Er...no. We aren't going to sex chat, here.
Although I'm not typically heavy-handed on the delete-comment button, and conversations have a way of going where they will; so technically, I suppose it could happen...It just isn't really my intention or point.
Since we've been discussing online communities, general alienation, and the role of technology in interpersonal dynamics; I started wondering how all that plays out in the internet dating phenomena. We all know people--or know of people--who met current partners or spouses online. Maybe we make fun of it.
There's the whole proliferation of forums and rooms specifically devoted to sex-chat.
There's the occasional unsolicited IM from a stranger, wanting to know if you'd like to cyber with him/her.
What's up with that? Is it that hard to meet real people? Is it just way more fun when sex becomes an exercise of imagination, separated from a solo act of masturbation by the presence of a participant--who isn't in the room?
Is is about flirtation from a safe distance? Some combination of all of the above, with elements as yet undiscussed, here?
Do we make value judgements about it? Sure. What's the line? What's okay online, and what do we find distasteful--even while recognizing that a great number of consenting adults not only do not agree, but enthusiastically participate?
I've never participated in the whole cyber-sex thing, but I do know people who have experimented with it. I also know of one marriage that was destroyed, at least in part, by a woman's online "extra-curricular" activity.
That suggests to me that on some level, in some contexts, people view cyber-relationships as real; therefore, on some level, that interaction has a degree of power to be both fulfilling to some extent, and potentially threatening.
I think we can safely extend that "real" status to non-sexual relationships, as well.