Since I wrote my book “Naked on the Internet,” one of the questions I get asked in just about every interview is: how did you get interested in this topic? And sometimes I draw a total blank when I try to respond, or I just want to say, â€œduh â€“ cuz itâ€™s awesome.â€
But the answer I give is that Iâ€™m interested in sexuality and the internet in both the personal sense â€“ I use it to find people to fuck and to entertain my horny little eyeballs â€“ and the professional sense â€“ when I was a sex worker, it brought me clients, and as a lapsed academic and a new media professional itâ€™s brought me research â€œsubjects,â€ community and a variety of jobs.
And not to speak for everyone here, but I think this covers a lot of our interests. Furthermore, whatâ€™s so cool about Web 2.0 â€“ and the way Sex 2.0 â€œthe movementâ€ is taking shape â€“ is the transparency, the wearing down of the lines between the personal and the professional. Sexuality online is a really intriguing site for all this. When I watch other new media people struggle with how much â€œsocialâ€ content they should put on their Facebook accounts and stress about seeming unprofessional, we sex media makers are a hot mess of tangled emotions and media, and have been for years. Theyâ€™re thinking about this stuff â€“ weâ€™re doing the messy, sticky exploration. This is not to say what weâ€™re doing is seamless or that weâ€™re so brave. Sometimes we â€“ ok, Iâ€™ll totally own this and say I â€“ do stupid things online, reveal too much, give away things we should keep for ourselves. These are growing pains, though sometimes the price to pay looms large.
Today is our chance to bridge the gap between the words and images on the screen and our in the flesh existences. That’s not to say that the two things are totally separate or unrelated, just to remind you all that weâ€™re privileged to be able to step into three fleshy dimensions. And if that sounds a little naughty – that’s not a bad thing either.
Today is also a chance to tangle with some of the peculiar and hilarious intersections of our lives â€“ we all have multiple facets and some of us have multiple identities. Many of us juggle and try to maintain so-called â€œsecretâ€ lives, sometimes trying to balance more than one job where people know us under different names, while others balance multiple relationships, multiple blogs â€“ weâ€™re busy people.
And though the people in this room represent many different interests, abilities and degrees of involvement online, we are all struggling to find our places within the awesome world of Sex 2.0 â€“ which is not just a place to check stuff out, but to make cool stuff and meet cool people.
But – the main challenge I want to throw out to you for today and beyond is to think about not just your immediate community â€“ the cool people in this room and the people who couldnâ€™t be here who are playing along at home – but also people who don’t quite know that they need what we do. That sounds almost like I’m charging you with a missionary task – but I’m not asking you to go out and convert people to our cause, because that’s creepy and I’m not so sure â€œweâ€ have one cause anyway. But what Iâ€™m saying is that itâ€™s important to build community, but itâ€™s also important to reach outside of our communities â€“ spend some time in non-sexual spaces online, learn as much as you can about new media â€“ and if youâ€™re feeling feisty, challenge peopleâ€™s assumptions about what sex and Sex 2.0 are all about.
So welcome â€“ mix and mingle, learn and have fun, and make some sex media, for now and the future.
[I also have video that I’ll be posting shortly – and then you can compare and contrast the written with the spoken, if you’re into that kind of thing]