On chatrooms

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

You don’t need pictures to get horny. When both I and the internet were young, I was a big fan of chatrooms. A chatroom, in case you’re too young to have ever needed them, is a place you can go on the internet to talk to complete strangers. You just log in, pick a generic name, and join in the discussion. Like Menshn, yeah?

I haven’t been in a chatroom for years, but when I was young (14, 15 ish) I thought they were the best thing about the internet. I’d log onto the main room, chat to people for a while (always with a name that made it clear I was a girl, but perhaps did not make it clear quite how young I was) and wait for the private chat boxes to pop up.

wanna cyber?

I was just old enough to know what ‘cybering’ was, and just young enough to think the very idea hilarious.

no, I don’t wanna cyber, but what’s ur name?

[For some reason I believed that correct use of spelling and grammar would see me hurled from the internet]

Short chats with lonely guys turned into longer ones. Some just wanted to talk, some wanted to do sexy chat, most of them were keen to know exactly what I looked like. I spent a fair bit of time listening to their woes, some time trying to describe – in explicit detail – nicely developed pairs of tits that definitely weren’t mine. But it was fun. You could log on, reach out, and within minutes be surrounded by words from horny guys, lonely guys, guys who wanted nothing more than to talk to you.

At the time I thought it was the best way to get off – kids these days won’t understand, but in the competition between jpegs of celebrity nipple-slips that loaded line-by-line over a shitty dial-up connection and chat rooms where perviness was almost instantly guaranteed, there was no contest.

Besides – I was talking to real men! Actual men! The joy of teenaged discovery doesn’t come better than knowing that even though you can’t get a boyfriend at school, there are thousands of men on the internet willing to pretend to be a half-hearted version of one for twenty minutes or so.

But naturally there has to be a moral to this story, because as an adult I look back on my teenaged self prickteasing horny guys in chatrooms, and I think: well, you were a fucking arsehole, weren’t you? Moreover, at no point do I want kids to read this blog and think that fucking about in chatrooms is anything more than a dangerous waste of time.

So here goes.

One day I gave a man my phone number. See? I was an idiot as well as an arsehole.

He seemed nice, though. I was young and stupid, and I thought I was in line for a 17 year old boyfriend. 17! Practically a grown-up! And he seemed… well … quite sweet. He wasn’t scarily pervy, just a lonely guy with a modem and some time on his hands.

When I turned off the internet (that’s right, kids, back in the day one had to do that) the phone rang straight away. My Mum asked why someone was calling this late at night, and I pretended I knew him.

She left me alone and I spoke to him. And it was at this point that I got a bit scared. Because despite my horny teenaged chatting, and my confidence that no guy could hurt me, I suddenly came to the terrifying realisation that this guy had actually phoned me. He’d called my bluff. And if he wanted to he could call me again, at any time, even if I told him to sod off.

As it turns out, there was no need to be scared – this guy was perfectly nice, and realised within about 10 minutes of our phonecall that I was not, as I had stated in my username, 19, but closer to 13. He said goodbye and hung up.

There are two morals here: number one – don’t give your fucking phone number to men you meet in chatrooms, because they will probably use it to call you. Most people know this, I didn’t.

Moral number two – teenagers will find porn on the internet no matter how and where you hide it. If it weren’t chatrooms it’d be pictures, or erotic words, or sexual health websites with stark and unerotic pictures of male genitals.

As an adult, porn usually consists of a high-quality video of two people going at it hammer and tongs, or six people lustily writhing together in a bucket of something that resembles lube or mucus. As a teenager, porn can be anything – when I was a teenager I would become aroused reading a certain section of the (kid’s book) Heidi, because there’s a moment when she gets spanked by her schoolteacher. Absent any other porn, I could probably crack one off looking at erotic book covers on Amazon.com. And I could certainly – certainly – find somewhere on the internet to hook up with lonely, horny guys.

Kids will find porn. There’s no reason we should make it easy for them, but we’ll never stop them finding it. The scamps.


  • DB says:

    On the other hand, my idiot 14-year-old self traded phone numbers with a girl I’d been chatting to online (we met on Napster, no less). After nervously calling her up, and a minute or two of us both going “Eek, you’re actually real!” for a bit, she rather sweetly asked,

    “Would you like me to masturbate for you?”

    …Up until that moment I could not have imagined that a phrase other than “YOU MUST BE 18 TO ENTER THIS SITE” could bring me so much joy.

    • Girl on the net says:

      NAPSTER! Jesus, I am now all excited about the past. Although I have to say, I got more thoroughly into the internet when I had a fat University connection and had been introduced to Limewire.

      Also masturbation, etc is good =)

  • Thane Flynn says:

    Thanks for the trip down nostalgia lane! Although I was a good bit older than you, I too got my introduction to the net during the days of dial up and chatrooms, the classic AOL ones to be specific. It was an interesting time and I actually still have some rather nice memories from those days. Of course with the technological advances since then like Skype, it is possible now to have some even more intense Internet interactions but in a real sense, I think the fantasy aspect of those simpler times is something you just can’t duplicate today. Thanks for another interesting read.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Interesting point. The kids today miss out on the simple joys, such as engaging in innuendo-laden chat with strangers over a dodgy connection. Also, I always wonder if – now that the internet is the primary place to find porn – people still leave porn mags in bushes and parks. My youth would have been very different without this glossy, illicit print media.

  • Many IRC networks are still active, and some (such as irc.sexnet.org and irc.bondage.com) are dedicated entirely to sex chat, although that doesn’t necessarily dictate that cybersex happens there all the time.

    I have my own experiences of using IRC for sex. In fact, throughout university, I spent a lot of time in sex chatrooms, forging a lot of lasting friendships with the people there (even if there was no guarantee that any of them were genuine – I liked their personalities). Sometimes I even had cybersex, although really not as often as you may think. I preferred, to a larger extent, the social side – my chance to be a little (okay, more than a little) sarcastic and get positive results (or whatever a “lol” counts for these days), particularly in the public channels.

    I think that sex chatting is a difficult thing to do, in many cases, because there’s a lot of suspension of disbelief involved – in addition to the whole “omgz are you real??????????/// lol!!!” thing – but if you manage to get the balance right, it can be incredibly rewarding…

    …as long as you don’t let it take over your life. But that’s another story.

  • Faith says:

    I spent a lot of time in chat rooms as a (virgin) young teenage girl. I think it spoke to the ‘tortured YA’ writer in me and also was a chance for me to experience sexy things before I’d even worked out how to masturbate. The role playing was fun too.

    There was something about knowing they were getting off on it whilst I was just sitting there, playing along. I had such little experience, I don’t know where it all came from – but it was filthy.

    One older gentleman refused to believe I was a virgin after quite an extensive conversation where I’d played the college student trying to swap blow jobs for grades, only for my ‘tutor’ to turn the tables by tying me up to have his way with me, only for me to turn the tables back (I don’t quite remember how) and text fuck him rotten.

    Perhaps that it why the teacher/student domination fantasy is still a big one for me 15 years later… excuse me whilst I go relive it for a while.

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