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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Let's talk about sex, cybersex

Linda Hurley recently released her book “A Girl’s Guide to Cybersex”.

Initially I wasn’t interested in the subject.  I’m not exactly a fan of chat rooms and sex sites interest me even less.  Still, Linda recently bought my book KittenDiaries and so one good deed deserved another.

After downloading “A Girl’s Guide to Cybersex” it sat on my iPad for a while unread.  I was busy reading “The Real Katy Lavender” from Erica James and so Linda’s story had to wait a bit as I can’t concentrate on two books at ones.

With Erica James’ story finally finished, it was time to delve into the subject of sex, cybersex.

I was pleasantly surprised by Linda’s wit and originality.  After reading “A Girl’s Guide to Cybersex” I’m not likely to go exploring to sex sites, but for those who have plans to venture in those waters, I can highly recommend to read the book first.

When I interviewed Linda about her book, she had the following to say ….

About Linda

·       How would you describe yourself?

In a word - ordinary. Or, at least what passes for ordinary most of the time.
Depending on the context in which we meet you may encounter a conventional business consultant, a freelance journalist, a liberal tattooed partner of a bearded biker, a proud grandmother of three soon to be four, or an aspiring author of fiction. I am also a feminist, a try hard equestrienne and an unapologetic dog lover.

·       Where do you live and what do you like best about your environment?

I live on a property in a small country town in Australia. It’s about 50 kilometres outside Melbourne and has room for my horse and dogs to stretch their legs. I really enjoy the tranquility and down to earth attitudes of our little town but I also love the fast paced intellectual challenge of working with large companies in the city. Living in the country and having a major city less than an hour away really is the best of both worlds.

·       How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember but it was about 15 years ago I completed a Diploma of Journalism and started sharing what I wrote with a public audience. I had a few articles published around that time but it wasn’t until about five years ago that I discovered the world of online journalism and began to write articles regularly.

·       Can you remember the first article/story you wrote?

Not really, there were many years of writing before I reached the point where my work was accepted for publication. I will never forget when I breached that barrier though and still have the yellowing copies of both my first published article and short story. The article was about a talented young horsewoman hoping to make the Olympic team. The short story was a literary fiction piece exploring the concept of living versus existing.

About Cybersex

·       Where did the idea for Girls Guide to Cybersex come from?

I was writing an article on internet dating when I stumbled across a sex site. I had been struggling to find a fresh angle for my article and when I saw this site a thousand questions jumped into my head; the first being what could women possibly get from a sex site? And just like that I had a new angle.
It turned out to be a fascinating experience revealing a side of human nature that we rarely get to see, but there was way too much information for a single article. I didn’t have an appropriate blog platform to produce a series of articles so I decided to write the ebook.
Formatting the book as a Guide came about after a couple of false starts. Third person narrative felt too impersonal and first person narrative too longwinded. Creating a ‘Guide’ allowed me to express my experiences in a humorous way and at the same time address my original question of what do women want from cybersex and does it deliver.

·       How long did it take to research?

I spent about 130 hours over a period of three months talking to people on three sites and another 20 or so hours researching alternatives and the effects of cybersex.

·       Was this evening research or daytime as well?

In order to see whether the experience differed depending on location it was necessary to spend some time on site when it was evening in each of the time zones across Europe, North America and Australasia. I didn’t find any differences significant enough to rate a mention in the book but it did feel quite bizarre to sit down to breakfast and log on to a sex site.

·       How would you describe the research?  Fun, annoying, scary?

At first I was shocked at what I found but that wore off quite quickly. After that it was fun for a time. Imagine if you will almost unlimited attention then add to that the opportunity to play head games with no consequences. It wasn’t long though before that became old too and it was like any other type of research; a lot of hard slog to find the gems that would be interesting to a wider audience.

·       Any memorable moments?

There were many amusing, some sad and one or two creepy moments. I like to think I have an open mind when it comes to accepting others but even so it was at times a crazy journey that challenged my patience and elicited some unexpected emotions.

·       How is cybersex different for men vs. women (if it is)?

I can’t speak for all women but I believe most forms of cybersex, and sex sites in particular, are specifically designed for men and as such will fall short of many women’s expectations. The Guide includes a chapter on available alternatives for women including the growing phenomenon of by women for women services.

·       How would you say cybersex differs from the real thing?

In my view cybersex and real sex are two completely different activities that just happen to have physical gratification in common. I don’t think that cybersex was created to replace real sex any more than men’s magazines or romance novels were before the internet.
Trying to compare a faux version with the genuine article is never easy. For some people cybersex will be an effective means to an end while for others only the real thing will do.

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