Digital Sexualities: Section Introduction

Authored by: Catherine J. Nash , Andrew Gorman-Murray

The Routledge Research Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472455482
eBook ISBN: 9781315613000
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043331


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New technologies, including the internet, new media and mobile apps, appear to be fomenting a new ‘sexual revolution’, one that is rewriting how we understand what our bodies can ‘do’ and how we comprehend ourselves as sexual beings. 1 1

The term ‘new technologies’ encompasses a broad range of information and communication technologies (ICTs) overland in the digital age. These include the internet and Web 2.0, ICTs, digital media, new media, location-based services (LBS), social networking applications and locative mobile social networks (LMSN).

In fact, at this historical juncture, it would not be an overstatement to argue that we are in ‘the midst of a technologically mediated reorganization of the social relations of sexuality’ (Garlick 2011, p. 223; see also Bargh and McKenna, 2004; Lasén, 2005). As Chris Brickell (2012, p. 28) suggests, the ‘internet is an important enabler and mediator of sexual relations in society’, the depth and breadth of which we are just beginning to explore. Not surprisingly, these technologically mediated transformations in sex and sexualities are not without their proponents and detractors. Various factions in both popular media and academic research paint the internet as a place of danger, deviancy and untenable risk, where access to sexual materials, partners and knowledges are wreaking havoc on sociosexual relations (see Cooper et al., 2000; Griffiths, 2001; Grov et al., 2008). For others, cyberspace offers a place of liberation, celebration and triumph as human beings are untangled from outmoded constraints on their honest explorations and experimentations of what it means to be a sexual being (see Chiou, 2006; Kendall, 2000, 2002; Turkle, 1999).

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