The information age has brought rapid and drastic change to, well, just about everything. Some of the most dizzying changes have occurred with language, as new terms appear and spread with astonishing speed. The world of interpersonal relationships has also evolved quickly, as the Internet has spawned entirely new ways to socialize, meet people, and even conduct illicit affairs. And, of course, the effects of the digital age on love and language together have created a broad and ever-changing lexicon of sex—which has been nicknamed the sexicon—that can baffle even the Internet savvy.
Digital Sex Vocabulary: Terms, Acronyms And Apps
So if you are trying to navigate as a therapist, online dater, blogger or simply a gawker taking in the rapid evolution of the digital sex vocabulary, here is an overview of some of today’s most common names, terms, acronyms and apps.
Necessary Sexicon Terms
Apps – In the world of digital dating and sex, apps (short for “applications”) are key. Apps are software programs that can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device. There are currently thousands of apps worldwide doing thousands of different things, and some of them are designed to connect people interested in dating or casual sex. These apps are commonly called Adult Friend Finder apps, or Hookup apps.
Sexting – Sexting involves sending a sexual message or image to another person through a mobile phone’s text message function.
Selfie – A picture of yourself, usually taken with a digital device and posted to a digital forum.
Cyberstalking – This term refers to using the Internet to harass or stalk another person. Cyberstalkers may send repeated, unwanted messages or images to their target, or gather personal information and obsess over their target through multiple online forums like Facebook, Twitter or FourSquare.
Sexnology – As the name implies, sexnology is technology designed for sex, especially to enhance sexual experiences.
Webcam – Webcams are video cameras in computers or phones that are able to stream live footage to a digital network. A webcam is necessary for video-chatting or recording videos directly to a device.
Teledildonics – Teledildonics are physical devices for sexual stimulation that are connected to digital content. Some devices can sync with the actions of other real people, for a kind of virtual sex encounter. Others can sync with online content such as pornography.
Virtual Sex – Virtual sex is sexual gratification that occurs entirely online. It can involve games like Second Life in which people use actual avatars to act out sexual encounters, or it can involve the use of webcams for mutual visual stimulation.
Content Control Software – Content control software like Net Nanny limits and monitors Internet activity. It was designed to help parents oversee their kids’ Internet activity, but is also sometimes used by people suspicious of their partners’ online behavior.
Common Internet Acronyms
IRL – IRL refers to things that happen In Real Life, as opposed to online.
PNP – PNP is short for party and play, and is often used on dating or hookup sites to indicate when someone wishes to combine drug use with sexual activity.
P2P – This acronym is short for peer-to-peer, which is a way for users to directly and privately share files. Can be used to share illicit content, such as pornographic material or illegal music downloads.
Popular Dating Apps And Sites
There are many popular apps of the Adult Friend Finder variety, as well as many websites that facilitate dating and casual sex. Some are also used for virtual sex, although not exclusively.
Second Life – Second Life is a very popular virtual world game, in which people create animated digital avatars. Many people use the game to act out sexual encounters with other users’ avatars.
Ashley Madison – This notorious Adult Friend Finder app is designed specifically for married people who are looking to cheat on their partners.
Chatroulette – This video chat site will randomly pair members with other members who want to engage in webcam-facilitated virtual sex.
Adam4Adam – This is an Adult Friend Finder app for gay men looking to date or have casual sex.
Blendr – Blendr is an Adult Friend Finder app for straight people seeking casual sex.
PinkCupid – This app is also an Adult Friend Finder, used by lesbian women for dating and casual sex.
Tinder – An Adult Friend Finder app for straight people, whose users are mostly young adults.
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