unintentional porn moment, plus sex and internet history

by Violet Blue on February 26, 2010


Image from this gallery.

I’ve been researching the history of sex and the internet to prepare for my NPR / All Things Considered interview (might go on the air tomorrow). I just got off the phone with the producer and had opened up my notes; I realized I did the entire call with my desktop looking like this! It’s always fun when people walk into my office… ahem. In my defense I was trying to find some girls on the beach in bikinis after hearing that the Eastern US has been slammed with more snow and thinking that you all probably wanted to see the *opposite* of the last post right now.

Here’s a very loose timeline that I pinged my conversation off of; does anyone have anything to add? Corrections? I’d love to make this a working timeline. The three primary areas under consideration are:

• Help, information & advice
• Chat / meeting people
• Pornography

late 1970s-early 1980s ASCII porn in BBS communities
1984-1989: Numerous sex focused BBS popped up – many allowing the sharing of images and stories – among them were several that focused on BDSM and and TV/TS fetishes
1990 – first commercial provider of Internet dial-up access – world.std.com
1990 – first Usenet newsgroup for text erotica stories rec.arts.erotica is created
1992 – alt.sex.stories (Usenet; altnet newsgroup for text erotica stories) is created
1992 – Term “Surfing the Internet” is first heard
1993 – Don’t Ask Don’t Tell introduced by President Bill Clinton.
1993 – World Wide Web goes live.
1994 – Sex.com was registered by Gary Kremen
1995 – Sex.com was stolen by Stephen Cohen
1995 – Salon.com launches
1995 – Craigslist is founded
1996 – SFSI.org sex crisis helpline launches online
1996 – Playboy.com launches
1996 – Communications Decency Act (CDA) signed into law and part of it is quickly struck down
1997 – DVD introduced
1997 – Peter Acworth begins Hogtied.com (Kink.com)
1997 – Domain name business.com sold for $150,000
1998 – Viagra introduced
1998 – ISNA.org launches
1998 – OutProud.org launches (LGBT)
1998 – Child Online Protection Act (COPA) signed into law; quickly blocked from enforcement by court order
1999 – PlannedParenthood.com launches
1999 – Planned Parenthood’s Teenwire.com launches
1999 – LiveJournal launches
1999 – Domain name business.com sold for $7,500,000
2000 – Sex.com was given back to Gary Kremen after a legal fight
2000 – AEBN launched first VOD site
2000 – American Express stops accepting porn transactions
2000 – Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) signed into law
2001 – Yahoo begins adult Groups purge; removes porn banners from search engine
2002 – Eros Blog launches
2003 – Paypal stops processing adult transactions
2003 – Gawker Media launches Fleshbot.com
2003 – Tribe.net launches
2003 – Penthouse files bankruptcy
2005 – Video iPod introduced
2005 – Tribe.net purges adult groups
2006 – Sex.com sold for a reported $12,000,000
2006 – YouTube style porn sites invade the Internet
2006 – Google resists court order for porn search results
2007 – Tumblr launches
2008 – Kink.com has over 12 websites
2009 – US Supreme Court refuses to hear final COPA appeal, killing the law permanently
2009 – DVD porn sales officially declined 50%

Tips: Bacchus, Nobilis, Erika, jess, Bryan, Erich, sjk

{ 15 comments }

1 Ell March 3, 2010 at 1:10 am

ADT – Adult DVD Talk – a huge repository of adult film reviews 1999 – I believe more than 10,000 reviews

Literotica.com – vast library of smut! 1996

2 emg March 3, 2010 at 12:37 am

AOL? For many years AOL was middle America’s version of the internet, and there were constant battles about what would and would not be allowed, not just regarding sexually-explicit images, but even open discussion about sexual orientation issues if minors were around. At some point they even purged the gay discussion boards, then re-enabled them later. I’m not sure who to ask to check dates.

3 George Myers March 2, 2010 at 11:35 am

Kodak player software or Photo CD was launched in 1992. Held up to 100 photos on a CD-ROM. Replaced by Kodak’s more-consumer oriented Picture CD. Also I’m not sure of the date (1980s?) but early one day processing was started it seemed by actor Gene Barry appeared in small places in New York City, not sure if there was censorship. People have the power.

4 Viviane March 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Dec. 2006 is when we first started noticing sexuality related sites disappearing from Google i.e. Dragged into Google’s Sex Ghetto, Kicking and Screaming. | The Art & Business of Making Erotic Films http://bit.ly/2SOF6j

5 Robert February 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Perhaps include technical innovations which “made possible” or “were made possible by” sexual use of the Internet.

Though I don’t have dates off hand:

1. GIF image format on the Internet.
2. IRC chat rooms.
3. Second Life launches Zindar “Porn Island”
4. Usenet groups with anonymous user accounts and posting.

Also Internet dating.

6 sjk February 27, 2010 at 3:49 pm

1984-1989: Numerous sex focused BBS popped up – many allowing the sharing of images and stories – among them were several that focused on BDSM and and TV/TS fetishes. Most tied in to the bitnet mail routing system – a precursor to Internet UUCP and then smtp mail.

7 Elf Sternberg February 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm

It’s nice to be on the list. And it’s a shame that the alt.sex groups are all faded into history, destroyed by spammers. I miss them; there was something fundamental about them that modern fora don’t provide.

8 Bryan February 27, 2010 at 11:19 am

1996 – Communications Decency Act (CDA) signed into law, and part of it is quickly struck down by the courts.
1998 – Child Online Protection Act (COPA) signed into law and quickly blocked from enforcement by court order.
2000 – Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) signed into law.
2009 – US Supreme Court refuses to hear final COPA appeal, killing the law permanently.

9 jess. February 27, 2010 at 9:10 am

Oh just wanted to add: it’s a really interesting timeline project!

10 jess. February 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

Maybe when webcams & camming started? I think that’s really important for the chat/meeting people as would be dating websites and the alt.usenet groups. What about podcasting about sex? Or what about the case of the teens arrested for child porn on their own pics? Youtube or Xtube?

It’s hard to know what exactly to put on the timeline unless there’s an idea about what the story you are trying to tell is. It seems from the timeline it might be about the fight over the market of porn with sex-ed thrown in (to contrast the growth)? But then I wonder why viagra is there or salon.com?

11 Nobilis February 27, 2010 at 6:06 am

Erika:

As near as my research can tell, alt.sex.stories was founded in 1992, sometime between March and May (these things are not easy to pinpoint).

Alt.sex was founded somewhat earlier, probably very early in the Usenet history.

Usenet actually predates the formal internet; the protocols and hierarchies were in place well before the network really came together… which makes pinpointing things even harder.

12 Erika February 27, 2010 at 3:03 am

I don’t know what the exact date would be, but I think the inception and rise of all the alt.whatever groups needs to be documented. Reading those archives was certainly one of the ways that I got my sex education, and I know I’m not the only one.

13 ScytheNoire February 26, 2010 at 11:25 pm

We’re in a period of media transition where companies need to change their business models and learn to adapt or go the way of the blacksmith when automobiles were introduced. Most important thing a company today needs to know to survive in the digital media world is “Connect with Fans” and “Give them a Reason to Buy” and you’ll do just fine.

14 DD Symms February 26, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Wow – DVD porn sales have declined 50%? Here’s a case where the Internet has allowed massive distribution but also piracy through all the free Web sites. But again, a company like Kink.com is doing quite well it seems.

15 Bacchus February 26, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Awesome! I’m psyched to be on the timeline.

Minor correction, though; Erosblog did not launch until 10/02.

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