Book Review - How Sex Changed the Internet and the Internet Changed Sex: An Unexpected History by Samantha Cole


Book cover featuring a peach emoji.This book is a rather pleasing wander through two interconnected topics. From the earliest chat rooms (A/S/L?) all the way to haptic-feedback in the Metaverse, this breezes through the way sex has advanced the technology and the resulting impact technology has had on sex.

The book is well illustrated - skirting a fine line between being overly prudish and unnecessarily graphic.

There are diversions into the religious weirdos behind some online dating sites, the original cam-girls, and BBS culture. The scatter-shot approach gives a wide but sometimes shallow look at all the ways the two topics intermingle. There aren't many interviews with the people involved - and it does rather rely on second-hand reporting.

As with a lot of books, only America exists. There are a few scattered mentions of Europe. But, apparently, the Internet didn't change sex for the majority of the world. All the censorship discussion goes via the cultural hegemony.

Weirdly, there's nothing about sexting or about how the Internet has liberated (some) disabled people.

It does point to some other interesting resources, such as the documentary "Losing Lena".

On a separate note - this is a beautifully formatted ebook. I find lots of publishers don't pay much attention to the ways the specific medium works. So it is nice to see some care an attention to images and captions. But, weirdly, the references aren't inline. The reference section links out to https://workman.com/HowSexChangedtheInternet - but that doesn't contain any actual links.

It is a good look through some of the steps (and missteps) which has led us to the Internet we have now.

Verdict
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