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Sex and Pornography Online

Divina Frau-Meigs


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Pornography online, sometimes called “cybersex,” has been assimilated to the discourse on sexuality as a mode of liberation for humankind through the exploration of sexual and political alternatives ( Hunt 1993 ). The question is whether cybersex offers new constructions of pornographic exchanges. The definition of pornography has not changed much over the centuries (→  Pornography, Feminist Debates on ). It is the deliberate representation of obscene material about the body in order to create sexual arousal. Three conditions to create pornographic desire are necessary: anonymity, an intimate and yet alien relation to the other's body, and the possibility of replacing one body with another ( American Journal of Semiotics 1989 ). Computer technology meets these three conditions of erotic arousal: it offers secrecy, interaction with strangers, and repeatable substitution. Seen within this framework, cybersex is traditional pornography disseminated through another medium. The →  Internet carries erotica , the description of detailed aspects of sexual relations, and exotica , representing perversions and deviations like sado-masochism, zoophilia, and necrophilia. They appear on “free” bulletin board systems like alt-sex-bestiality or alt-sex-bondage, on the tacit understanding that the user trades his or her words or images for access. They are mostly, however, to be found on ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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