Given the prevalence of ethnographic methodology in the study of social phenomenon in text based virtual environments, it is surprising that it's use in cyberspace has yet to be analysed in any great detail.In this article I will discuss the use of ethnographic field research methods in cyberspace, focusing more specifically on my own ethnographic research of the online sexual practices of the inhabitants of AOL chat rooms.To put it bluntly, can it be regarded as adulterous, does that mean that it gives the violated partner biblical grounds for divorce?As we see it, there are no straightforward, cut-and-dried answers to either of these questions. Chat rooms, interactive websites, blogging and public networking forums like Facebook have inadvertently invited strangers into many bedrooms. “Cybersex is also easier to hide and it usually doesn’t cost money.” With the internet’s coming of age, so have multiple opportunities to meet someone online and get romantically involved.“I suppose it’s as good as a bar,” said Alice Aspen March, Los Angeles-based author of The Attention Factor.“The only difference is at a bar you actually see and talk to a person in the flesh.
Ok Cupid, Tinder, and a plethora of other dating sites are more prevalent than ever, and the stigma of online romance is slowly but surely diminishing.
In these studies, researchers have found that text based virtual environments (chat rooms, IRC chat channels, and MUDs) are places where users can experiment with identity and gender (re)construction (Reid 1991, 1994; Turkle 1995), form new friendships (Baym, 1996), and join together with other users in the building of virtual communities (Rheingold 1991, 1995; Lichty 1994).
Most of the existing social scientific research of the online world has been ethnographic.
Researchers writing in the current issue of the journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity report that many of the men and women who now spend dozens of hours each week seeking sexual stimulation from their computers deny that they have a problem and refuse to seek help until their marriages and/or their jobs are in serious jeopardy. The survey found that as many as a third of Internet users visited some type of sexual site. Young of the Center for Online Addiction in Bradford, Pa., wrote that "partially as a result of the general population and health care professionals not being attuned to the risks, seemingly harmless cyberromps can result in serious difficulties way beyond what was expected or intended." According to Dr.
For some people, the route to compulsive use of the Internet for sexual satisfaction is fast and short, said Dr. Projected to the country as a whole, this would mean that a minimum of 200,000 men and women have become cybersex addicts in the last few years, Dr. And, he added, because the respondents were self-selected and because denial of the symptoms of sexual compulsivity is commonplace, there are likely to be many more cybersex addicts than the survey indicated. Jennifer Schneider, a physician in Tucson, Ariz., who is associate editor of the journal, said in an interview that even when cybersex addicts and their partners sought treatment, they often concealed their real problem, and therapists often failed to ask questions that would disclose it. Cooper, who works at the San Jose Marital and Sexuality Center in Santa Clara, Calif., cybersex compulsives are just like drug addicts; they "use the Internet as an important part of their sexual acting out, much like a drug addict who has a 'drug of choice,' " and often with serious harm to their home lives and livelihood.