A history of the horny side of the internet

A minimal line drawing depicts an enormous pink butt, with a cursor clicking and lightly dimpling the right buttock.
Vincent Kilbride / The Verge

From the very beginning, people on the internet have been obsessed with sex.

That’s the argument laid out in a new book by journalist Samantha Cole, How Sex Changed the Internet and the Internet Changed Sex. Cole digs through early internet history to show how sexual content and communities were part of the internet from its earliest days and had a profound effect on how the online space deals with identity, community, and consent. From identity play on early bulletin board sites to the rise of online pornography as an industry unto itself, Cole makes the case that you can’t make sense of the internet without sex — even if today’s major platform companies would like to.

Content note: This interview describes multiple sexual practices in…

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Author: Russell Brandom