Originally written by Isabelle Pavlova for mmorgy.com

Reaching way back into the MUD/MUCK archive (and proving how incredibly far ahead of us graphics whores the text people are), we find a thesis called Texuality in Cyberspace. This paper from 1994 covers the many types of social interaction and influence that can happen in virtual worlds, including sex in cyberspace.

We've included the sex portion of the paper in the extended part of this entry, just in case the link to the refering page goes defunct.

Taken from MUDs and Written Experience: A Thesis on Textuality in Cyberspace, Jeffrey R. Young, 1994


    Perhaps most curious to outsiders (and greatest cause of
    criticism of these new cybercommunities) is the phenomena of
    MUDsex: high-speed two-way erotica typing, which sometimes
    involves masturbation. Those hoping to do some info-highway
    rubbernecking on MUD will certainly be disappointed -- believe
    it or not, players on MUDs are, for the most part, discreet in
    their online heavy petting. MUDs provide private areas where
    characters can close the door and turn off the virtual lights,
    and it is in the virtual back rooms and bedrooms that NetSex
    occurs. What do couples get out of this highly emotional
    activity when it's filtered through cyberspace?

    The easiest comparison to NetSex is phone sex, but this
    comparison may be unfortunate. If a player were hooked into
    MUDs just for NetSex, then this link would be appropriate, but
    most people who take the time to learn the MUD programming
    languages and design their character are interested in more
    than a one-night stand. Picking up the phone and dialing a sex
    line invests no commitment, whereas the hours of learning
    required just to be fluent enough in the MUD system to have
    NetSex (much less find someone to have it with) makes the
    event more significant. As communities that are often looking
    for a self-respecting communal identity, MUDs try to resist
    being characterized as online whorehouses. Marshdarter
    (author's character) mentioned a recent Wired magazine article
    about MUDs (which focused heavily on NetSex) to one character
    and met a disgruntled reply: Leticia murmurs, "THAT article
    again. :("Leticia murmurs, "THAT article, if you noticed, had
    two descriptionss, and about a paragraph (rather biased) about
    Furry.. the rest about LambdaMOO, but they decided to portray
    Furry as a den of iniquity.."

    People on MUDs don't walk up and proposition you with NetSex.
    The event generally occurs between characters who have first
    'talked' and interacted over a period of time. Once NetSex is
    considered in relation to real life sex, it is interesting to
    note the implications of online intercourse.

    Participants in NetSex maintain a strict physical and
    emotional distance while still enjoying what can be a
    fulfilling exchange between two people. With all the fears our
    society associates with casual sex (pregnancy, disease, etc.),
    NetSex provides a safe opportunity for sexual play. In fact it
    is possible that MUDs provide an outlet for those who are shy
    in real life to be more aggressive sexually. Just as MORE
    OPINIONS ARE OFFERED on the Net than in real life, some MUDers
    are more open in their affections. So much so that the amount
    of sexual innuendo and flirtation becomes notable to other
    players. Diadalos says, "has there ever been two minutes on
    this thing where there hasn't been the mention of sex... do
    you guys conduct yourself like this in RL?" The answer clearly
    is no. These players use the semi-anonymous medium of MUDs to
    explore aspects of self and expression they would not
    ordinarily venture in face-to-face exchanges.