Recorded cybersex chat
“I do remember someone once telling me he wanted me to shove marshmallows up by butt while I touched myself,” she told me in a follow-up email, “and I felt a little bit confused about whether this was ‘normal’ or not.” Eventually, though, curiosity would take hold, and those who had started venturing into chatrooms playfully started ducking in in earnest—and alone.
“I know everyone talks about how they did that with their friends and lol it was so funny, but like, I was kind of turned on by it,” Amy*, a freelance writer who was 12 years old when she first started going into AOL chatrooms, told me.
“This was a way to have a brand new sexual experience without having to take the same risks you took in a real meeting.” Unlike phone sex or late nights in bars, meeting someone in an AOL chatroom for a little at-work afternoon delight was essentially free, or at least the price of a dial-up Internet connection.
And for those who were too nervous to put themselves out there in real life, cybersex was a conduit for experiencing the pulse-racing high of anonymous sex.
Even if someone didn’t believe that you were, say, Stone Cold Steve Austin or Mandy Moore, it almost didn’t matter; you might have been lying, and your partner likely knew you were lying, but because he or she was probably lying too, no one seemed to care.Most teens of the early AOL chatroom era, or the mid-to-late-1990s, experimented with cybersex or had their sexual initiations online, in chatrooms with names like “Bored housewives over 30” or “Naughty wellhung surfer boys 18 .” In 1996, AOL had 5 million subscribers; by 2002, it had 25 million and was the biggest dial-up service in the country.