As a fearless investigating journalist in the computer press, I had to learn more about sex on the Internet. Is it the scandal of the century? A great way to sell magazines? A new, more reasonable explanation for all that repetitive strain injury?
So I set out to uncover information that would be of great practical value to my readers. Despite my status as a newly single guy, I would not even consider using anything I found here for my own personal, prurient interests unless it was really, really good.
Web of Desire
The first place to look for sex on the Internet is the Worldwide Web. Why? Because popular opinion states that the Web is the sexiest part of the Internet, and if I didn’t care about popular opinion, I’ d probably be writing about socks on the Internet.
So I headed over to my favorite Web search tool, Alta States, and searched for the word sex. Guess what? I found it. In fact, there are more sites with the word sex than the phrase cheap airfare. (There are so many of both, by the way, that there just has to be an overlap. Frightening.) I could suddenly go to such places as Sex Salad, Sex and the Single Aphid, and the Aquatic Pleasures FAQ.
Since you’re reading a completed column, you can assume that I didn’t check out everything. Figuring my readers would want education and enlightenment, I limited myself to sites dealing with safe sex (which, I discovered, has absolutely nothing to do with making whoopee in a secure, metal box). I was examining 56 Ways to Put on a Condom (don’t ask), when I just had to follow a link to something called “528 Positions to Nirvana” (hey, I had to find out how they sort the data). I was soon following other links to Erotic Amish Folktales, Bound Aardvarks, and something called “Extremely Hot, Sizzling Sex!,” which I figured could be useful in the coming winter. Its one short, declarative statement, “You looked!” was anything but. I guess I’d drifted a bit off the subject of safe sex, but I’m the kind who gets distracted searching the Web for information on network routers.
I didn’t realize how far off I’d gone until I found myself contemplating a click to the Investigative Journal of Nude Celebrities. It seemed sort of tempting, but with my luck I’d probably find .GIFs of Bob Dole and Janet Reno. (Well, maybe not, but you know, Quentin Tarantino is popping up everywhere.)
Maybe safe sex information wasn’t what my readers wanted off of the Net? Maybe they wanted to know how to find the partners of their dreams. And the only way I could do that would be to find the partner of my dreams, and I couldn’t find her on the Web. After all, the only type of people you’re likely to meet there are people who’ve put up their own Web pages, and I wasn’t that desperate.
So next I tried newsgroups, where real people can exchange messages on such subjects as Rush Limbaugh and mutant cockroaches, as well as topics that are in no way related.
There are newsgroups for every sexual taste. I did a little lurking on alt.sex.rutabagas, alt.sex.klingons, alt.sex.bondage.public.places, and alt.personals.mac.trucks (from which I was immediately ejected as a Windows user) until I stumbled onto alt.sex.normal.boring.but.horny. Feeling this was the spot, I posted an advertisement for myself: “Middle-aged technical editor seeking new love after driving wife crazy. Loves to eat and sleep.”
That posting didn’t yield a single response, so I reworded it and posted again: “Tall, dashing heroic type ready to swing on ropes, climb castle walls, and cross swords with Basil Rathbone to win love of lady fair. Looks great in tights.”
This time I got responses. 82 irate flames informed me that only an idiot would post such an ad on alt.sex.normal.boring.but.horny, and directed me to alt.personals.normal.boring.but.horny.
I posted there and once again, no responses. Some research yielded an explanation: No one blessed with two X chromosomes had ever logged onto alt.personals.normal.boring.but.horny.
Chatting ‘em Up
Next, I tried a chat room, which is basically where you have one-on-one silent conversations with people who can’t type. Conversations usually went something like this:
ME: See any good movies lately?
HER: I’ve got green eyes, long red hair, large breasts, and I’m 17 years old.
ME: Sorry, Senator Exon, but you’re not my type.
After several hours of such encounters, I finally found what seemed like the perfect woman. Smart, witty, sexy, with my interests, and close enough to my age to remember the Munsters. After an hour talking to her, I felt confident enough to open up honestly. “Monique,” I typed, “there’s one thing I have to confess. Despite what I told you earlier, I really don’t look like Brad Pitt with a beard.”
She understood. “That’s okay,” she responded. “I do.”
My conclusion? There may be sex on the Internet, but it’s probably not worth pursuing. You’re better off doing things the old-fashioned way–with an arranged marriage.