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back to article A decade of techno-sex: Look how far we've come

(Some of the links in this story may be NSFW.) If the last decade has seen major changes to legal and social attitudes towards sex and sexuality, a question that will have commentators engaged for some time to come is what role has been played in such change by technology. Does technology lead the way, encouraging and enabling …

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FAIL

One expects more of a clue from El Reg

The long-standing scornful animosity shown by this publication for Second Life ("Sadville") is one thing: an editorial stance, fair enough.

Statements like the following, however, are quite another:

"Over the last decade, the internet has spawned a series of MMORPGs – multi-player role playing games – of which virtual worlds such as Second Life are a leading example."

This is absurd on two levels: firstly, it has the cart before the horse (surely, MMOs are a subset of virtual worlds, not the other way round), and secondly, virtual worlds such as Second Life are not games.

Things like IMVU are social network sites, like 3D Myfaces or Spacebooks. This is indeed the way many people use Second Life. There are none of the rules of play, scoring, and victory conditions that define a game. What distinguishes Second Life from other virtual worlds is that it is composed almost totally of user-generated content. If there are games inside SL (analogous to Flash games on a 2D website), they are constructed by users, not SL's operators.

To fail to comprehend what Second Life is (as opposed to what one may think of the things people get up to on it) is as tech-ignorant as failing to comprehend (as opposed to what one may think of what people get up to on, say, Twitter) Web 2.0.

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Troll

Hoo boy

Hrm. I'll go Anon Coward just because I don't want to admit to spending so much time in SL.

You're saying Second Life is not an activity engaged in for diversion or amusement ( Merriam-Webster, def'n 1 of game )? I still remember when Blizzard raised the level cap on WoW and in the same month LL raised the group cap on SL, and I went 'hmmm.'

Maybe you weren't on when Linden tried to sell SL as a game engine in 2005. There are still some places that don't have antipush and still have the health meter, where if you take enough damage, you get sent home. You might even have a free account, so you don't remember the days of fat stipends, where you'd game the favorable vote system to pull in hundreds of linden a week (such a score!). And even Phillip himself called L$ as "In-game non-monetary tokens" when the FBI was investigating the legality of SL casinos.

But sure, proclaim it has some magical quality that protects it from being a game. Maybe because it's user-generated content, it's completely un-game-like, as opposed to Little Big Planet. Or do you mean The Sims, where there's custom-generated content to be had? What if EA made a Massively Multiplayer Online version of The Sims? They could have called it The Sims Online. Oooh! I know! Quake and Half Life are virtual worlds, because Team Fortress and Counter Strike were constructed by users, not ID nor Valve!

Second Life is a game. It's an amusement and many users know well enough to treat it such. It may get very boring and people take themselves too seriously at times, but that happens in many games.

Or, if you must, say this mantra: Remember, Second Life is not a game; games don't brag about their chinese gold farmers!

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Virtual worlds and MMORPG

Thanks, idai...though if you'd checked out my record, you'd see that when it comes to Second Life, i tend to buck the trend. I'm a longstanding participant - and admirer - though i do question at times where that particular world is going.

You may see it as something beyond MMORPG's...and in many ways, i would agree. But its a point of view - and one shared by many longterm inhabitants of sl. Whatever else it is, it is not a swipe of any kind at virtual worlds.

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Bronze badge

Second Life and The Rest

Go back to the original text-based multiplayer games, and you'd find the same range of types. The very structured fight monsters sort, and the very unstructured games with player creation and no formal way of scoring and winning.

But something that ran on a Pentium with 128 megabytes of memory, fifteen years ago, for a couple of hundred people, is a long way from the modern games.

And some of the features of the virtual sex are as misogynistic as most porn movies. The physical acts depicted may be quite ordinary, but there's a tendency to see a sexually active woman as somehow broken.

The text-based games may have been better. People had to actually communicate to do anything, putting together the words and doiing this thing called typing. But, based on the numbers, I reckon the audience was very different. Maybe that's what the politicians react to: the idea that ordinary low-class people are copying their betters. The rich and powerful have always done these things: now we all can.

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Anonymous Coward

One thing that has allways bothered me....

There are allways stories about robots, and how they will pertain to being used as sexual objects (come on, don't kid yourself) or military capabiities, however you rarely see much on their other uses.

In Japan, they have started using robot teachers in their schools ( http://tinyurl.com/arjugc ).

In Japan this may be a viable option due to the way that the general population sees robots in general ( think where most robot anime has come from) , however in other societies, such as the UK or the US, there is psychological affect called "frankenstein complex" (coined by Isaac Asimov) or "uncanny valley hypothesis" ( Masahiro Mori ) in which most populations will not accept robots that appear "humaniform" in nature, due to the fact that your average person will be afraid of such machines rising up against human kind in the future, or that one day such bots will not be able to distinguished from humans.

You also have a large part of the population who are afraid of "robots" taking jobs away from humans, therefore making it harder to find jobs.

Things that should be considered:

1. For practical use, at least arms/hands must be similar to humans to allow use of our tools, as otherwise you would need to retool your factories.

2. A lot of robots are used in areas that would be considered dangerous for humans. I am sure that if a robot is used to destroy a bomb, and it itself is destroyed, this is much better then a father, brother, sister, mother or child being destroyed.

3. Wide stream use of robots eventually could result in a utopian society where humans do not need to do any work they do not want to do, and everything can be provided. The one thing that could prevent this is our obsession with accumulation of material wealth.

4. If you are worried about jobs, someone to fix the robots or invent new ones will allways be needed. In most fields they call this job training. There is actually a well known story of a factory worker who was replaced by a non humaniform robot, initially was despondent about losing his job, got further training and not long after found himself servicing the robot, at a higher pay then his original job.

5. There will allways be areas that robots will not be able to function.

There are many non sexual or non ROTM ways that robotics in the future can help and improve our lives, however sex and ROTM are the ways that most people view these things.

Of course, as they say, sex sells and the military is allways willing to buy.

At this time, if we want to admit it or not, we are on the verge of creating our eventual replacements, as manking will eventually evolve or kill itself out.

I welcome our new robotic replacements.

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A Qualified Maybe

"it is now possible to purchase an anatomically correct blow-up sheep"

If that includes the smell and the dangerously kicking hind legs, you can forget it.

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J 3
Coat

We-vibe?

Sounds like some type of accessory for a certain popular Nintendo console(r)...

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J 3
Coffee/keyboard

Durex?

Funny (or not), but that word is used in Brazil for regular office tape -- it probably used to be a brand name at some point in the distant past (the 80s, maybe?), and became a common noun. Now to hear it was the name of something entirely different in other countries makes me chuckle retroactively at the types of people I've heard, in my yuff days, saying "pass the durex"...

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Silver badge
Happy

It is here too

The use of "Durex" (or Diurex, as pronounced in Spanish) for referring to adhesive tape is also common over here. Yes, in fact I think that "Durex" the condom manufacturer was also the same "Durex" the tape manufacturer; thus we have the same brand for different, err.... uses.

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Anyone remember...

the Jasper Carrot sketch where he refers to an aussie going to a stationers and asking for a rollof Durex? Amusing at the time...

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FAIL

AC for obvious reasons

I used to be a member of bondage.com : a "lifestyle" portal style site catering to BDSM. It was somewhere I went as a country boy to feel admist others of my varyingly degenerate creed. It was a good place. over the last ten years, both it, and its competitors have become more and more mainstreamed as BDSM becomes more and more 'trendy' in the marketplace.

Genuinely non-normal people were marginalised for an influx of casual users talking about sex and furry handcuffs, and as a community we split over whether or not this would be beneficial to varying legal problems we all had, and while we argued and goofed off, something a little more sinister was happening : we were leaving, Most-extreme-groups first.

Our portal site started refusing photographs of our exploits : Whilst hosting adult and X-rated pictures is apparently ok, hosting pictures of 'violent content' suddenly became not ok You think a hand on your throat is hot? you're no longer welcome to post or discuss that. nevermind the bruises on your ass, or talking about your piercings. The vast majority of users that favoured the more exoctic depravities in the bedroom became marginalised groups. The influx of mainstream users further made certain fringe groups unwelcome : heavy latex fetishim, infantilism, people into role-play-rape, etc were publically mocked and derided on forums, and the undercurrent of unwelcome feeling came from site ownership : we were banned from discussing rape, violence, and a slew of other topics that cluster around BDSM.

Whilst this is happening, we see the rise of nannyism and intrusive moderation against the breadth of sexual rights in the UK : you can be as sexy as you want, unless its kinky, in which case we'll be seizing your computer, have fun!

You can say we're all heading towards a more liberated place, and the more normal populace are : average person X watches more porn with their partner, has more sex toys, probably has a more enlightened outlook on sex and sexuality, but please, dont convince yourself this is a population-wide broadening of views. it isnt. those of us out on the fringe are increasingly threatened, made unwelcome by the sites built to harbour our kind, and as sexual issues become more acceptable to discuss, so we find ourselves mocked more openly in the newspapers.

Average joe is having more fun in the bedroom. Good for average joe. Anyone kinky has battened down the hatches, is vetting their playmates, is worried about losing their job should their predilictions become public knowledge.

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Anonymous Coward

title

Unfortunately that's just the way it goes. I've seen it time and time again with loads of sites (not just BDSM type ones). Those sites are all ran for profit (or creep towards that) so you can't blame them for it. Replacements always pop up to take their place though and it's ever easier to host one yourself.

And if you do do that and want to keep the normals out; just include a logic puzzle as part of your sign up process - they'll never get through it ;)

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Thumb Up

Thanks El Reg

for putting the hard work into this story. Make that IT connection. Thumbs up, cos it feels real good

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Silver badge

Computer porn has been traded as long as there have been modems.

"From the early days of Usenet and IRC"

And Fidonet before that ... and UUCP before that ... and non-Fido BBSes before that ... and FTP before that. Since the advent of "personal computers", I don't think I have ever worked on a single male college student's computer that didn't have porn on it. Female college student's computers started getting porn on them on a regular basis around a decade ago; today (in my experience) it is as ubiquitous as on the boys ... Indeed, a case could be made that it was porn, and not gaming, that drove connectivity. Lawmakers trying to buck this basic instinct are, in effect, demonstrating to the planet that they aren't in touch with their constituencies.

As a side note, why keep a glass dildo in the fridge? Sounds like a good way to spoil the mood ... unless this is propaganda from the above mentioned lawmakers ;-)

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Coat

Chronology

I think your chronology is wrong. UUCP was probably the earliest, certainly a long time before FTP and the general takeup of home computers able to talk to Fidonet et. al.

UUCP over modems was a common communication method back when the modems cost (currency)1000's, and only companies would buy them. The earliest instances of Usenet was UUCP based (UUCPnet?), and worked via emails sent through a connected network of systems mainly using modems. One system would host a group, and would receive posts via email, and distribute them likewise. Everything else evolved from there.

Basic UUCP functionality was include in BTL UNIX Version 7, dated around 1976, although it may have had some support in V6 (I've lost my documentation). It's probably in my coat, wherever that is.

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Silver badge

Re: Chronology.

My first modem was an acoustic coupler ... Dial-up to Stanford's Tymeshare, with a gateway to the ARPANET. From home. I don't know how many boxes of green & white fan-fold paper I got thru' ... Anyone but me remember rejuvenating printer ribbons with WD40? This was ~1974.

FTP was 1971ish, in SysV ... UUCP was a year or so later, if you had connections to BellLabs. Proto-BBSes existed before either (in SillyConValley, at least ...), but didn't really take off until the mid 70s.

Yes, early Usenet ran over UUCP, in 1980ish. Usenet still runs over UUCP, in some places. There were/are email gateways to/from Usenet, but even though email headers & Usenet headers are similar, they are not the same protocol and never were. The name came from USENIX.

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Unhappy

Been there done that... twice :-(

"For those who really do like the idea of simulating sex with a partner who lies there and does nothing."

They make marriage dolls now?

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FAIL

Agreed

"Second Life is a metaverse, not a MMO game."

Agreed. Even after sludging through the rant about how SL truly is a MMO "game," I still agree it's a metaverse and not a game. Calling it a game on the mere basis that you have a user that can "interact" (view and generate content), and can perform actions others can see/read, would make it essentially a graphical BBS. Should we start calling phpBB.net a game? Thought not.

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Black Helicopters

title

Technology is becoming a bigger part of everyone's lives and it is moving fast. Most people seem to like this but those in charge (often old and out of touch types) don't like change and are therefore trying to stop it. Hence the current situation of people wanting to have more fun while the various world governments crack down on said fun.

The next decade I feel will be one of increased censorship to the point where all fantasy or role play is classed as if it was "real" resulting in a large backlash. Protests on the same level as for black, women's and gay right will occur and eventually common sense and progress will prevail.

All the while, technology will keep getting better.

It's certainly going to be interesting.

(anon and choppers for the impending crackdown)

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Paris Hilton

Dogging was about long before the interwebtubes got popular

The word dogging may be a fairly recent term used in the mainstream but lay-by bonking has been around since the invention of the car (actually since the invention of the road no doubt, I bet Dick Terpin was known so both by name and by nature) but anyway.

Going back not quite that far to around 12 years ago, I can tell you now that the lay-bys of the New Forest where crawling with all sorts of wild-life at night! And I'm NOT going anon coward because I can honestly say I was not partaking I just happened to come across the phenomenon as it were! HONEST! ;o)

As for those day-glow Pyrex dildos, They'd probably make quite snazzy glass ornaments!

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Thumb Up

2 words

gisology and teledildonics

Genius

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Boffin

Meanwhile

... Sybian has gone open source. This means we can all roll our own dildoes.

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We don't need monitoring.

If you don't like something don't do it, eat it or look at it. We don't need anyone that thinks they have it all worked out and wants to "help" us. Keep idiots away from technology and monitor what your brats do as it's not my problem to educate your fools.

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Coat

Blow-up sheep

A vending machine in a pub toilet (in Wales, of course) was selling blow-up sheep.

Mines the sheepskin coat.

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