Typing, doing, and being: sexuality and the internet

J Sex Res. 2005 Nov;42(4):342-52. doi: 10.1080/00224490509552290.


The increasing salience of sexuality on the internet, whether cybersex or use of the internet to make sexual contacts, has focused interest on how internet-mediated sexuality informs social theory. This article reviews social theory and sexuality in relation to the internet, with specific reference to the development of intimacy, the association of texts with sexual scripts, the emergence of cybersexuality as a sexual space midway between fantasy and action, and the question of boundaries and the location of the person in sexual interaction. Also, the supplanting of the real by the symbolic, the internet as a sexual marketplace, its important role in creating sexual communities, particularly where sexual behavior or identity is stigmatized, its impact as a new arena for sexual experience and experimentation, and its impact in shaping sexual culture and sexuality are noted. Finally, the importance of the internet as a medium for the exploration of human sexuality and as an opportunity to illuminate previously challenging areas of sexual research is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Fantasy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Loneliness / psychology
  • Male
  • Masturbation / psychology
  • Paraphilic Disorders / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexuality*
  • Social Marketing
  • Social Values
  • Symbolism
  • Trust
  • Young Adult