2 min

Virtual pervert

Online SM no substitute for real thing

Credit: a West files

She sent me a flirtatious e-mail. She said she was local, a bottom, and interested, so I did what almost any red-blooded polyamorous leatherdyke would do. I met her for coffee.

“Tell me about yourself?” I asked, over steaming cups of mocha.

“I have a lot of experience, but only with my ex-owner, who lives in Florida. We did really intense 24/7 dominance/submission, and some light SM for three years,” she said.

“Florida?” I asked. “When did you move here?”

“Move here? I’ve lived here all my life.”

“Oh! I’m sorry! You were having a long distance relationship. How often did you travel to see each other?”

She blinked at me: the slow blink that signalled I’d just said something foolish. “We’d always talked about visiting, but it never quite happened…”

It was my turn to blink. Then a metaphorical peanut bulb went on over my head.

This woman had never had a BDSM-related encounter up close and in the flesh. She was a virtual pervert; an “e-leatherdyke”. Although she was claiming years of kinky experience, I could only consider her a novice-just as I wouldn’t assume a Mortal Kombat player to be a real-life jiu-jitsu black belt.

Online chat can be community building, and a great way to spend free time. For the geographically remote, it can be an important lifeline to other queer perverts like ourselves-a hard thing to find in small towns. If we’re shopping for a play partner, reading their public opinions might be a good start, if it turns out that their private opinions match up.

And on-line sex talk and play? Certainly. It’s good, clean fun, can be very mentally stimulating, and saves on long-distance bills, when your favourite erotic morsel doesn’t share your area code.

But here’s the thing we can be fooled into forgetting: If we are doing it only on-line, we are not having sex; we are typing. (If ambidextrous, we may be masturbating and typing, but we are still not having sex.) We can’t submit to or dominate someone’s text-even their colourized 18-point text. A set of smiley and frowny graphics does not replace our play partner’s in-person range of emotions. And Ctrl-Alt-Delete, while handy, does not replace our safeword, and our trust in our play partners.

The internet has enormous potential as a tool for human flirtation and communication-not interaction. And if we are doing every single bit of our kinky play while pressed against the glass of our computer screens, we’re only window shopping for perversion. Let’s not cheat ourselves by assuming that’s all there is to SM.

* Elaine Miller spends too much time at her computer.