The Internet and The Development of Sexual Identity

chicago17's picture

Clearly the internet has dramatically changed people's ability to explore and discuss their sexuality. I've found that the internet provides a place where anonymity allows for greater expression, and vast resources allow for greater self-awareness and a better informed society. How has the internet affected your sexual identity and its development? How has it affected those you know, both gay and straight? I would appreciate any comments.

JB's picture

alot

It actuallyhelped me alot, I first came out in 1997, just when the Nte was really staring to take off. It did help alot, alot of resources and things availible for me to see, to realize that there were others out there like me. the caht rooms helped aswell. The Local IRC channels helped me meet other people in my area who are similar to me.

all ina ll I would say the Internet did help me greatly in coming out and finding my place. and I suspect it will continue to do so aswell for many young queers around the world who have acess to the internet.

JB
Vice President and Drug Tsar of The Movement To Free Ommpa loompa Land From The Tyrannical Rule Of The Evil Capitalsitic Despot Willy Wonka And Associates

adrian's picture

i also

came out in 97 .. and i was out on the net for about 2 years before
I actually came out IRL.

I only found irc years after I had come out , but icq and Oasis kept me sane (i have been reading oasis since ~98.) .. now i am out of the closet everywhere..

but the internet was definately an aiding force.

Jillie's picture

97! Just like Ellen!

I remember seeing an ad for gurl.com, showing several of the insecure questions girls ask themselves. One of them was: "I have a crush on a girl...am I bi?". That started my gay internet revolution, where I realized quite a few things about myself, without the possibility of telling people I know or revealing my identity. I'm out of the closet as a fully-fledged lesbian to myself, my family, and a couple of friends. Still concealing it from the rest of the school, but hey, I've accepted myself. So the internet has been essential in my discovering my sexuality, and feeling like part of the gay community, and judging from the membership numbers on gay youth sites, it has helped others as well.

ebonyquill's picture

It's helped me.

Since I found Oasis, I've been much more comfortable with my sexuality. Being able to talk to other queers frequently without worrying about someone I know find out is very helpful to me.

el's picture

everything gay about me came from the net

i knew something was wrong when i started surfing for gay porn. i guess it was my subconscious sending me a msg. pretty straight-forward too, saved me years of therapy.

of course also helped me accept myself, gave me reassurance that there are ppl like me out there.......then again, there seem so many of us in the virtual world but you can hardly pick one from the street....nonetheless, it helped.

and then there's the slash, gave me hope on finding someone for myself though that's yet to happen. it also gave me an insight on gay life.

basically, i would have been lost if not for the net.

chicago17's picture

anybody use the internet to start a meaningful relationship?

Would you say that there is a significant difference between gay culture on the internet and gay culture in society? If so, how are they being reconciled?

It sounds like it's easier to meet other gay people on the internet, but in a less meaningful way. I guess what I'm saying is there seems to be a stigma attached to starting meaningful relationships through the internet. Do you find that to be the case?

adbak's picture

More than just gays...

I think the Net has helped any and all kinds of minorities, be it sexual or otherwise.

It has certainly helped me. It anchored me to the ground, to my sexuality. Not to mention it allowed me to find some Ani DiFranco.

DiamondDog's picture

Immensely...

The internet is communication. You can talk to all people from anywhere without leaving your home. I wouldn't say it's the anonymity that helps develop sexuality, but the fact you can travel everywhere.

Let's see...4-5 years back I was at the Dr. Drew boards when they were good. The LGBT board was the place to be...I remember Scully...and Richard. I was eventually on the sex panel. My screen name there was diamonddog too. I'm quite the Bowie fan, always have been.

I started surfing for Bowie stuff in junior high. And because it was Bowie, I ran into gay material. It was part of my coming out process. Dr. Drew started to go downhill then I found this place. I had a different name...I forget what...something Bowie though...

Then I left for awhile. Not too much internet. Then I refound Oasis, revived the ol' name and here I am working to bring down both heterosexism and the Wonka corporate scheme.

Anonymity does play a part though. In the real world, it's hard to just announce you're gay until you've started coming out. Online, it's just a matter of doing it with a cool font.

I must say, this community has been great and has been a great sense of humor and support for me from the time I merely read what others said, to when I shyly posted, to when I stopped posting shyly and had fun myself.

*Achoo*

TheSoko's picture

Ditto

Honestly, it took me a couple weeks before I realized that I prefered the scantily clad men over the scantily clad women... ;)

adrian's picture

scantily dressed...

i think youre not doing _something_ right

RoaG's picture

TGFTI

Thank God for the Internet.

I seriously have no clue where I'd be right now without it... Well actually, I think I've almost relied on the net too much and, well, staying in my shell isn't exactly healthy either, but it's definitely helped shape this entire process for me.

Scruffy the Vampire Slayer's picture

net and exploring sexuality

there is no all good about the net or all bad about it. I think this and Because I am (http://www.genuinejeff.com ) have really started to make break down alot of walls on the net withing the last month. I think the net can have a negative in terms of sex addiction etc. but it's also a great resource.
"The hardest thing in this world is to live in it" Buffy- The Gift