This piece was first published in a local Toronto mag called Celebrasian (circa 1998). Celebrasian was the community mag for a group called Gay Asians of Toronto. An acquaintance, Jimm Tran, took it on as a volunteer project and asked for my assistance. After a falling out with GAT Jimm and I went on to found DRAGUN magazine.
The article was also republished by the now defunct CODECODE the NYU website exploring the advent of the internet and relationships (circa 1998).
Confessions of a Cyberslut!
by Joshua Kreig
It's 3:27am. Friday. I am trying to get off. Offline. I've been chatting with some guy from Australia in cyberspace for an hour. I yawn. He is typing nothing to get my blood pumping or anything else for that matter. I had my hand in mind. I thought I was beyond seeking out sex, or in reality -- intimacy, on the net. This is a remarkable achievement, for I am one of those people who thought he would never go to a bathhouse or a porn theatre: and has since gone to both. Now a cyber-whore.
I am considered easy on the eyes by many. I have been in a few relationships with men who are even easier on the eyes. My real-time sex life is satisfying; I enjoy a man's body regularly. But yet I find myself irresistibly drawn to anonymous sexual exploits. Something tells me I should be above and beyond such base desires.
In true St. Augustine fashion I must confess. I engage in cyber-sex. At one time a lot. I enjoy the challenge of seduction. Though there are many projects I should be working on; channelling my libidinal energy towards more fecund endeavours... it is 3:27am, Friday and I'm trying to get off. It is easy. It strokes the ego.
Sexual release is a drug. Safe, easy, ego drug. Hmmmm. That is enough of a sociological, physiological, and psychological reason to explain my behaviour. No wonder I am having so much trouble getting that screenplay on paper. The little head has a much more direct and powerful line of thinking for its actions. The big head gladly surrenders its lofty erudite ambitions for a share of concupiscence.
I can even rationalise it as a writer. It is an act of the creative muse. I have been doing it for so long now that I approach it as a challenge; to have a different sexual exchange with each person I encounter. I have become quite proficient at describing sex acts. I have even tried a few activities I would never contemplate with a corporeal partner, water sports for starters.
And who needs a condom in the virtual bathhouse. It can be as raw and as nasty as one may wish. Cyberspace has become the largest purveyor of safe sex. Yes, viruses do abound and are sometimes passed on maliciously, but cures are created contiguously. The relieving of computer ills ranks higher than that four-letter acronymic health crisis and many others to boot. Though I run the risk of catching something from a cyber tramp, I will always walk away, sexually relieved and healthy, at least physically.
The debate rages on as to whether the super highway has/is causing us to be supra alienated from one another. Like all good questions, the answer is both yes and no. For gay men, there are a few extra nods on the yea side.
I believe that the Internet has been a godsend for the gay community. On many occasions, I chat with young gay men in their late teens and early twenties, from all over the world, who have no gay outlet, except the Internet. The Internet is their sole avenue of homosexual expression. It is the first meeting place for many gay men as they search for meaning to their sexual identity. The Internet is allowing them to not be isolated with their feelings. Millions of ones and zeroes screaming out for attention. Lonely voices tapping out at 33.6kbps, searching for another to confirm they are not alone.
I remember growing up as a teen, long before computers, and feeling I was the only gay person in the world. I was very alone and had not a soul with whom to share my quest. Today, gay men around the world are able to reach out to each other and say, "Hi, you are not alone! I am here!" That is AWESOME!
Though the hunger is temporarily satiated, in the end the appetite still yearns. Therein lies the cyber shortfall. I believe long-term Internet relationships cannot work. They cannot work because they leave us wanting! They do not match our ideas and traditional assumptions of what relationships should be. We can blame bad theological interpretations of the Letters of St. Paul for this.
We are taught from a young age that we consist of a body and a soul, or spirit. These two parts are linked together by the act of conception and birth. Even though most people put a greater emphasis on the spirit, placing it superior to the body, such is not really the case. The body and spirit are in a synergistic relationship. Kinda like you can't have one without the other and one plus one equals three.
It is through the five senses of the body that our spirit grows to understand what life is all about. It is our unique ability to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch that lends the spirit its life and meaning. They are intertwined. In the end, all our experiences in life have to be the body feeding the spirit. The more senses involved in the experience, the stronger the experience, and thus more fulfilling for the spirit and hence the total person.
Now the Internet. When communicating with others, it is a very limited experience on the sense level. We have not been trained to accept anything but a full sense experience of people. As time goes on, we may accept that we will have relationships with people with whom we will never share physical touch. We are nowhere near that time.
This is evident by the fact we want to know what a person looks like, sounds like. We exchange pictures and .wav files. I am not saying we cannot have relationships over the Internet. I am saying there are limits as to where they can go and what we should expect. There is a man I have been chatting with in Singapore. I know what he looks like and sounds like; I've chatted with him on the phone. I was supposed to go visit him recently but that got cancelled. I was rather disappointed. I was hoping by being with him, our relationship would become stronger and better... or maybe even end... those are the risks of full sense experiences. We finally did hook up here in Toronto and discovered we are good friends and not the material of lovers.
We are a physical species. In the end we want to hold people and be held by people. And as far as a lover goes, IBM is kind of non-responsive. The Internet will never replace staring across a room and making eye contact with the cutest boy, holding hands in the dark, or that first passionate kiss with someone new.
In the end, I think the Internet is a great thing, a great place for relationships to form, but we either have to lower our expectations as to what the end of that relationship will be or our understanding of what exactly a relationship is. I think it is impossible to have a lover on the Internet. Sharing one's mind and thoughts is great, but with a lover we want to share our body as well. The Internet may introduce people and begin a relationship, but it will always have to end in a physical consummation (soon) or it will remain a friendship or a heart yearning. Not a bad thing but a limit.
Who knows, the advent of cyber worlds and virtual realities may increase the senses we feel, but that again will be a brave new world with its own expectations and limits.
See you online!!!