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DeLamater & HasdayPage 34

another.  There has also been hope that online matching would encourage “deeper” interpersonal connections based on ideas, feelings, beliefs, and other fundamental aspects of individual character by mitigating the role of appearance (Jedlicka, 1981), although the realization of this hope must be called into question with the proliferation of pictures on dating sites.

While dating relationships are one forum for sexuality that has been affected by computers, sex outside the confines of a relationship (i.e. casual sex) has also been significantly affected. Internet chat rooms and message boards have provided a new (and immediate) way for those interested in casual sex to locate one another. The Internet has also made possible (one could even say created) the new sexual practice of cybersex. These uses of the Internet in mediating sexuality and facilitating sexual communication and interaction, however, are more controversial than dating services. In a sample of 10 to 17 year old regular Internet users, Finkelhor et al. (2000) discovered that approximately 20 percent had been sexually solicited over the Internet in the past year. The Internet has also been shown to be one way people establish and maintain extramarital sexual relationships (Hyde and DeLamater, 2006: 300).


Finally, a discussion of the role of media in the social dimension of sexuality cannot responsibly omit the highly charged and controversial topic of pornography. The majority of research that has been done on the effects of pornography use is experimental as opposed to sociological, probably owing both to the suitability of experiments for exploring causality and the lack of reliable and representative data on pornography use with which to conduct statistical analysis. Thus, sociological inquiry has focused predominately on the content of pornographic material. With the recent proliferation of Internet and computer use, sociologists have begun examining the role of changing media technologies in patterns of pornography access and use. The Internet

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