- The following content is based on my understandings based on recommended readings of unit chair to answer seven questions WEEK 7 LECTURE NOTES. I also added more information in relating topic from books and articles, available at Deakin Library.
- What is sexting and what are the main issues involved?
Sexting is sexually enhanced communication involving a mobile phone device. It involves two parties using mobile phones or a communication technology medium like computers and internet connectivity in sharing sexually explicit content in form of sexual-defined text messages, pornographic pictures or pornographic videos. Sexting analogy emerged from two different nouns ‘sex’ and ‘texting’. Whereas sex refers to the act or anything related to sexual activity between two parties and text refers to the exchange of information through a communication device like mobile phones and computers. The term got so much popularity in the 21st century earning it a universal English recognition by the Merriam Webster’s dictionary. Sexting has gained more popularity globally with the advancement of smart phones technology characterized by easy access to internet connectivity (Benotsch et al, 2013, p 307). It is a practice common to romantic partners in serious relationships; however it spills to dating partners not yet accustomed in a serious relationship and partners in serious relationships involvement with outsiders.
The parties involved in sexting are sub-categorized into three main categories.
- Exchange between partners involved in serious romantic relationships like married couples
- Exchange between partners in serious relationships like marriages with outsiders like extra-marital affairs.
- Exchange between dating parties not yet involved intimately
- Which parties are implicated in the issue of sexting (apart from young people) and how might they effectively (and ineffectively) communicate messages about risk to those who might engage in the practice? Sexting amongst partners in serious intimate relationships like marriages is very common positive practice. It is a practice believed to develop and rejuvenate intimacy between two partners through sexual intimacy. Sex is viewed as a medium of conjugal connection between married couples hence it is very important in enhancing a deeper intimate connection between the involved couples. Sexting therefore acts as a medium to keep the sexual desire between partners burning, creating a healthy relationship both in the short run and long run. Sexting practice however between parties involved in serious relationships like marriages and outside parties might lead to sexual misconduct, extra marital affairs (Mitchel et al, 2012, p 13). Extra marital affairs are the leading cause of divorces globally. Exchange of sexual content might encourage physically actual sexual intercourse between those in communication which might destroy serious relationships in the name of extra marital affairs. Sexting also serve to ‘spice up’ dating. Dating is very essential in the formation of every serious relationship. Sexting this case scenario might serve up two contradicting purposes; it might serve to encourage serious relationship desires or it might serve to encourage infatuations.
- What activities classify as ‘online sex’ in the present day? What constitutes ‘just flirting’? Are there any ‘grey areas’ that are difficult to categorise? Why? How might the rise of Virtual (and Augmented) Reality transform this issue even further? Sexting encourages what is referred to as online sex. Online sex or cybersex involves the use of a virtual medium like computers and internet to connect remotely and share sexual fantasies through sending explicit sexual content inform of messages or images. The advancement of cheap and easily accessible video-call technology is responsible for encouraging online sex. Skype is a good example of a free, easily accessible video call, computer application that connects two parties on a virtual online platform (Weisskrirch & Delevi, 2011, p.1697). The parties involved in online then easily and effortlessly exchange sexual content like sharing nude photos through such computer and smartphones applications like Skype. Online sex has however the altered the perception of normal flirting. Flirting in its original form entails mildly portraying sexual attraction between two parties while online sex or sexting is portraying sexual attraction explicitly with all manner of sexual fantasies and imagery. The grey area between flirting and sexting is a large one making it difficult for works of literature to clearly define the difference between the two analogies given both practices involves exchange of sexual intent and content.
- Do you agree with DeMasi’s (2011, p. 213) contention that ‘internet dating strengthens rather than expands the boundaries of the categories through which people imagine their intimate relationships and, therefore, limits ideas about alternative forms they might take’? In other words, has digital screen culture allowed the expression of more diverse forms of gender and sexuality, or has it continued to reinforce the same dominant gender/sexual categories? Advancement of digital screen culture through the popularization of smart phone technology and internet connectivity has led to diverse forms of sexuality and gender. The 21st century is characterized by all manner of gender and sexuality provocations. Mainstream movie and entertainment are massively influencing the masses on diverse sexuality traits. The result of this has given rise to homosexual relationships, traditionally rejected in the reserved society. The advancement of virtual mediums like social media sites is responsible for encouraging all manner of sexual fantasies like pornography, child pornography and same-sex sexual intimacy just to name a few (Benotsch et al, 2013, p.308). The world is becoming a global village due to exchange of information on a singular platform, meaning the entire world can access sexual content and ideologies posted on social media sites, in the process end up influencing the masses either positively or negatively. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and queer is the result of digital screen culture where the masses are able to share the images portraying these traits to the masses. The number of gays and lesbians is continually rising due to the homosexual graphic content and ideologies available on the internet for instance attracting same sex desires from like-minded individuals.
- What key issues and questions arise in the use(s) of digital media in relation to pornography? Think about themes of pleasure, education, sexism, violence, rape, child sexualisation, commercialisation, and so on. Digital media is a sensitive topic as far as pornography is involved. Digital media is easily perceived as an arena for all manner of sexual content. This based on the unlimited, unmonitored and uncensored capability of the digital media platforms like internet and smart phones applications (Droiun & Landgraff, 2012, p.444). Commercialization of sexuality in commercials for companies around the world is rampant in propagating sexual ideologies. The LGBT for instance is likely to finance a commercial laced with lesbian attributes to subliminally spread lesbianism ideology to the masses.
- What usefulness do you see in the establishment of the category of ‘alt porn’? ‘Alt porn’ stands for alternative pornography. Alt porn as the name suggests is an alternative to mainstream pornography that adopts a softer and ‘more positive’ perception to pornography. It involves a print medium with the use of actual models embroidery to portray pornographic themes. The models involved are decorated with piercings, tattoos and hair dyes and pose semi-naked for pornographic purposes. The pictures or print are posted on selected websites for the public to access. Alt porn is often referred to as soft-core pornography. In other words, alt porn is a combination of pornography with art (Cooper, 2013, n p). It encourages the appreciation of a nude woman’s body in addition to serving the sexual desire associated with the woman’s body as opposed to mainstream pornography associated with demeaning the woman’s body through compromising sexual acts. Majority of mainstream hard pornography addicts attest to the fact that it influenced them to demean women based on the positions and role women play in the pornography subscription. Alt porn appears to have a corrective intent on how the society and world at large views mainstream pornography characterized by all manner of wrong morals.
- In what ways do the topics of cybersex, online dating, and pornography intersect with themes of surveillance and gamification? Online dating and cybersex encourages surveillance between the dating parties or partners involved in a relationship. Dating sites and social media sites encourage countless surveillance by interested parties (Benotsch et al, 2013, p 307). A wife is more than likely to ‘track her husband’s activity on his social media profile for purposes surveillance of any possible instance of misconduct or infidelity. The society is intrigued by the idea of researching about their respective potential partners while dating to pre-acquire information pertaining to the potential partners past. Surveillance is unhealthy for nurturing relationships.
Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you all have a wonderful week.
Thi Bao Chau Tran
Benotsch, E.G., Snipes, D.J., Martin, A.M. and Bull, S.S., 2013. Sexting, substance use, and sexual risk behavior in young adults. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(3), pp.307-313.
Cooper, A. ed., 2013. Cybersex: The dark side of the force: A special issue of the Journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsion. Routledge.
Mitchell, K.J., Finkelhor, D., Jones, L.M. and Wolak, J., 2012. Prevalence and characteristics of youth sexting: A national study. Pediatrics, 129(1), pp.13-20.
Weisskirch, R.S. and Delevi, R., 2011. “Sexting” and adult romantic attachment. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(5), pp.1697-1701.
Drouin, M. and Landgraff, C., 2012. Texting, sexting, and attachment in college students’ romantic relationships. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(2), pp.444-449.