simon-Says with positions. That has to be more fun than your digital self could ever have,” said Jacob Miller, student.
Both of these perspectives raise essential questions: On the internet, what is real sex? Or what is the sex life of an average person like? Is it watching porn and then getting down and dirty with their partner? Is it even one partner? Is the average relationship even exclusive?
Defining what is average arbitrarily assumes a sexual norm—one which no longer exists in this modern age. Thanks to things like female empowerment, progressive sexual acceptance, contraceptives, sex is open for all.
Everyone has experienced the type of sex when a girl thinks she needs to moan as loud as possible with every hip movement or the guy who is sure that he can give two girls simultaneous orgasms with the least amount of effort. Blame bad porn—or better yet, blame society for attempting to create a homogenized sexual experience.
If you venture online and experience the wide buffet of sexual desire, the idea that average person always commits to hetero-normative, monogamous, missionary sex on a Friday night dies violently. It doesn't matter if your internet sex life matches up with your personal one. So search on, play on, and, most importantly, sex on.
*Name changed out of request for privacy.