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TitleVirtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality
LanguageEnglish
File Size1.4 MB
Total Pages299
Table of Contents
                            PREFACE
1: E-Personality
2: Delusions of Grandeur
3: Narcissism
4: Ordinary Everyday Viciousness
5: Impulsivity
6: Infantile Regression and the Tyranny of the Emoticon
7: Love and Sex Recalibrated
8: The Illusion of Knowledge
9: Internet Addiction
10: The End of Privacy
11: Marking Time, Making Memories
12: Virtualism, or the Art of Being More Real than Real
	ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
	APPENDIX: YOUNG’S INTERNET ADDICTION TEST
	NOTES
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 149

These ads, selected from listings by a straight man, a straight woman, and a
gay man, respectively, and originating in very different locations across the
United States, are hardly unusual. Thousands like them get posted daily on
hundreds of sites, blanketing the entire country. It takes a certain kind of courage
to post a sexually provocative ad, but it can take more courage not to respond. It
requires commitment and self-control that are in short supply in today’s world
not to drown in all this overabundance of sex; not to Google a derivative of the
word “sex” not to log on, for free, to AdultFriendFinder.com, where men and
women can “meet real sex partners tonight” from the site’s repertoire of over
twenty million subscribers. Some sex-based Web sites are even designed to
mouse-trap the visitor, a trick that allows the site to take control of the browser,
making it impossible for the visitor to escape by pressing the back button or
closing the browser window; nothing but a computer reboot can stop the flood of
X-rated pop-ups. Regardless of this malicious feature, however, many people are
already mouse-trapped, and feeling the negative effects of their
online sexual pursuits on their real-life relationships, but unable to break free.

Another effect of the overabundance of Internet sex is to make “dating,”
defined as a series of rendezvous meant to test the romantic waters between two
individuals who share a mutual attraction, a high-rope maneuver that is
becoming more difficult to execute. Getting to know the other person, and
assessing over a few dates the prospects of the match, may now require turning a
blind eye to Web offerings such as these that many find rather tempting. As the
postings illustrate, sex, for some, can be as easy to find as a couple of hastily
exchanged e-mails. Any effort beyond that can start feeling like a waste of time.
Courting someone; impressing that person over a few dinners, maybe with roses,
your witty conversation, sense of humor, or knowledge of the world; perhaps
suffering a bit as you wait in hopes of a bigger reward in the near future—all this
can start feeling like too much work and too much uncertainty and too much
delay in gratification. How to, and why, wait when you can have, off the 400 on
your way home, what you were patiently awaiting to have after the third date?

The cost, then, of the “conflation of delusions” described earlier—one that
manifests itself across sexual orientations, age groups, and genders—is a
skewing of the already tenuous equilibrium between love and sex. For much of
history, love has survived in part through the deliberate control of indiscriminate
sexual activity. Fidelity within the committed couple was understood to be
crucial to the survival of love and to the sustenance that people need to find in a
relationship. Self-discipline, religion, societal pressures, and mores—all joined
together to bolster sexual exclusiveness inside loving relationships. But another

Page 298

*Adapted from K. S. Young, Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction—and a Winning Strategy for Recovery (New York: Wiley, 1998).

Page 299

Table of Contents
PREFACE
1: E-Personality
2: Delusions of Grandeur
3: Narcissism
4: Ordinary Everyday Viciousness
5: Impulsivity
6: Infantile Regression and the Tyranny of the Emoticon
7: Love and Sex Recalibrated
8: The Illusion of Knowledge
9: Internet Addiction
10: The End of Privacy
11: Marking Time, Making Memories
12: Virtualism, or the Art of Being More Real than Real

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
APPENDIX: YOUNG’S INTERNET ADDICTION TEST
NOTES

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