Glimpses of the Sex Diary of A Chinese Officer

Han Feng’s sex diary caused a lot of uproar in China.  He is an official from the Guangxi tobacco monopoly bureau, who allegedly wrote daily diary entries describing his sexual involvement with many of his colleages, along with acts of receiving bribes. Then these entries started spreading on the internet. The disciplinary officials and the investigators were getting first-hand accounts of his misbehavior from these entries. Despite a year long attempt at cleansing  by the censors in their urge to remove any pornographic data, these entries caused many stark reactions.

Here below are some of his journal entries from the year of 2007. I just wanted to give you a glimpse. Like Hanhan, I do not judge the tobacco chief for having sexual affairs. These kinds of private affairs should not be stolen or uploaded by third parties. At the same time these entries are an eye-opener indeed. Should they be banned or be squeezed back inside a pandora’s box? Let’s think positively. Let’s praise the tobacco chief  for offering a poetic alternative to vulgar pornography, as well as thinking earnestly about his health.  But if he is cutting one thing in his life, it should be alcohol rather than blow jobs.

(translated by Carrie Yang and further edited by KJ)
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Han Han's Magazine Arrives!

 

The new Han Han magazine has arrived…. Although there’s not a single advertisment in the magazine, it is known as the most generous publication in China—paying  each of the authors 2000 RMB per 1000 words (as you can see from the picture above, that’s basically all of them).

The magazine is a nice mixture of short novels, essays, photographs, commics, etc. But it was quite an disapointment for me not seeing the orginal cool cover picture on the actual copies.

As I look through the magazine, I found the following excerpt very informative. It  is  It’s from Han Han’s own article   I WANT TO TALK TO THIS WORLD (我想和這個世界談談 wo xiang he zhe ge shi jie tan tan). Here is the rough translation (Thank you Katrien for editing it for me):

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Ancient Chinese Poems that Depict Breasts

 

赵鸾鸾的《酥乳》:

粉香汗湿瑶琴轸,春逗酥融绵雨膏。浴罢檀郎扪弄处,灵华凉沁紫葡萄。

《酥乳》王偁
一双明月贴胸前,紫禁葡萄碧玉圆。夫婿调酥绮窗下,金茎几点露珠悬。’”(《情史·卷十三》)

朱彝尊《沁园春》

隐约兰胸,菽发初匀,脂凝暗香。似罗罗翠叶,新垂桐子,盈盈紫药,乍擘莲房。窦小含泉,花翻露蒂,两两巫峰最断肠,添惆怅,有纤褂一抹,即是红墙。
偷将碧玉形相。怪瓜字初分蓄意藏,把朱阑倚处,横分半截,琼箫吹彻,界住中央。取量刀圭,调成药裹,宁断娇儿不断郎。风流句,让屯田柳七,曾赋酥娘。

欧阳修《系裙腰》

水轩檐幕透薰风,银塘外、柳烟浓。方床遍展鱼鳞簟,碧纱笼。小墀面、对芙蓉。
玉人共处双鸳枕,和娇困、睡朦胧。起来意懒含羞态,汗香融。素裙腰,映酥胸。

温庭筠《女冠子》
含娇含笑,宿翠残红窈窕。鬓如蝉。寒玉簪秋水,轻纱卷碧烟。雪胸鸾镜里,琪树凤楼前。寄语青娥伴,早求仙!

第四章 Lizzy Kinsey 与 Adult FriendFinders 关于香港网上性与色情自我展示的民族志研究

第四章

Lizzy Kinsey Adult FriendFinders

关于香港网上性与色情自我展示的民族志研究。

(早前已在文化、健康与性 2010年5月12卷第六期出版)

摘要:本章主要通过观察性爱约会网站http://www.adultfriendfinder.com研究网站用户的性行为和自我呈现。在该网站上,成员可以展现自己的性魅力并寻找自己在真实生活中的性伴侣。这些性关系可以发生在单身人士,交换伴侣的夫妇,甚至处于开放性关系的婚外情人之间。通过参照大众将“性感” 作为一种“网上类型”的充满玩笑意味,本章将理解分析中外网络用户的形象策略。本章的研究目的是将这些网络行为作为变幻中的性文化进行反思,同时也在在性研究领域范围内讨论这种采用性感的网上人格作为认知上工具的现象。文章继而探索社交网络中的作为自我民族志呈现的性身份,以及网络研究者的双重身份和他们的跨界能动性。

关键词:互联网性爱,色情,全球化,互联网文化

引言

本章检验了一项为期两年的在香港进行得案例研究,并考察了大型社交网站http://www.adultfriendfinder.com (后简称 AFF.com)上自我展示的文化。本文大量引用网站用户使用的文字,幻想和图像,尽管用户在本研究中仍希望匿名。通过在线聊天,讲故事,面对面访谈, 来自中外不同文化背景的男女与作者分享了他们的性经验。参与这些对话的人们有的希望以在线聊天和电子邮件的方式回答我的问题,有些则更倾向于面对面式的对谈。我在餐厅或城市公园等公众场合安排和他(她)们的会面。我总是努力营造真诚愉快的气氛,并争取在不同的采访环境下对受访者访问两道三次。我也在访问之外接近这些受访者,经常于访问前后和他(她)们共进午餐或是晚餐,以和他们进一步交流,帮助他们放松下来。

作者切合研究的目的和AFF.com的宗旨创造了一个网上人格,以更好地探索网站上含性暗示的自我展示以及其文化氛围。通过分析与Adult Friendfinder会员网上交换以及面对面的情况,我希望找出来自不同文化的男人女人为何在香港会决定使用美国网络公司来互相引诱对方成为入幕之宾。为什么人们要采用性化的人格以及简化的色情身份作为网络类型?再者,我希望了解他们与该网络的文化联系,及其如何刺激,帮助或阻碍约会游戏的发展的。

虽然该网站也被男女性工作者用来招徕客人。我的研究仅限以该网站安排非商业性艳遇的人为研究对象。比如,一个四十岁的亚洲女性“Poppy Nipple”表示仅仅对色情聊天和邮件感兴趣,并在自己的个人介绍表明她是一位人体模特。 她的语言极具挑逗,而在她的主页图片中她只在腰下着一件性感内衣。她写道自己不是性工作者,只是想通过这个网站进行网上性爱聊天,尽管她使用该网站的真实动机还有待考证。尽管网站对对这些工作/玩乐身份的界定模糊不清,性工作者的网上策略并不在本章讨论范围以内。

自制色情:在网络性感中生存和呼吸

AFF.com是一个由美国娱乐公司主导大型的跨国社交网络。在该网站上用户可以付钱成为会员,上传性暗示明显的图片和视频。它在一众鼓励用户参与数字媒体和自制色情内容的色情化商业网站中遥遥领先,并模糊了自我及与其有关的各种短暂的符号、迷思和网络色情文化中的各种途径(Jacobs 2007,2)。全球的网络用户都被鼓励去建立和描述性化的自己,以便顺利进入他人的数据库,安排网络邂逅或现实中的性约会。

找朋友公司(Friendfinder Inc.)是一所名为“多元(Various)”的硅谷公司在1996年成立的。多元领军于多个性爱与约会的网站。在2007年12月,该网站破天荒地被 Penthouse以5亿美元收购,成功地从传统色情媒体转型为自制色情,以顺应以用户提供内容和社交网络的时代潮流。它从而成为全世界最大的成人娱乐企业网络。集团旗下有多个子网站,其总注册用户数高达四千万以上。该网站也努力迎合更多的文化和目标人群:例如年龄——seniorfinder.com, 宗教——BigChurch.com, JewishFriendfinder.com, 民族或国籍——AsiaFriendfinder.com, IndianFriendfinder.com, Amigos.com, GermanFriendfinder.com, FrenchFriendfinder.com, KoreanFriendfinder.com, 及 Filipino Friendfinder.com。这些网站向其用户承诺各种充满想象的自我呈现和性乐趣的可能与机会,但是它们是否真的也可以帮助身处于香港性文化的人们去探索刺激的性邂逅呢?虽然理论上香港人可以交换分享的性感图片或视频的类型并没有受到很多限制,但是人们的选择仍然被根深蒂固的文化行为、当地生活方式和这些网站本身就有的规范化告诫所影响。

在AFF.com上,大部份用户都熟悉性别和种族在情色内容上的老生常谈;大家不约而同的使用一些通用的、意想中的名字,图片和个人简介。 Nakamura (2002) 在Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity and Identity(网络性感型:种族,民族和个人身份)一书中指出:数字网络的确是一个转型的社交空间,它让人们在日渐兴起的媒体文化中利用不同种族性别的刻板形象。她写道:“网络性感型是以机器支撑的人机互动的过程,在这个过程中种族形象即来源于日常文化逻辑又舒缓人们对于计算机小区对旧逻辑冲击的焦虑(Nakamura 2002, 5) 现在已很难确定这种文化逻辑的始作俑者是谁,因为网络用户已合力创造出新媒体的全新语义,并向旧的文化逻辑提出挑战。Nakamra感兴趣的是种族身 份,种族多元性以及种族歧视态度是如何在机器支持的人际沟通中被催生出来的。她认为网络性感型在网络象征手法中至关重要。

尽管本研究并没特别注重AFF.com上的种族和个人种族身份,但也应用了Nakamura研究自我展示的哲学手法。人们往往决定以各种 “类型”包装自己,以更有效地寻找伴侣,尽管有时这些象征手法会明显地让潜在的伴侣感到反感或受伤。

在这些简化了的社会面具后面,是否有更复杂更深层次的跨文化尝试或挫折呢? 在伪装成Lizzy Kinsey 后, 我希望能更深入地参与到改主流网络中,去探索它禁忌空间和边界。在此以前,Boyd (2007)也曾以参与示民族志研究员的身份观察my space 和 facbook 在美国的年轻用户中根深蒂固的社会分化。她的研究揭示了流行的网络如何轻易地忽略小众文化和族群文化的想象过程,再生产向上爬式的社会精英主义。 在这种社会不安定的背景下,香港渴求性爱人士在该富有解放潜质的性交网站中的自我呈现诞生了。网络用户探索不同的社交网络,是因为他们希望巡游和展示他们独特的主体性性和他们的社交关系(Donath and Boyd, 2004, 72) 作为AFF.com的玩家,网络用户都把自己以及他们的社交圈时作为性化了的主体性和网络性感型来展示。我们如何才能捕捉并情境化这些在计算机支持下产生的人类行为性化过程呢?通过作为“Lizzy Kinsey,一个学者型性爱机器”的身份在AFF.com与他人互动,我勤奋而富有同理心的寻找自己的答案并建立性联系,并邀请用户合作,从而提供一种独特的反思。

Lizzy kinsey的自我民族志网上实验

在建立Lizzy Kinsey网上实验的理论层面时,本研究在方法论上为民族志方法在聆听多重声音的折射性和反思性层面作出贡献。(Plummer1995: XI)。 Plummer收集解构性爱故事的方法允许人们在情感关系和文化层面进行相互交换。我建立学者型性爱机器的个人档案以吸引人们,并定下一个性与智识合作的基调。最初,人们以符号互动和文化评论态的形态分享他们关于性的态度以及幻想。在第二阶段,我邀请多位用户在公众地方面见面,进行网络性爱方面的对话。

为了处理好这些会晤,我逐渐对一种混合型写作类型——日记与学术分析的结合——产生兴趣。这类民族志研究常被视为于女性或女权主义作者相关,尤其考虑到她们常常尝试使用一种投入而具有反射性和反思性的声音来构造社会知识与亲密关系方面 (Reed-Danayah 1997, 16) 。2006年八月,我上传了一幅Lizzy Kinsey的头像照片。她是一位四十岁左右双性向的白种女人,是幻想中性爱学家Alfred Kinsey的孙女儿。在满足我收集数据和采访人的学术追求的同时,我也希望一试自己的性自我展示。我为自己拍摄裸照希望能够吸引别人,并暗示我潜在的的研究目标。我选的照片是一张特写,展示了我跪在地上的裸体半身像及胸部。我的大腿上放着一支笔。我在腹部写上“你准备好了吗?”的字样。 这样Lizzy Kinsey就建立起外向,性活跃的女性形象,她还以笔作为反射工具。这支笔可以被看作性游戏或记录故事的工具。最后,我跟随AFF.com当下潮流, 处理图片减掉面部的部份,以隐藏自己的真实身份。我的“网络性感型”就这样被建立起来了。这个伪装能轻易被该网络接纳,但也随时可以被与我交谈的人瓦解。

图片: Lizzy Kinsey 的第一张和第二章头像图片

在个人简介的文字部分,我要求人们给我发送他们的性爱秘密以及性爱故事,或面对面地分享他们的经验。反响是热烈的。 Lizzy Kinsey平均每天都接收到五到六个回复。我几次重写了这份档案,但每次都保持比较泛化的风格,于是人们必须猜测这背后的动机。我用这份档案来吸引挑逗那些想要对性爱感兴趣的并在网上和我搭讪聊天的人,但慢慢的我会透露我其实是一个希望分享并记录个体经验的研究者。很多人听到后马上消失,有些人在和我谈判交涉后也慢慢退出,但仍有一些人同意分享更进一步的信息。

我和其中的二十人有频繁的书信来往。我通过电邮或面谈对他们进行采访。我选择其中三次访谈引用分析,因为这三次访谈既可以阐明一些话题性的问题又在这种跨文化的约会环境中具有一定代表性。另外,选取择这三次访问也是基于本论文在理论和方法论层面的考虑,因为这项研究是基于同理心分析法的定性的跨种族(自我)民族志。其他的访谈将被用于一个关于香港网络色情和网络身份的大型研究。该研究已获得香港城市大学策略研究基金的赞助,囊括多种地域人口分布以及网络小区。

Lizzy Kinsey的个人档案让我得以在一个特定环境中自由探索,充分利用我的性身体去吸引愿意帮助我在知识上的研究。我也以她为机会反思自身的越界经验,并测验网络性爱文化中集体物化自我的冲动。Wendy Chun (2006) 在Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia and the age of Cyber Optics 一书中指出,一个网络用户记录书写性爱日记也是求知欲的一种。 1. 在The History of Sexuality, Vol 1 The Will to Knowledge一书中,Foucault解释了在新兴的性科学(scientia sexualis)中性特质如何作为分析的权利来作用的。他批评压抑的假设或是关于我们已然抑制了自身自然的性冲动的观念。他揭示出正是我们所谓的性压抑使性成为我们身份中的核心特性,并衍生出性与色情的话语。这股力量不仅存在对于于性激动与性关系的探索,也测试了社会的规范和道德边界,更催生出新的知识设备以服务于和操控网络文化自己 的产物。

通过我的个人档案,我触发了人们的幻想和欲望去进行一项不同寻常的实验从而得到关于社会、性的知识。其中不乏闪光的慧眼,但通常更多的是无疾而终的婉语。虽然我无法从逐渐减少的庞大人群说寄来的回复中洞察更多,但他们每天的响应已经成为这个持续研究的固定部份,也让我得以探索更多的约会仪式。一个多元化的研究团队,基于 自身的特定文化背景和参与热衷程度,无疑能从中观察到其他的方面。如果当时我能和其他研究人员为此目标合作,通过他们的不同主体性和文化背景,得到其他有代表性的用户群体的回复,,这个研究一定会更加有趣。

香港Adult FriendFinder用户的的性文化仪式

AFF.com主要为异性恋和约会行为服务。人们通过门户网站和视频传输在网站上分享照片和影片,以诱惑他人进行性活动。网站会员每天浏览网站并建 立起某程度上相当忠诚的朋友关系网。尽管网站鼓吹性地提出 “今晚就结交真实的性爱伴侣”这种暗示可以得到立竿见影效果的口号,同时它也是一个为困家中的人提供服务和消遣的虚拟休息室。人们用该网站上传和修饰自己的档案,和远方或者匿名的伴侣在线交谈,窥视图片和影片集,或者玩简单的游戏,例如“淋湿衬衣大比拼”和“淘气卡罗”。

每次当一名AFF会员收到另一位会员联系时,系统就会向他们的私人电子邮箱发送一则愉快的通告。此外,AFF.com每天都用广告对会员进行狂轰滥 炸。会员平均每人每天至少也会收到四到五则广告。这个配对引擎用尽各种手段鼓励成员用各种的应用程序去享受性福,最终目标则是做爱。它就像一个唠唠叨叨的朋友,永远关心你的性福,一直想要你尽快约会。用户每天会收到三到四条此类鼓励信息,内含已经联系过他们的其他成员的头像照片和个人简介。网站上鼓动性的用语例如“你需要现在就上床”或“你已经准备好了”随处可见, 尽管这些用语也许不合时宜,在广泛社交圈中不受待见。该网站对它希望吸引的多元人口缺乏敏感性。

再者,该网站假扮自己有潜力为不同文化地域不同社会群体的男女用户提供性帮助,但却在吸引不同文化不同性别的人的性趣的问题上显得极其无知。例如, 该网站邀请互联网色情公司投放广告,提供点播视频的选择,但这些都不适用于亚洲顾客。在香港的网站,无论中文版还是英文版,美式艳照和白人模特的照片都琳琅满目。该网站也在自己的小区中选出五到六白种女人裸照以吸引其他会员。网站并没有积极尝试包括其他的民族多元性,或者提供男超模来娱乐女性。

2007年12月,大约香港男女会员的比例是100,000:8,000。这种不平均的性别比例和公司其他网站的情况极为相似,登记的女性总是供不应求。因此,公开个人档案的女性总是会遇到狂蜂浪蝶的请求,而为了得到回复男性必须忍饥耐渴数周之久。目前该网站在香港有中文版和英文版,但是来自中国或非中国背景的用户大多用英语交流。这大概是由于网站从诞生之日起就没有能够吸引以广东话为母语的群体。更多的情况是,它吸引的小数族群都说着不同的语言,于是大家都用 英文交流。该网站在2005年非常热门,会员数目节节上升。我刚在2006年8月开始研究的时候,会员数目大概是60,000人,到我在2008年8月终 止研究时,会员数已是06年数字三倍之多。其他与香港人口规模相当的文化吸引的会员更多,但香港的网站也已成功缔造出大量积极上传内容和追求性福的网络用 户。

该网站在香港是一件新鲜事物。在香港,人们并不鼓励去追求性化的自我呈现,或者探索自制色情环境,这点与西方文化截然不同。如同性爱学家Dr. Man Lune Ng解释的,香港那个是一个深受西方影响的成熟的大都会,她有高科技的基础设施和多元化的网络群体。但是当地保守实力仍然在社会和道德领域暗流涌动。香港的激进群体和性活动家 努力争取着积极面对性的文化氛围,包括言论自由和基本的性权力。与此同时,性激进主义却无法被他人容忍,而大陆的扫黄和网络监控也对其施加了强 大的压力。Dr.Ng 同时观察到香港性文化中一条清晰的分水岭,中国和西方的思想总是在激烈地斗争和碰撞。(Ng ManLune 2006)。在香港后殖民地社会里,这些潜藏的历史遗留更加使那些尝试新的多文化氛围的网络用户感到前所未有的愤怒和挫败

然而,在香港的互联网狩猎中,谁是文化上的赢家与输家呢?因为中国的男性主体没被充分代表,非中国籍男性就有更多空间去吸引女性。该网站实际上吸引 了很大比重的白人男子,他们大多利用网站来追求中国女性。中国女性也趁此机会尝试跨文化约会,并修改他们的个人档案来迎合非中国籍男子。为了更好地理解这 种跨种族的欲望,读者可以尝试比较Karen Kelsky关于日本女人和她们对外国人或世界主义文化的浪漫幻想的分析。香港女人似乎偏爱或浪漫化“外国人”的身份和性吸引力,以抗衡中国文化中的性别角色期望(Kelsky 2001, 2).。同 时,她们使用那些被普遍接受的性化的女性特征来迎合男用户,这点稍后会更深入地讨论。

我们搜索到许多以普通话或广东话为母语,却以英语来吸引他人的亚洲女性。她们喜欢用“妓女般”或“坏女孩式”的具有女性特征的名字或网上人格。大部份情况下,她们选用的名字都反映出那些普遍的性感类型,而与自己的民族特质无关,例如“Exotic Allure” (情色诱惑), “Naughty Mommy”(淫荡妈咪), “Daily Diva,” (白日名伶) ‘Wicket Angel”邪恶天使“ 和 “Sexy Bitch” (性感婊子)。然而,另有30%的女性会为自己贴上各种民族标签,例如”HKWifey” (香港Wifey), “Sakura HK” (樱花香港), “HK Lulu”(香港Lulu), “Your China Lover”(你的中国情人) or “Gloomy China”(忧郁的中国).

在她们的照片里,女性大多用裸体或胸部,大腿,臀部,阴部的特写。男女用户个人档案的不同之处在于,女性使用的身体部份更为多元化,而男性大部份都是使用阴茎的图片。对于异性换妻配偶来说,女性伴侣的裸体会更多被用作两人的代表。举例而言,一对50岁的亚裔-白人夫妻就主动联系Lizzy Kinsey,要求进一步的行动:“我们已经准备妥当了。我很乐意用我的舌头在你的身体上书写,会在你的身体上涂抹各种图案。给我们发消息吧。”这对夫妻所 用的个人档案图片是亚裔女人的胸部。他们用这张图片来隐藏他们实际的完整身份,以增加色诱成功的机会。

中国女性的个人档案则建立起一类与过去对中国女人描述完全相反的形象:有礼貌,乖乖女,被动而愉快的床上伴侣。这种反差支持了中国女性主义学者的发 现:在观看和消费性图片活动中,女性越来越善于表达自己充满性欲的身份(Ho and Tsang 2002, 71)。尽管女性情色的网络性感型在Adult FriendFinder被广泛接受,甚至被赞许,她们仍然是香港传统父权性文化中的异类和叛逆者。

男性在AFF.com上的档案更注重证明自己的身体有性能力,通常都会包括一幅勃起的阴茎的图片。大约50%主动接触Lizzy Kinsey的男性都用了这种图片。此外,人们常用陈腔滥调的名字例如 “EndlessFun” (无尽的乐趣), “HK juicy lover”(香港多汁情人), “Black”(黑), or “HK_puppy_dong”(香港宠物dong)。 这种选择缺乏想象力,积极推销男性自尊。值得注意的是,由于来自不同背景的男性都有参与到这个潮流中,理想中的完美阴茎的概念被解构了。人们可以赞许这种自主和多元的趋势,因为它允许男人参与到性特质和性能力的定义中枢(Lehman 2007, 111)。不过,这种阴茎崇拜的图片的主导地位也加强了由男人主导的性意识形态,它期望女人的身体去适应及响应男人的强势。尽管这些热情的男性生殖器形状大小颜色各不相同,它们都是对AFF.com广告活动的“我们需要在这里上床”这种的回应。

与网络性感型面对面

AdultFriendFinder是一家不断扩张的企业。它尝试把他的商业概念以下形式重现:一个性猎人在寻找他/她的猎物,他/她并不介意对方的社会背景和阶级属性。网站大量使用大胆的广告方案说服用户提高他们的技术水平,学习如何上传和微调合适的个人性感档案。网络用户在自我物化和使用习惯用语把这种表达内化了,并把它变为让他们在网上性圈中通行无阻的面具。此类性爱档案易于操控,更改和从网站上彻底删除。但在香港的性爱环境下,它们如何依附于我们这些社会演员呢?

Nakamura解释道,我们不可能脱离自己的个人历史,文化经历和社会群体去单纯使用网上的人格。Nakamura把网络性感型理论化来解释社会和种族焦虑,而我则想检验个人故事和面具使用背后蕴藏的复杂关系。我与一位叫“Double Trouble”的女人在线互动。原来这个人物背后是两名分别叫做“nin” 和 “ning” 的中国女性。她们的个人档案是这样写的。

“我们欢迎海外申请人,仅限白人…如果你耐性有限:所有电邮如果没有近照或阴茎尺寸的都将被自动删除…Ning 胸围大小是34D, 她的乳头当然是人间美味。她身高5尺2寸,皮肤光滑白嫩。她不喜欢被打屁屁! Nin是淘气的小妹妹,今年30岁。她身高5尺6寸,胸部娇小,乳头敏感,肤色健康。她喜欢狗爬式时被打屁屁。“

Ning和nin都喜欢年轻性感,内心成熟世故,28到35岁之间的白人。他们必须是体育健将,身材高大臀部紧实。她们强调,她们寻找的阴茎必须硬如岩石,长达7寸。由于两人私处都很紧窄,我们不要太宽厚的阴茎。如果我们想尝试大的黑阴茎或9寸的阴茎,我们会适时修改档案。

这份档案听起来非常幽默,也非常形象地对比了Nin 和Ning身体上的差异。但是档案同时也使用了对民族种类,身体形态的典型描述。这很容易让很多潜在的候选者反感或受伤。为什么她们要作出这样的描述呢?其他用户又是如 何反应的呢?我首先和Nin在一家餐厅见面。她热情大方,但是是ning决定不参与此次研究。我们讨论跨种族交往,她告诉我很多本地女孩都热衷约会外国 人。我们几天后互发了电邮,尽显了两人的坏女孩人格,她的文字十分幽默风趣。她解释,她建立“Double Trouble”这个身份主要是为了迎合男性的幻象,但后来却也影响到自己的性偏好。事实上,她急于讨论自己的越界经验,正是这样我们在情感上建立了共鸣。

我问她她和Ning的关系以及她决定与其他女人组队的原因。Nin 回答:“我们在真实生活中并不是情侣。我们抚摸亲吻过对方,但仅限于此。我们没进行过口交或用手解决。”她后来解释,她相信大部份女人在性取向上比男人更具有流动性。尽管 她不认为自己是双性向的女人,她仍然很享受观察女性同伴。在第二次面谈中,Nin澄清她常因看见她的朋友和其他男人做爱的过程感到性致勃勃,因为她 会幻象他会怎么跟自己做。

几周后,我做了一次深入的访谈。她坐在计算机前解释她如何浏览档案,如何运用网站。她展示出完全不同类型的心情和人格,并表示实际上她并不喜欢 AFF.com上大部份男性的档案。她希望有更深层次的交流。当我向她的档案中指出关于种族的描述并问她为什么不喜欢中国人时,她否认自己有种族上的偏 好,并最终归因于阴茎尺寸的问题:

我没有特别偏好的种族,但是我喜欢高大天生阴茎较大的(大概6.5到7英寸)男人,因此大部份我约会的都是白人。当然不是所有白人阴茎都大,但平均 而言他们稍稍比亚洲男人尺寸上更有优势。我还没试过和黑人交往,真实生活中并没有黑人找过我…我发现网站上许多女人(她们的博客或她们在他人博客上的评 论)都说尺寸不重要,但我不同意。6寸和7寸的差别是很大的。我的确喜欢稍微大点的,但8寸是我的极限。在我加入网站前,我以为6寸是白人平均尺寸以下 的,但最后发现原来平均都是这样。

Nin后来承认她偏爱白人因为亚洲人阴茎小,她甚至后来补充印度人是例外,他们阴茎平均比较大一点。当我和她聊起她对阴茎大小和种族偏好的评论时,她用历史文化的因素来合理化自己的态度:

我认为这同时是一个历史问题。一些人认为白人在床上表现更佳,因为他们更有经验。他们知道如何取悦女人,等等。但是你同时要考虑到所有在中国工作的外国人都有他们自己的公寓,但本地男人就不一定了。如果没有自己的地方,你多久才会做一次爱呢?这一定是非常困难的,不是吗?我也好奇是否有中国女人认为在白人面前可以更加开放而在亚洲人面前则不可以,特别是那些认为自己最后会嫁给亚洲人的。

Nin又补充,白人对她的吸引力可能跟她长大过程中看的电影,她接受的教育和她英国文学的专业有关。她表示对白人的渴望来源于复杂的个人需求和历史 原因。她最后也为了自己的利益着想而用上了各种相关的老调子。她网上的人格“机会主义坏女孩”让她轻易控制了AFF的点击率,并隐藏起性格中更脆弱和更服从社会规范的层面。她采用这份档案让她跨文化约会的成功率更高,并超越本地文化中对女性性欲和性爱多样化的限制。

Kelsky (2001)观察到,日本女人处处回避陷入本地文化的陷阱,貌似是减弱了传统关系的力量,实际上却恰恰强化了这股力量。只约会白人的叛逆坏女孩者是一个类似的对种族主义模糊不清的例子。Double Trouble很明显尝试通过采用一个在AFF小区中吸引人的名字来左右通吃,但同时也践踏了中国传统文化的规范,冒犯了男性群体中的一大部份。

为了找出男性如何采用和响应网络性感型的, 我也和AFF.com上的几个男性用户进行了面对面的访谈。第一位同意受访的是Damon Lust, 一个在香港居住多年,30好几的白人。他实际上是告知我AFF.com风靡香港的人。他知道我是一名研究人员,在私人层面上他给了我良好的祝愿。我们成为朋友后,他告诉了我很多他自己的性经历,并分享了他的想法。

我通常会跟他讨论他跟中国女人或夫妇的关系。Damon也承认AFF.com上白人男人和中国女人来往很多。他对以他这样的外国人为目标的中 国女人很感兴趣。他自己创作的档案也符合跨种族交往的愿望。他描述自己是个英俊,性感,品位超脱,希望约会本地女孩的外国人。Damon非常热衷帮我分析 该网站总体的文化,以及他对社会阶级和权力关系的深层理解。

网站上正经历某种中国革命,但是这次革命是女性的。中国男人看来不感兴趣,虽然他们很多有婚外情,经常召妓或在中国大陆养着情人。像我一样的鬼 佬利用了这种情况,因为这意味着有很多得不到性满足的中国女人,并且她们比较容易到手。但是这里面革命的风暴正在蔓延,这些女人开始控制局势,并乐在其中。她们谈论并炫耀这些经历。她们拥有的情人比你想象中还多。当然互联网让她们能够更轻易的参与其中。你会吃惊地发现有多少受人尊敬的女人也外出寻 欢。

机会主义坏女孩的类型正影响着AFF.com小区里面的社会关系,让中国女人掌握吸引或拒绝外国人的主动权。Damon认为女人会扮演专横而充满控制欲望的角色来吸引他。他最初登入AFF.com的时候,他尝试跟一个性方面很开放的中国女人见面。她写信息给他:“她现在有被轮奸的心情。”然而他当时并没有自己的 裸照,而她要求看照片,所以他失去了机会。他告诉我他也因同样的原因被“Double Trouble”拒绝过。

虽然AFF.com采用会员制,Damon认为总体而言体现了香港社会在逐步民主化。他自己能够和来自不同阶层背景的中国人或白人一起外出。他能明显看出AFF.com的阶层和香港传统上流社会或国际主义阶层的分别,他解释道:

网站也许仍然是在香港工作的外国人所主导的,但这群人和香港社会的上流阶层截然不同。香港是一个金钱至上的城市,不只是非常富有的人才会这样追逐财富。上流阶层只会与自己阶层的人约会做爱,他们并不真的需要互联网或电子科技。他们有上流妓女和顶级的应召服务。香港商务阶层的大量白人现在都用网络性爱来解决随意性爱的需要,而以前,他们需要找性工作者来满足这种需求。

同时,我也和Pong Leung,一个44岁的中国男人进行了多次面谈。他是一名运动教练,很主动地分享了他对权力关系和社会阶层的看法。他在档案中用了一位美国名人的名字,并添加了他发达的后背肌的图片。他一点也不介意如我面对面交谈,并告诉我他断断续续有超过十年的网上约会的经历。实际上,他曾经在AFF.com上给我发 过一条信息,跟我说他希望和一个金发美人发生性关系。我问他为什么会有这样的想法,他回复道:

亲爱的你好,我是一个香港本地人,希望跟一位西方女性发生性关系。我年轻的时候,曾看过最初版本的霹雳娇娃。我被片中的女孩深深吸引……Kate Jackson, Jacqueline Smith 和金发女郎……从此,我就觉得金发女郎是世界上最美丽的造物。因此我很希望能和一个金发女郎发生关系……我很努力学习英文……健身……希望终有一天我能实现这个心愿……所以,很希望你能回复我,看看大家是不是能继续交往下去。我们可以去游泳,享受日光浴……在慵懒的午后躲在酒店房里缠绵……还是那句,我敬候佳音,相信我们在一起会很开心的。

最后,我约了Pong Leung吃午饭见面。初次见面,他给我留下友善,害羞,和朴实醇厚的印象。他坚持说我很性感,并且答应了继续参与我的民族志研究。他对他的外貌和英语能力都很不自信。第二次我请他参与一个录像的采访。采访的场景是他在浏览AFF.com的是偶。在这次采访中,他告诉我他在网站上获得性约会所要面对的重重困难。他给我看了15个中国女人的个人简介,上面都使用了“只要西方男人”甚至“只限白人”这个带有种族歧视意味的词汇。他承认这让他觉得很沮丧,但是他尊重每个人选择自己口味的权利。他几乎肯定他不会获得任何与中国女性约会的机会,但也并非对此完全绝望。他对随意的性事很有兴趣,但他相信自己最后也许也会结婚, 或者从其他渠道获得一个固定的伴侣。他用这个网站来浏览个人资料,以及他有兴趣的女人的自拍照片。他在考虑终止他的会员身份,因为他发现当中的种族/权力 气氛在往对他不利的方向发展。

结语

这项关于香港社会动态和网络性感型的分析是以长期的民族志案例研究为基础的。通过与他人进行网上互动或面对面交流,我逐步收集数据以及采访数据。这些交流很难建立,只能在我对这些大型社交网络中诱惑游戏的过程的长期观察中循序渐进。案例研究重点关注的是一群文化背景迥异的香港男女,他们精通计算机,性趣满 满,相互配合地建立自己的个人形象和性身份。本章研究的出发点是了解人们通过这个特定的网络寻找性伴,自制色情内容,以及采用特定方式自我展示的原因。由于我需要亲自参与其中,找出个中联系,我采用了伪装的身份以及色情的网络性感型来观察他人,发起对话,保留聊天记录用作研究的原材料。

通过这种参与式观察和访谈,我想强调这些个人档案的不同类型是经过集体测试也是被人们集体采纳使用的。这些类型标签方便快捷,幽默生动,人们能轻而易举地控制当 中的主体性。香港的寻欢人士也广泛采用这些网络性感型,以及他们乏味,淫秽又带种族歧视的含义来创造世界主义主体,来跳脱出本地对随意性爱的偏见。逃离到异国地域能给人们提供新鲜的刺激,但这其实更强化了保守中产阶级的世界主义,而非激进性文化 (Kelsky 2001, 15) 。

通过我的观察和对话,我看到了性快感,性解放,以及男女间紧张的种族关系以及不屑一顾的态度。值得注意的是,中国女性特别喜欢使用机会主义的个人简 介来吸引外国人,尽管她们同时也会使用性欲过剩的元素来使自己与本地文化区分开。利用Lizzy Kinsey的身份,在成为网站一份子欲望的驱动下,我边玩边进行调查,对我而言这也呈现了一个跨越种族欲望的空间去超越我在本地的异化。我建立了自己的人格,她是 网站上一个带点坏女孩味道的性爱机器。但相对学术研究而言这也是一种离经叛道的。在透过我自己的网络性感型联系到不同的人后,我开始对他们多层次的身份有更 深刻的认识和理解,我等待揭露更深入的故事。

网络性爱身份及网络性关系历史上就与非性爱的情感交流(例如聊天室或在线角色扮演游戏)泾渭分明。其差异在于,网络用户首先以忠诚互助的网络朋友身份交流情感,逐步建立亲密关系,最终转化为性爱或友谊 (McKenna 2007, 121) 。如果我们把AFF.com归到网上亲密关系的范畴,我们可以看出网站最显著的任务就是在尽量少甚至没有前戏的前提下安排真实生活中的性邂逅。大部份人都难以坦然接受这种新型的性爱。在这种意义上说,AFF上的自我展示与香港人使用的其他约会网站或大型社交网站(例如MySpace和 Facebook)都全然不同。一般约会网站上的人大多会写复杂,冗长甚至理想化的个人简介去包装自己的成长历程或描述将来自己希望成为的 人 (Ellison, Heino and Gibbs, 2006, 15) 。AFF会员则把精简的个人身份用作面具来隐藏自己,却同时又揭示色情化的自己,并且跨越各种界限。这种策略让他们可以投入制作自己的色情内容,因为这些面具本身已在他们的群体中备受认可,而外面的世界则对此一无所知,或认为它们愚不可及。Nakamura表示,网络性感型一点都不蠢,相反,它是历史上边嵌有文化期望的生命历程。因此,我们不能单纯把它看作转瞬即逝的字符。我个人化的选择性民族志研究方法则是为了能让我真诚地结交朋友,能看到他们面具后面的故事。如此一来,作为在性与文化发现之旅中上下求索的研究者,我自己的欲望和挫败也得到了受邀人员的响应。

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[1] My interviewing process ideally consisted of three phases. First of all, I asked people to explainand evaluate their acts of socializing and managing identities within the AFF.com web site. Secondly, I asked them to talk about sex culture in Hong Kong and how they believed the web site was making a difference for Chinese and non-Chinese web users. Thirdly, in some cases I asked people to tell me a sex story about one of their more eventful encounters.  I asked people in advance if I could record these conversations by means of audio or videorecording, and some people gave me permission to do so. I tried to maintain a comfortable “soft” and “warm” atmosphere for culling sensitive information.

我的采访过程理论上包括三个阶段。首先,我请人们评估自己在AFF.com网站上的社交行为和身份操控。之后,我请他们谈论香港的性文化,以及他们时候相信该网站正在改变中国和非中国用户的性文化生活的。最后,在某些访问中,我会请受访者讲述一个他们亲身经历的最戏剧化的性故事。在访问前,我都会就录音或摄像一事征求人们的同意。他们中的一些人表示同意。为了获取那些比较敏感的信息,我还努力营造一种令被访者轻松宿舍的“温柔“”温暖“的氛围。

[2] For some examples of artists who have created works arising from their participation in sex sites, see the work of Isaac Leung and Chantal Zakari. Zakari’s book webAffairs is an artist’s documentary of an adult video webcommunity. She took on the identity of ”Show-n-tell” to document her story of being a participant in this communityhttp://www.webaffairsbook.info/webAffairs1.html (accessed Oct 4, 2009). Leung is a Hong Kong artist and scholar who took on the identity of “Japan boy” to investigate power relations within gay cyber sex sites in his project: “The Impossibility of Having Sex with 500 Men in a Month-I’m an Oriental Whore”http://isaacleung.com/orientalwhore/ (accessed Nov 1, 2009)

更多关于艺术家参与性网站活动后说创造的作品,请参考Issac Leung和Chantal Zakari的作品 WebAffairs。 这是一部艺术家创作的关于成人视频网络社群的纪录片。她利用社群参与者“Show-n-no-tell“的身份记录了她的参与故事。http://www.webaffairsbook.info/webAffairs1.html (accessed Oct 4, 2009). Leung 是一位香港艺术家和学者,他曾经使用”日本男孩“这个身份来调查同性恋的性网站中的权力关系。详见他的作品The Impossibility of Having Sex with 500 Men in a Month-I’m an Oriental Whore” http://isaacleung.com/orientalwhore/ (accessed Nov 1, 2009)

第四章 Lizzy Kinsey 與 Adult FriendFinders 關於香港網上性與色情自我展示的民族志研究

第四章

Lizzy Kinsey 與 Adult FriendFinders

關於香港網上性與色情自我展示的民族志研究。

(早前已在文化、健康與性 2010年5月12卷第六期出版)

摘要:本章主要通過觀察性愛約會網站http://www.adultfriendfinder.com研究網站用戶的性行為和自我呈現。在該網站上,成員可以展現自己的性魅力並尋找自己在真實生活中的性伴侶。這些性关系可以發生在单身人士,交換伴侶的夫妇,甚至处于开放性关系的婚外情人之间。通過參照大眾將“性感” 作為一種“網上類型”的充滿玩笑意味,本章將理解分析中外網絡用戶的形象策略。本章的研究目的是將這些網絡行為作為變幻中的性文化進行反思,同時也在在性研究領域範圍內討論這種採用性感的網上人格作為認知上工具的現象。文章繼而探索社交網絡中的作為自我民族志呈現的性身份,以及網絡研究者的雙重身份和他們的跨界能動性。

關鍵字:互聯網性愛,色情,全球化,互聯網文化

引言

本章檢驗了一項為期兩年的在香港進行得案例研究,并考察了大型社交網站http://www.adultfriendfinder.com (后簡稱 AFF.com)上自我展示的文化。本文大量引用網站用戶使用的文字,幻想和圖像,儘管用戶在本研究中仍希望匿名。通過在線聊天,講故事,面對面訪談, 來自中外不同文化背景的男女與作者分享了他們的性經驗。參與這些對話的人們有的希望以在線聊天和電子郵件的方式回答我的問題,有些則更傾向於面對面式的對談。我在餐廳或城市公園等公眾場合安排和他(她)們的會面。我總是努力營造真誠愉快的氣氛,並爭取在不同的採訪環境下對受訪者訪問兩道三次。我也在訪問之外接近這些受訪者,經常於訪問前後和他(她)們共進午餐或是晚餐,以和他們進一步交流,幫助他們放鬆下來。

作者切合研究的目的和AFF.com的宗旨創造了一個網上人格,以更好地探索網站上含性暗示的自我展示以及其文化氛圍。通過分析與Adult Friendfinder會員網上交換以及面對面的情況,我希望找出來自不同文化的男人女人為何在香港會決定使用美國網絡公司來互相引誘對方成為入幕之賓。爲什麽人們要採用性化的人格以及簡化的色情身份作為網絡類型?再者,我希望瞭解他們與該網絡的文化聯繫,及其如何刺激,幫助或阻礙約會遊戲的發展的。

雖然該網站也被男女性工作者用來招徠客人。我的研究僅限以該網站安排非商業性豔遇的人為研究對象。比如,一個四十歲的亞洲女性“Poppy Nipple”表示僅僅對色情聊天和郵件感興趣,並在自己的個人介紹表明她是一位人體模特。 她的語言極具挑逗,而在她的主頁圖片中她只在腰下著一件性感內衣。她寫道自己不是性工作者,只是想通過這個網站進行網上性愛聊天,儘管她使用該網站的真實動機還有待考證。儘管網站對對這些工作/玩樂身份的界定模糊不清,性工作者的網上策略並不在本章討論範圍以內。

自製色情:在網絡性感中生存和呼吸

AFF.com是一個由美國娛樂公司主導大型的跨國社交網絡。在該網站上用戶可以付錢成為會員,上傳性暗示明顯的圖片和視頻。它在一眾鼓勵用戶參與數字媒體和自製色情內容的色情化商業網站中遙遙領先,並模糊了自我及與其有關的各種短暫的符號、迷思和網絡色情文化中的各種途徑(Jacobs 2007,2)。全球的網絡用戶都被鼓勵去建立和描述性化的自己,以便順利進入他人的數據庫,安排網絡邂逅或現實中的性約會。

找朋友公司(Friendfinder Inc.)是一所名為“多元(Various)”的矽谷公司在1996年成立的。多元領軍于多個性愛與約會的網站。在2007年12月,該網站破天荒地被 Penthouse以5億美元收購,成功地從傳統色情媒體轉型為自製色情,以順應以用戶提供內容和社交網絡的時代潮流。它從而成為全世界最大的成人娛樂企業網絡。集團旗下有多個子網站,其總註冊用戶數高達四千萬以上。該網站也努力迎合更多的文化和目標人群:例如年齡——seniorfinder.com, 宗教——BigChurch.com, JewishFriendfinder.com, 民族或國籍——AsiaFriendfinder.com, IndianFriendfinder.com, Amigos.com, GermanFriendfinder.com, FrenchFriendfinder.com, KoreanFriendfinder.com, 及 Filipino Friendfinder.com。這些網站向其用戶承諾各種充滿想像的自我呈現和性樂趣的可能與機會,但是它們是否真的也可以幫助身處於香港性文化的人們去探索刺激的性邂逅呢?雖然理論上香港人可以交換分享的性感圖片或視頻的類型並沒有受到很多限制,但是人們的選擇仍然被根深蒂固的文化行為、當地生活方式和這些網站本身就有的規範化告誡所影響。

在AFF.com上,大部份用戶都熟悉性別和種族在情色內容上的老生常談;大家不約而同的使用一些通用的、意想中的名字,圖片和個人簡介。 Nakamura (2002) 在Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity and Identity(網絡性感型:種族,民族和個人身份)一書中指出:數字網絡的確是一個轉型的社交空間,它讓人們在日漸興起的媒體文化中利用不同種族性別的刻板形象。她寫道:“網絡性感型是以機器支撐的人機互動的過程,在這個過程中種族形象即來源於日常文化邏輯又舒緩人們對於電腦社區對舊邏輯衝擊的焦慮(Nakamura 2002, 5) 現在已很難確定這種文化邏輯的始作俑者是誰,因為網絡用戶已合力創造出新媒體的全新語義,并向舊的文化邏輯提出挑戰。Nakamra感興趣的是種族身 份,種族多元性以及種族歧視態度是如何在機器支持的人際溝通中被催生出來的。她認為網絡性感型在網絡象徵手法中至關重要。

儘管本研究並沒特別注重AFF.com上的種族和個人種族身份,但也應用了Nakamura研究自我展示的哲學手法。人們往往決定以各種 “類型”包裝自己,以更有效地尋找伴侶,儘管有時這些象徵手法會明顯地讓潛在的伴侶感到反感或受傷。

在這些簡化了的社會面具後面,是否有更複雜更深層次的跨文化嘗試或挫折呢? 在偽裝成Lizzy Kinsey 后, 我希望能更深入地參與到改主流網絡中,去探索它禁忌空間和邊界。在此以前,Boyd (2007)也曾以參與示民族志研究員的身份觀察my space 和 facbook 在美國的年輕用戶中根深蒂固的社會分化。她的研究揭示了流行的網絡如何輕易地忽略小眾文化和族群文化的想像過程,再生產向上爬式的社會精英主義。 在這種社會不安定的背景下,香港渴求性愛人士在該富有解放潛質的性交網站中的自我呈現誕生了。網絡用戶探索不同的社交網絡,是因為他們希望巡遊和展示他們獨特的主體性性和他們的社交關係(Donath and Boyd, 2004, 72) 作為AFF.com的玩家,網絡用戶都把自己以及他們的社交圈時作為性化了的主體性和網絡性感型來展示。我們如何才能捕捉並情境化這些在電腦支持下產生的人類行為性化過程呢?通過作為“Lizzy Kinsey,一個學者型性愛機器”的身份在AFF.com與他人互動,我勤奮而富有同理心的尋找自己的答案並建立性聯繫,并邀請用戶合作,從而提供一種獨特的反思。

Lizzy kinsey自我民族志網上實驗

在建立Lizzy Kinsey網上實驗的理論層面時,本研究在方法論上為民族志方法在聆聽多重聲音的折射性和反思性層面作出貢獻。(Plummer1995: XI)。 Plummer收集解構性愛故事的方法允許人們在情感關係和文化層面進行相互交換。我建立學者型性愛機器的個人檔案以吸引人們,并定下一個性與智識合作的基調。最初,人們以符號互動和文化評論態的形態分享他們關於性的態度以及幻想。在第二階段,我邀請多位用戶在公眾地方面見面,進行網絡性愛方面的對話。

爲了處理好這些會晤,我逐漸對一種混合型寫作類型——日記與學術分析的結合——產生興趣。這類民族志研究常被視為於女性或女權主義作者相關,尤其考慮到她們常常嘗試使用一種投入而具有反射性和反思性的聲音來構造社會知識與親密關係方面 (Reed-Danayah 1997, 16) 。2006年八月,我上傳了一幅Lizzy Kinsey的頭像照片。她是一位四十歲左右雙性向的白種女人,是幻想中性愛學家Alfred Kinsey的孫女兒。在滿足我收集數據和採訪人的學術追求的同時,我也希望一試自己的性自我展示。我為自己拍攝裸照希望能夠吸引別人,并暗示我潛在的的研究目標。我選的照片是一張特寫,展示了我跪在地上的裸體半身像及胸部。我的大腿上放著一支筆。我在腹部寫上“你準備好了嗎?”的字樣。 這樣Lizzy Kinsey就建立起外向,性活躍的女性形象,她還以筆作為反射工具。這支筆可以被看作性遊戲或記錄故事的工具。最後,我跟隨AFF.com當下潮流, 處理圖片減掉面部的部份,以隱藏自己的真實身份。我的“網絡性感型”就這樣被建立起來了。這個偽裝能輕易被該網絡接納,但也隨時可以被與我交談的人瓦解。

圖片: Lizzy Kinsey 的第一張和第二章頭像圖片

在個人簡介的文字部分,我要求人們給我發送他們的性愛秘密以及性愛故事,或面對面地分享他們的經驗。反響是熱烈的。 Lizzy Kinsey平均每天都接收到五到六個回覆。我幾次重寫了這份檔案,但每次都保持比較泛化的風格,於是人們必須猜測這背後的動機。我用這份檔案來吸引挑逗那些想要對性愛感興趣的並在網上和我搭訕聊天的人,但慢慢的我會透露我其實是一個希望分享並記錄個體經驗的研究者。很多人聽到後馬上消失,有些人在和我談判交涉後也慢慢退出,但仍有一些人同意分享更進一步的信息。

我和其中的二十人有頻繁的書信來往。我通過電郵或面談對他們進行採訪。我選擇其中三次訪談引用分析,因為這三次訪談既可以闡明一些話題性的問題又在這種跨文化的約會環境中具有一定代表性。另外,選取擇這三次訪問也是基於本論文在理論和方法論層面的考慮,因為這項研究是基於同理心分析法的定性的跨種族(自我)民族志。其他的訪談將被用於一個關於香港網絡色情和網絡身份的大型研究。該研究已獲得香港城市大學策略研究基金的贊助,囊括多種地域人口分佈以及網絡社區。

Lizzy Kinsey的個人檔案讓我得以在一個特定環境中自由探索,充分利用我的性身體去吸引願意幫助我在知識上的研究。我也以她為機會反思自身的越界經驗,并測驗網絡性愛文化中集體物化自我的衝動。Wendy Chun (2006) 在Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia and the age of Cyber Optics 一書中指出,一個網絡用戶記錄書寫性愛日記也是求知慾的一種。 1. 在The History of Sexuality, Vol 1 The Will to Knowledge一書中,Foucault解釋了在新興的性科學(scientia sexualis)中性特質如何作為分析的權利來作用的。他批評壓抑的假設或是關於我們已然抑制了自身自然的性衝動的觀念。他揭示出正是我們所謂的性壓抑使性成為我們身份中的核心特性,并衍生出性與色情的話語。這股力量不僅存在對於於性激動與性關係的探索,也測試了社會的規範和道德邊界,更催生出新的知識設備以服務于和操控網絡文化自己 的產物。

通過我的個人檔案,我觸發了人們的幻想和慾望去進行一項不同尋常的實驗從而得到關於社會、性的知識。其中不乏閃光的慧眼,但通常更多的是無疾而終的婉語。雖然我無法從逐漸減少的龐大人群說寄來的回复中洞察更多,但他們每天的回應已經成為這個持續研究的固定部份,也讓我得以探索更多的約會儀式。一個多元化的研究團隊,基於 自身的特定文化背景和參與熱衷程度,無疑能從中觀察到其他的方面。如果當時我能和其他研究人員為此目標合作,通過他們的不同主體性和文化背景,得到其他有代表性的用戶群體的回覆,,這個研究一定會更加有趣。

香港Adult FriendFinder用戶的的性文化儀式

AFF.com主要為異性戀和約會行為服務。人們通過門戶網站和視頻傳輸在網站上分享照片和影片,以誘惑他人進行性活動。網站會員每天瀏覽網站并建 立起某程度上相當忠誠的朋友關係網。儘管網站鼓吹性地提出 “今晚就結交真實的性愛伴侶”這種暗示可以得到立竿見影效果的口號,同時它也是一個為困家中的人提供服務和消遣的虛擬休息室。人們用該網站上傳和修飾自己的檔案,和遠方或者匿名的伴侶在線交談,窺視圖片和影片集,或者玩簡單的遊戲,例如“淋濕襯衣大比拼”和“淘氣卡羅”。

每次當一名AFF會員收到另一位會員聯繫時,系統就會向他們的私人電子郵箱發送一則愉快的通告。此外,AFF.com每天都用廣告對會員進行狂轟濫 炸。會員平均每人每天至少也會收到四到五則廣告。這個配對引擎用盡各種手段鼓勵成員用各種的應用程序去享受性福,最終目標則是做愛。它就像一個嘮嘮叨叨的朋友,永遠關心你的性福,一直想要你儘快約會。用戶每天會收到三到四條此類鼓勵信息,內含已經聯繫過他們的其他成員的頭像照片和個人簡介。網站上鼓動性的用語例如“你需要現在就上床”或“你已經準備好了”隨處可見, 儘管這些用語也許不合時宜,在廣泛社交圈中不受待見。該網站對它希望吸引的多元人口缺乏敏感性。

再者,該網站假扮自己有潛力為不同文化地域不同社會群體的男女用戶提供性幫助,但卻在吸引不同文化不同性別的人的性趣的問題上顯得極其無知。例如, 該網站邀請互聯網色情公司投放廣告,提供點播視頻的選擇,但這些都不適用於亞洲顧客。在香港的網站,無論中文版還是英文版,美式豔照和白人模特的照片都琳琅滿目。該網站也在自己的社區中選出五到六白種女人裸照以吸引其他會員。網站並沒有積極嘗試包括其他的民族多元性,或者提供男超模來娛樂女性。

2007年12月,大約香港男女會員的比例是100,000:8,000。這種不平均的性別比例和公司其他網站的情況極為相似,登記的女性總是供不應求。因此,公開個人檔案的女性總是會遇到狂蜂浪蝶的請求,而爲了得到回覆男性必須忍飢耐渴數周之久。目前該網站在香港有中文版和英文版,但是來自中國或非中國背景的用戶大多用英語交流。這大概是由於網站從誕生之日起就沒有能夠吸引以廣東話為母語的群體。更多的情況是,它吸引的小數族群都說著不同的語言,於是大家都用 英文交流。該網站在2005年非常熱門,會員數目節節上升。我剛在2006年8月開始研究的時候,會員數目大概是60,000人,到我在2008年8月終 止研究時,會員數已是06年數字三倍之多。其他與香港人口規模相當的文化吸引的會員更多,但香港的網站也已成功締造出大量積極上傳內容和追求性福的網絡用 戶。

該網站在香港是一件新鮮事物。在香港,人們並不鼓勵去追求性化的自我呈現,或者探索自製色情環境,這點與西方文化截然不同。如同性愛學家Dr. Man Lune Ng解釋的,香港那個是一個深受西方影響的成熟的大都會,她有高科技的基礎設施和多元化的網絡群體。但是當地保守實力仍然在社會和道德領域暗流湧動。香港的激進群體和性活動家 努力爭取著積極面對性的文化氛圍,包括言論自由和基本的性權力。與此同時,性激進主義卻無法被他人容忍,而大陸的掃黃和網絡監控也對其施加了強 大的壓力。Dr.Ng 同時觀察到香港性文化中一條清晰的分水嶺,中國和西方的思想總是在激烈地鬥爭和碰撞。(Ng ManLune 2006)。在香港后殖民地社會裡,這些潛藏的歷史遺留更加使那些嘗試新的多文化氛圍的網絡用戶感到前所未有的憤怒和挫敗

然而,在香港的互聯網狩獵中,誰是文化上的贏家與輸家呢?因為中國的男性主體沒被充分代表,非中國籍男性就有更多空間去吸引女性。該網站實際上吸引 了很大比重的白人男子,他們大多利用網站來追求中國女性。中國女性也趁此機會嘗試跨文化約會,并修改他們的個人檔案來迎合非中國籍男子。爲了更好地理解這 種跨種族的慾望,讀者可以嘗試比較Karen Kelsky關於日本女人和她們對外國人或世界主義文化的浪漫幻想的分析。香港女人似乎偏愛或浪漫化“外國人”的身份和性吸引力,以抗衡中國文化中的性別角色期望(Kelsky 2001, 2).。同 時,她們使用那些被普遍接受的性化的女性特徵來迎合男用戶,這點稍後會更深入地討論。

我們搜索到許多以普通話或廣東話為母語,卻以英語來吸引他人的亞洲女性。她們喜歡用“妓女般”或“壞女孩式”的具有女性特徵的名字或網上人格。大部份情況下,她們選用的名字都反映出那些普遍的性感類型,而與自己的民族特質無關,例如“Exotic Allure” (情色誘惑), “Naughty Mommy”(淫蕩媽咪), “Daily Diva,” (白日名伶) ‘Wicket Angel”邪惡天使“ 和 “Sexy Bitch” (性感婊子)。然而,另有30%的女性會為自己貼上各種民族標籤,例如”HKWifey” (香港Wifey), “Sakura HK” (櫻花香港), “HK Lulu”(香港Lulu), “Your China Lover”(你的中國情人) or “Gloomy China”(憂鬱的中國).

在她們的照片裡,女性大多用裸體或胸部,大腿,臀部,陰部的特寫。男女用戶個人檔案的不同之處在于,女性使用的身體部份更為多元化,而男性大部份都是使用陰莖的圖片。對於異性換妻配偶來說,女性伴侶的裸體會更多被用作兩人的代表。舉例而言,一對50歲的亞裔-白人夫妻就主動聯繫Lizzy Kinsey,要求進一步的行動:“我們已經準備妥當了。我很樂意用我的舌頭在你的身體上書寫,會在你的身體上塗抹各種圖案。給我們發消息吧。”這對夫妻所 用的個人檔案圖片是亞裔女人的胸部。他們用這張圖片來隱藏他們實際的完整身份,以增加色誘成功的機會。

中國女性的個人檔案則建立起一類與過去對中國女人描述完全相反的形象:有禮貌,乖乖女,被動而愉快的床上伴侶。這種反差支持了中國女性主義學者的發 現:在觀看和消費性圖片活動中,女性越來越善於表達自己充滿性慾的身份(Ho and Tsang 2002, 71)。儘管女性情色的網絡性感型在Adult FriendFinder被廣泛接受,甚至被贊許,她們仍然是香港傳統父權性文化中的異類和叛逆者。

男性在AFF.com上的檔案更注重證明自己的身體有性能力,通常都會包括一幅勃起的陰莖的圖片。大約50%主動接觸Lizzy Kinsey的男性都用了這種圖片。此外,人們常用陳腔濫調的名字例如 “EndlessFun” (無盡的樂趣), “HK juicy lover”(香港多汁情人), “Black”(黑), or “HK_puppy_dong”(香港寵物dong)。 這種選擇缺乏想像力,積極推銷男性自尊。值得注意的是,由於來自不同背景的男性都有參與到這個潮流中,理想中的完美陰莖的概念被解構了。人們可以贊許這種自主和多元的趨勢,因為它允許男人參與到性特質和性能力的定義中樞(Lehman 2007, 111)。不過,這種陰莖崇拜的圖片的主導地位也加強了由男人主導的性意識形態,它期望女人的身體去適應及回應男人的強勢。儘管這些熱情的男性生殖器形狀大小顏色各不相同,它們都是對AFF.com廣告活動的“我們需要在這裡上床”這種的回應。

與網絡性感型面對面

AdultFriendFinder是一家不斷擴張的企業。它嘗試把他的商業概念以下形式重現:一個性獵人在尋找他/她的獵物,他/她並不介意對方的社會背景和階級屬性。網站大量使用大膽的廣告方案說服用戶提高他們的技術水平,學習如何上傳和微調合適的個人性感檔案。網絡用戶在自我物化和使用習慣用語把這種表達內化了,并把它變為讓他們在網上性圈中通行無阻的面具。此類性愛檔案易於操控,更改和從網站上徹底刪除。但在香港的性愛環境下,它們如何依附於我們這些社會演員呢?

Nakamura解釋道,我們不可能脫離自己的個人歷史,文化經歷和社會群體去單純使用網上的人格。Nakamura把網絡性感型理論化來解釋社會和種族焦慮,而我則想檢驗個人故事和面具使用背後蘊藏的複雜關係。我與一位叫“Double Trouble”的女人線上互動。原來這個人物背後是兩名分別叫做“nin” 和 “ning” 的中國女性。她們的個人檔案是這樣寫的。

“我們歡迎海外申請人,僅限白人…如果你耐性有限:所有電郵如果沒有近照或陰莖尺寸的都將被自動刪除…Ning 胸圍大小是34D, 她的乳頭當然是人間美味。她身高5尺2寸,皮膚光滑白嫩。她不喜歡被打屁屁! Nin是淘氣的小妹妹,今年30歲。她身高5尺6寸,胸部嬌小,乳頭敏感,膚色健康。她喜歡狗爬式時被打屁屁。“

Ning和nin都喜歡年輕性感,內心成熟世故,28到35歲之間的白人。他們必須是體育健將,身材高大臀部緊實。她們強調,她們尋找的陰莖必須硬如岩石,長達7寸。由於兩人私處都很緊窄,我們不要太寬厚的陰莖。如果我們想嘗試大的黑陰莖或9寸的陰莖,我們會適時修改檔案。

這份檔案聽起來非常幽默,也非常形象地對比了Nin 和Ning身體上的差異。但是檔案同時也使用了對民族種類,身體形態的典型描述。這很容易讓很多潛在的候選者反感或受傷。爲什麽她們要作出這樣的描述呢?其他用戶又是如 何反應的呢?我首先和Nin在一家餐廳見面。她熱情大方,但是是ning決定不參與此次研究。我們討論跨種族交往,她告訴我很多本地女孩都熱衷約會外國 人。我們幾天后互發了電郵,盡顯了兩人的壞女孩人格,她的文字十分幽默風趣。她解釋,她建立“Double Trouble”這個身份主要是爲了迎合男性的幻象,但后來卻也影響到自己的性偏好。事實上,她急於討論自己的越界經驗,正是這樣我們在情感上建立了共鳴。

我問她她和Ning的關係以及她決定與其他女人組隊的原因。Nin 回答:“我們在真實生活中並不是情侶。我們撫摸親吻過對方,但僅限於此。我們沒進行過口交或用手解決。”她後來解釋,她相信大部份女人在性取向上比男人更具有流動性。儘管 她不認為自己是雙性向的女人,她仍然很享受觀察女性同伴。在第二次面談中,Nin澄清她常因看見她的朋友和其他男人做愛的過程感到性致勃勃,因為她 會幻象他會怎麼跟自己做。

幾周后,我做了一次深入的訪談。她坐在電腦前解釋她如何瀏覽檔案,如何運用網站。她展示出完全不同類型的心情和人格,并表示實際上她並不喜歡 AFF.com上大部份男性的檔案。她希望有更深層次的交流。當我向她的檔案中指出關於種族的描述并問她爲什麽不喜歡中國人時,她否認自己有種族上的偏 好,并最終歸因于陰莖尺寸的問題:

我沒有特別偏好的種族,但是我喜歡高大天生陰莖較大的(大概6.5到7英寸)男人,因此大部份我約會的都是白人。當然不是所有白人陰莖都大,但平均 而言他們稍稍比亞洲男人尺寸上更有優勢。我還沒試過和黑人交往,真實生活中並沒有黑人找過我…我發現網站上許多女人(她們的博客或她們在他人博客上的評 論)都說尺寸不重要,但我不同意。6寸和7寸的差別是很大的。我的確喜歡稍微大點的,但8寸是我的極限。在我加入網站前,我以為6寸是白人平均尺寸以下 的,但最後發現原來平均都是這樣。

Nin後來承認她偏愛白人因為亞洲人陰莖小,她甚至後來補充印度人是例外,他們陰莖平均比較大一點。當我和她聊起她對陰莖大小和種族偏好的評論時,她用歷史文化的因素來合理化自己的態度:

我認為這同時是一個歷史問題。一些人認為白人在床上表現更佳,因為他們更有經驗。他們知道如何取悅女人,等等。但是你同時要考慮到所有在中國工作的外國人都有他們自己的公寓,但本地男人就不一定了。如果沒有自己的地方,你多久才會做一次愛呢?這一定是非常困難的,不是嗎?我也好奇是否有中國女人認為在白人面前可以更加開放而在亞洲人面前則不可以,特別是那些認為自己最後會嫁給亞洲人的。

Nin又補充,白人對她的吸引力可能跟她長大過程中看的電影,她接受的教育和她英國文學的專業有關。她表示對白人的渴望來源於複雜的個人需求和歷史 原因。她最後也爲了自己的利益著想而用上了各種相關的老調子。她網上的人格“機會主義壞女孩”讓她輕易控制了AFF的點擊率,并隱藏起性格中更脆弱和更服從社會規範的層面。她採用這份檔案讓她跨文化約會的成功率更高,并超越本地文化中對女性性慾和性愛多樣化的限制。

Kelsky (2001)觀察到,日本女人處處迴避陷入本地文化的陷阱,貌似是減弱了傳統關係的力量,實際上卻恰恰強化了這股力量。只約會白人的叛逆壞女孩者是一個類似的對種族主義模糊不清的例子。Double Trouble很明顯嘗試通過採用一個在AFF社區中吸引人的名字來左右通吃,但同時也踐踏了中國傳統文化的規範,冒犯了男性群體中的一大部份。

爲了找出男性如何採用和回應網絡性感型的, 我也和AFF.com上的幾個男性用戶進行了面對面的訪談。第一位同意受訪的是Damon Lust, 一個在香港居住多年,30好幾的白人。他實際上是告知我AFF.com風靡香港的人。他知道我是一名研究人員,在私人層面上他給了我良好的祝願。我們成為朋友后,他告訴了我很多他自己的性經歷,并分享了他的想法。

我通常會跟他討論他跟中國女人或夫婦的關係。Damon也承認AFF.com上白人男人和中國女人來往很多。他對以他這樣的外國人為目標的中 國女人很感興趣。他自己創作的檔案也符合跨種族交往的願望。他描述自己是個英俊,性感,品位超脫,希望約會本地女孩的外國人。Damon非常熱衷幫我分析 該網站總體的文化,以及他對社會階級和權力關係的深層理解。

網站上正經歷某種中國革命,但是這次革命是女性的。中國男人看來不感興趣,雖然他們很多有婚外情,經常召妓或在中國大陸養著情人。像我一樣的鬼 佬利用了這種情況,因為這意味著有很多得不到性滿足的中國女人,並且她們比較容易到手。但是這裡面革命的風暴正在蔓延,這些女人開始控制局勢,并樂在其中。她們談論并炫耀這些經歷。她們擁有的情人比你想像中還多。當然互聯網讓她們能夠更輕易的參與其中。你會吃驚地發現有多少受人尊敬的女人也外出尋 歡。

機會主義壞女孩的類型正影響著AFF.com社區裏面的社會關係,讓中國女人掌握吸引或拒絕外國人的主動權。Damon認為女人會扮演專橫而充滿控制慾望的角色來吸引他。他最初登入AFF.com的時候,他嘗試跟一個性方面很開放的中國女人見面。她寫信息給他:“她現在有被輪奸的心情。”然而他當時並沒有自己的 裸照,而她要求看照片,所以他失去了機會。他告訴我他也因同樣的原因被“Double Trouble”拒絕過。

雖然AFF.com採用會員制,Damon認為總體而言體現了香港社會在逐步民主化。他自己能夠和來自不同階層背景的中國人或白人一起外出。他能明顯看出AFF.com的階層和香港傳統上流社會或國際主義階層的分別,他解釋道:

網站也許仍然是在香港工作的外國人所主導的,但這群人和香港社會的上流階層截然不同。香港是一個金錢至上的城市,不只是非常富有的人才會這樣追逐財富。上流階層只會與自己階層的人約會做愛,他們並不真的需要互聯網或電子科技。他們有上流妓女和頂級的應召服務。香港商務階層的大量白人現在都用網絡性愛來解決隨意性愛的需要,而以前,他們需要找性工作者來滿足這種需求。

同時,我也和Pong Leung,一個44歲的中國男人進行了多次面談。他是一名運動教練,很主動地分享了他對權力關係和社會階層的看法。他在檔案中用了一位美國名人的名字,并添加了他發達的後背肌的圖片。他一點也不介意如我面對面交談,并告訴我他斷斷續續有超過十年的網上約會的經歷。實際上,他曾經在AFF.com上給我發 過一條信息,跟我說他希望和一個金髮美人發生性關係。我問他為什麽會有這樣的想法,他回覆道:

親愛的你好,我是一個香港本地人,希望跟一位西方女性發生性關係。我年輕的時候,曾看過最初版本的霹靂嬌娃。我被片中的女孩深深吸引……Kate Jackson, Jacqueline Smith 和金髮女郎……從此,我就覺得金髮女郎是世界上最美麗的造物。因此我很希望能和一個金髮女郎發生關係……我很努力學習英文……健身……希望終有一天我能實現這個心願……所以,很希望你能回覆我,看看大家是不是能繼續交往下去。我們可以去游泳,享受日光浴……在慵懶的午後躲在酒店房裡纏綿……還是那句,我敬候佳音,相信我們在一起會很開心的。

最後,我約了Pong Leung吃午飯見面。初次見面,他給我留下友善,害羞,和樸實醇厚的印象。他堅持說我很性感,並且答應了繼續參與我的民族志研究。他對他的外貌和英語能力都很不自信。第二次我請他參與一個錄影的採訪。採訪的場景是他在瀏覽AFF.com的是偶。在這次採訪中,他告訴我他在網站上獲得性約會所要面對的重重困難。他給我看了15個中國女人的個人簡介,上面都使用了“只要西方男人”甚至“只限白人”這個帶有種族歧視意味的詞彙。他承認這讓他覺得很沮喪,但是他尊重每個人選擇自己口味的權利。他幾乎肯定他不會獲得任何與中國女性約會的機會,但也並非對此完全絕望。他對隨意的性事很有興趣,但他相信自己最後也許也會結婚, 或者從其他渠道獲得一個固定的伴侶。他用這個網站來瀏覽個人資料,以及他有興趣的女人的自拍照片。他在考慮終止他的會員身份,因為他發現當中的種族/權力 氣氛在往對他不利的方向發展。

結語

這項關於香港社會動態和網絡性感型的分析是以長期的民族志案例研究為基礎的。通過與他人進行網上互動或面對面交流,我逐步收集資料以及採訪數據。這些交流很難建立,只能在我對這些大型社交網絡中誘惑遊戲的過程的長期觀察中循序漸進。案例研究重點關注的是一群文化背景迥異的香港男女,他們精通電腦,性趣滿 滿,相互配合地建立自己的個人形象和性身份。本章研究的出發點是瞭解人們通過這個特定的網絡尋找性伴,自製色情內容,以及採用特定方式自我展示的原因。由於我需要親自參與其中,找出箇中聯繫,我採用了偽裝的身份以及色情的網絡性感型來觀察他人,發起對話,保留聊天記錄用作研究的原材料。

通過這種參與式觀察和訪談,我想強調這些個人檔案的不同類型是經過集體測試也是被人們集體採納使用的。這些類型標籤方便快捷,幽默生動,人們能輕而易舉地控制當 中的主體性。香港的尋歡人士也廣泛採用這些網絡性感型,以及他們乏味,淫穢又帶種族歧視的含義來創造世界主義主體,來跳脫出本地對隨意性愛的偏見。逃離到異國地域能給人們提供新鮮的刺激,但這其實更強化了保守中產階級的世界主義,而非激進性文化 (Kelsky 2001, 15) 。

通過我的觀察和對話,我看到了性快感,性解放,以及男女間緊張的種族關係以及不屑一顧的態度。值得注意的是,中國女性特別喜歡使用機會主義的個人簡 介來吸引外國人,儘管她們同時也會使用性慾過剩的元素來使自己與本地文化區分開。利用Lizzy Kinsey的身份,在成為網站一份子慾望的驅動下,我邊玩邊進行調查,對我而言這也呈現了一個跨越種族慾望的空間去超越我在本地的異化。我建立了自己的人格,她是 網站上一個帶點壞女孩味道的性愛機器。但相對學術研究而言這也是一種離經叛道的。在透過我自己的網絡性感型聯繫到不同的人后,我開始對他們多層次的身份有更 深刻的認識和理解,我等待揭露更深入的故事。

網絡性愛身份及網絡性關係歷史上就與非性愛的情感交流(例如聊天室或在線角色扮演遊戲)涇渭分明。其差異在於,網絡用戶首先以忠誠互助的網絡朋友身份交流情感,逐步建立親密關係,最終轉化為性愛或友誼 (McKenna 2007, 121) 。如果我們把AFF.com歸到網上親密關係的範疇,我們可以看出網站最顯著的任務就是在儘量少甚至沒有前戲的前提下安排真實生活中的性邂逅。大部份人都難以坦然接受這種新型的性愛。在這種意義上說,AFF上的自我展示與香港人使用的其他約會網站或大型社交網站(例如MySpace和 Facebook)都全然不同。一般約會網站上的人大多會寫複雜,冗長甚至理想化的個人簡介去包裝自己的成長歷程或描述將來自己希望成為的 人 (Ellison, Heino and Gibbs, 2006, 15) 。AFF會員則把精簡的個人身份用作面具來隱藏自己,卻同時又揭示色情化的自己,並且跨越各種界限。這種策略讓他們可以投入製作自己的色情內容,因為這些面具本身已在他們的群體中備受認可,而外面的世界則對此一無所知,或認為它們愚不可及。Nakamura表示,網絡性感型一點都不蠢,相反,它是歷史上邊嵌有文化期望的生命歷程。因此,我們不能單純把它看作轉瞬即逝的字符。我個人化的選擇性民族志研究方法則是為了能讓我真誠地結交朋友,能看到他們面具後面的故事。如此一來,作為在性與文化發現之旅中上下求索的研究者,我自己的慾望和挫敗也得到了受邀人員的回應。

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and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction. Berkeley and LA: University of California Press.

Nakamura, Lisa. 2002. Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on

the Internet. New York: Routledge.

Ng, Man Lune. 2006.  Hong Kong. The International Encyclopedia

of Sexuality at Humboldt University. http:// www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/IES/hongkong.html (accessed October 5, 2009)

Plummer, Ken. 1995. Telling Sexual Stories: Power, Change, and

Social Worlds. New York and London: Routledge.

Reed-Danahay, Deborah, ed. 1997.  Auto/Ethnography: Rewriting the

Self and the Social. Oxford: Berg.

Tancer, Bill. 2007.Facebook: More popular Than Porn. Time

Magazine,http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1678586,00.html (accessed January 2, 2009)


[1] My interviewing process ideally consisted of three phases. First of all, I asked people to explainand evaluate their acts of socializing and managing identities within the AFF.com web site. Secondly, I asked them to talk about sex culture in Hong Kong and how they believed the web site was making a difference for Chinese and non-Chinese web users. Thirdly, in some cases I asked people to tell me a sex story about one of their more eventful encounters.  I asked people in advance if I could record these conversations by means of audio or videorecording, and some people gave me permission to do so. I tried to maintain a comfortable “soft” and “warm” atmosphere for culling sensitive information.

我的採訪過程理論上包括三個階段。首先,我請人們評估自己在AFF.com網站上的社交行為和身份操控。之後,我請他們談論香港的性文化,以及他們時候相信該網站正在改變中國和非中國用戶的性文化生活的。最後,在某些訪問中,我會請受訪者講述一個他們親身經歷的最戲劇化的性故事。在訪問前,我都會就錄音或攝像一事徵求人們的同意。他們中的一些人表示同意。為了獲取那些比較敏感的信息,我還努力營造一種令被訪者輕鬆宿舍的“溫柔“”溫暖“的氛圍。

[2] For some examples of artists who have created works arising from their participation in sex sites, see the work of Isaac Leung and Chantal Zakari. Zakari’s book webAffairs is an artist’s documentary of an adult video web community. She took on the identity of ”Show-n-tell” to document her story of being a participant in this community http://www.webaffairsbook.info/webAffairs1.html (accessed Oct 4, 2009). Leung is a Hong Kong artist and scholar who took on the identity of “Japan boy” to investigate power relations within gay cyber sex sites in his project: “The Impossibility of Having Sex with 500 Men in a Month-I’m an Oriental Whore” http://isaacleung.com/orientalwhore/ (accessed Nov 1, 2009)

更多關於藝術家參與性網站活動後說創造的作品,請參考Issac Leung和Chantal Zakari的作品 WebAffairs。 這是一部藝術家創作的關於成人視頻網絡社群的紀錄片。她利用社群參與者“Show-n-no-tell“的身份記錄了她的參與故事。http://www.webaffairsbook.info/webAffairs1.html (accessed Oct 4, 2009). Leung 是一位香港藝術家和學者,他曾經使用”日本男孩“這個身份來調查同性戀的性網站中的權力關係。詳見他的作品The Impossibility of Having Sex with 500 Men in a Month-I’m an Oriental Whore” http://isaacleung.com/orientalwhore/ (accessed Nov 1, 2009)

Chapter Four: Lizzy Kinsey and the Adult FriendFinders: An Ethnographic Case Study about Internet Sex and Pornographic Self-Display in Hong Kong.

Chapter Four:

Lizzy Kinsey and the Adult FriendFinders:

An Ethnographic Case Study about Internet Sex and Pornographic Self-Display in Hong Kong.

(Previously published in Culture, Health and Sexuality, Vol 12, Issue 6, May 2010)

Abstract

This chapter investigates web users, their sexual behaviors and self-representations as observed on the sex and dating site http://www.adultfriendfinder.com. The website is a massive social network g(大型社交网络 da xing she jiao wang luo)for sexual self-display and encourages members to find real-life partners for sex–whether it be casual sex affairs between singles, swinging couples, or extra-marital affairs between “aba” (attached but available) individuals and their lovers.  The paper analyzes the imaging strategies of Chinese and non-Chinese web users  in reference to a playful adoption of commonplace notions of sexiness as “cybertypes.” The aim is to reflect on these online behaviors as changing sexual culture, while also debating the use of libidinal online personalities as a cognitive apparatus within sex research. The paper thus explores sexual identity within social networks as auto-ethnography, and the dual identities and boundary-crossing agencies of web-based researchers and their subjects.

Key Words: Internet Sex, Pornography, Globalization, Internet Culture

Introduction

This chapter examines a two year case study carried out in Hong Kong and looks at cultures of self-display on the massive social network http://www.adultfriendfinder.com (hereafter AFF.com). The words, fantasies and imaging choices of web users are extensively quoted, though they wish to remain anonymous in this study. Women and men from Chinese and non-Chinese cultural backgrounds shared their sex experiences with the author through online chat, story-telling, and face-to-face interviews. Some of my interlocutors on the web site were willing to answer my questions through chat or email exchanges, while others were interested in a face-to-face meeting. I arranged these meetings in public spaces like restaurants or city parks. In most cases, I tried to have sincere and pleasant encounters and I interviewed people two or three times, while alternating the interviewing environment. I also made efforts to socialize and relax with people outside these sessions by having lunch or dinner beforehand or afterwards. [1]

An online personality was created that would suit the goals and philosophy of AAF.com, while allowing the author to explore sexual self-display(含性暗示的自我展示 han xing an shi de zi wo zhan shi) and the cultural context surrounding the website. In analyzing online exchanges and face-to-face encounters with Adult Friendfinders, I wanted to find out why culturally diverse women and men in Hong Kong had decided to use this US-based  corporate network to seduce each other into the bedroom? Why were people adopting its sexualized personas and simplified pornographic identities as “cybertypes” ?  Additionally, wanted to find out what their cultural associations with this network was and how was had been stimulating, privileging or hampering the dating game?

My study was restricted to people who use the site for arranging non-commercial sexual encounters, though it is also used female and male sex workers to attract customers. For instance, a 40 year old Asian woman “Poppy Nipple” is interested in erotic chat and email only and  explains in her detailed profile that she works as a model for nude photography. Her language is very sexually charged and her profile picture shows a sexy lingerie outfit from the waist down. She writes that she is not a sex worker and is interested in using the site to develop online sex chats, though it is of course unclear what her real motivations are for using this site. Even though the website hosts such fuzzy work/play identities, the online strategies of sex workers fall beyond the scope of this chapter.

DIY Pornography: Living and Breathing with Cybertypes

AFF.com is a massive transnational social network run by a corporate-driven American entertainment company that allows people to buy a membership and upload sexually explicit photos and videos.  It is one of the leading commercial websites of an ongoing trend towards Internet sexuality as participatory digital media or DIY pornography (自制色情内容 zi zhi se qing nei rong), involving a blurring between selfhood and the ephemeral signs, myths, and pathways of netporn culture (Jacobs 2007, 2). Web users across the globe are encouraged to formulate and depict sexualized selves to get access to other people’s databases and arrange cyber encounters or actual sex dates.
Friendfinder Inc. was founded in 1996 by a Silicon Valley company called Various that pioneered different sex and dating sites. In December 2007 the site was sold for a ground-breaking US$500 million to Penthouse, making a successful adjustment from traditional pornographic media to DIY pornography — the era of user-generated content and social networking. It thus became the world’s largest corporate network for adult entertainment, owning a booming family of sex sites and a combined membership of more than forty million. The network now caters to a wide range of cultures and communities based on various demographics such as age: seniorfinder.com, religion: BigChurch.com, JewishFriendfinder.com, and ethnicity or nationality: AsiaFriendfinder.com, IndianFriendfinder.com, Amigos.com, GermanFriendfinder.com, FrenchFriendfinder.com, KoreanFriendfinder.com, and Filipino Friendfinder.com. These websites promise endless possibilities for inclusive and imaginative self-display and sexual joy, but are they really helping people to experience stimulating encounters within the sex culture of Hong Hong? Although there are in theory very few restrictions on the kinds of sexy pictures and videos Hong Kong people can exchange, their choices are affected by engrained cultural behaviors, local social lifestyles and normative preaching by the expansionist corporate site itself.

One of the projected behaviors on AFF.com seems to be an assumed familiarity with pornographic clichés of gender and race; or a collective use of generic and predictable names, images and profiles. Nakamura (2002) has pointed out in Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity and Identity that digital networks are indeed socially transformative spaces precisely in how they allow people to play with stereotyped depictions of race and gender within emerging media cultures. As she writes: “Cybertyping is the process by which machine-enabled interactivity gives rises to images of race that both stem from a common cultural logic and seek to redress anxieties about the ways that computer-enabled communication can challenge these old logics” (Nakamura 2002, 5). It is hard to pinpoint who the perpetrators of this cultural logic are, as web users collaborate in creating the semantics of a new medium while equally challenging older cultural logics.  Nakamura is interested in how racial identity, racial diversity and racist attitudes are engendered in machine-enabled communication practices and believes that cybertyping performs a crucial role within the signifying practices of networks.

Even though this analysis of AFF.com is not primarily focused on race and racial identity, it applies Nakamura’s philosophical approach to studying self-display. People may decide to disguise as “types” in order to maximize their chances at finding partners, though these signifying practices would obviously be hurtful and off-putting to potential partners.  What would be the more complex inter-cultural probings and frustrations behind the use of a simplified social mask?  Disguised as Lizzy Kinsey, I wanted to get more deeply involved in this mainstream network and witness its spaces of transgression as well as its boundaries. Boyd (2007) for example has equally functioned as a participant ethnographer of the social networks MySpace and Facebook to witness deep-rooted social divisions (社会分化 she hui fen hua) amongst US teens. Her study reveals how popular networks easily reproduce a social elitism or ethos of upward mobility that leaves behind the imaging processes of fringe or minority cultures. The self-representations of Hong Kong sex seekers are read against this background of social unrest within a potentially emancipatory sex site. Web users exploit social networks because they want to parade and display their subjectivities and social connections (Donath and Boyd 2004, 72). As players within AFF.com, web users show themselves and their social circles as sexualized subjectivities and cybersexual types. How can we capture and contextualize this process of sexualization produced by machine-generated human behaviors? Through my interactions with AFF.com as “Lizzy Kinsey, scholarly sex machine,” I acted diligently and emphatically to find my own answers and sexual connections, while inviting web users to cooperate in generating a unique kind of reflection.

The Lizzy Kinsey Online Experiment as Auto-Ethnography

In developing a theoretical perspective on Lizzy Kinsey’s online experiment, the study contributes to ethnography as a reflective and reflexive hearing of voices (Plummer 1995: XI). Plummer’s methods of garnering and dissecting sex stories allows for emotive-relational and culturally embedded exchanges. [2] I created the profile of a scholarly sex machine to attract people and to negotiate a sexual-intellectual kind of cooperation. At first instance, people started sharing sexual testimonies and fantasy stories as a form of symbolic interaction and cultural commentary. At a second stage, I asked several people to come out in a public space.and have a dialogue about Internet sex

In order to process these encounters, I became interested in mixing the genres of diary writing and academic analysis. This type of ethnographic enquiry has been associated with female or feminist writers and their attempts to maintain empathic and reflective voices to facilitate social knowledge and intimacy (Reed-Danayah 1997, 16). In August 2006, I uploaded the profile of Lizzy Kinsey, a 40 year old Caucasian bi-sexual woman, and the imagined granddaughter of American sexologist Alfred Kinsey. Alongside my scholarly ambitions to garner data and interview people, I wanted to experiment with my own sexual self-display. I wanted to attract web users and photographed my naked body, while trying to give a hint of my underlying research goals. The picture I selected shows a close-up of my naked torso and breasts, while sitting down on my knees with a pen lying on top of my legs. I have scribbled a written text on my stomach that reads “Are you Ready?” Lizzy Kinsey was cast as an outgoing and sexually active female who uses a pen as a reflective tool. The pen could be seen as an instrument to play with sexually or to record stories.  Lastly, I followed the AFF.com fashion of the day and disguised my identity by cropping the picture and not showing my face. Hence I had created my own “cybertype” , which could be easily accepted within the network but was also a disguise that could be dismantled by my interlocutors.

Fig. Lizzy Kinsey’s first and second profile picture

In the written part of the profile, people were asked to send me their erotic secrets and stories, or to share experiences in a face-to-face encounter. The response was overwhelming as Lizzy Kinsey received five to six responses on a daily basis. The profile was rewritten a couple of times but it was always generic so that people would have to guess about the underlying motivations. By using the profile, I attracted and teased people who were interested in sex and in picking me up or chatting online, but I slowly revealed to them that I was a researcher who wanted to share and record experiences. Many people simply disappeared at that point, or they masturbated their way through these negotiations and then dropped off, but some remained on board and were willing to share more in-depth information.

I had extensive correspondences with about twenty people and conducted interviews with them either by email or through face-to-face meetings. I have selectively quoted from three of these interviews to elucidate topical issues within a representative cross-cultural dating environment. The second reason for highlighting these peculiar dialogues has to do with the theoretical and methodological focus of this essay, which is a qualitative and empathic analysis of cross-racial encounters as (auto) ethnography. The other interviews will be used in a larger study of Internet pornography and cyber identities in Hong Kong, which is funded by a Strategic Research Grant at City University of Hong Kong  and consists of an analysis of different demographics and web communities.

The profile of Lizzy Kinsey allowed me to explore a particular environment and make use of my sexual body while attracting people who would help me along in my intellectual pursuit.  I also used it as a tool to reflect on my own boundary-crossing experiment and to test out a collective self-objectifying impulse in Internet sex culture. Wendy Chun (2006) points out in Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia and the Age of Cyber Optics that a web user’s tendency to create sexual dairies and archives is part of a will to knowledge. [1]. In The History of Sexuality, vol 1 The Will To Knowledge, Foucault explains the functioning of sexuality as an analysis of power related to the emergence of a science of sexuality (“scientia sexualis”). He criticizes the repressive hypothesis, or the widespread belief that we have repressed our natural sexual drives. He shows that what we think of as repression of sexuality actually constitutes sexuality as a core feature of our identities, and has produced a proliferation of sex and pornography discourses. This force not only lays in the search for sexual arousal or relationships, or the testing of moral boundaries and social norms, but also in the urge to build a new knowledge apparatus around habits of navigating and manipulating the products of web culture itself.

Through my profile I triggered people’s fantasies and desires to explore an unusual experiment at gathering social-sexual knowledge. It produced sparkling insights, but they were indeed often ephemeral and did not always lead to further contact. I was unable to get more significant insights from a large number of people who gradually dropped out, though their daily responses became a legitimate part of the ongoing experiment as a way to explore the dating rituals.   A more diversified research team would no doubt have observed other aspects based on their own specific cultural backgrounds and degrees of willingness to participate.  It would have been very interesting to collaborate with other researchers in this goal and to garner responses about other representative user groups, by employing several other subjectivities and cultural parameters.

The Cultural Sex Rituals of Adult FriendFinders in Hong Kong

AFF.com is primarily a site for heterosexual sex and dating activities, where people share pictures and movies via web portals and video transmission to seduce others into sex encounters. Members use the web site for daily browsing and to build a somewhat loyal network of friends. Even though the site spreads a promotional rhetoric of browsing for sex with instant results, as indicated by its slogan ”meet real sex partners tonight! (今晚就结交真实的性爱伴侣 jin wan jiu jie jiao zhen shi de xing ai ban lv)” it is also a virtual lounge with services and distractions for those who are stuck at home. People use the site to upload and tweak their profiles,  to conduct live chats with remote or anonymous partners, to spy on photographs and video albums, or play silly games such as the Wet T-shirt Contest and the Naughty Carol Contest.

Every time an AFF member is contacted by another member, a happy upbeat announcement is sent to their private email account. In addition, AFF.com sends out a daily deluge of ads to its members, who would easily receive a daily average of four to five ads. The match-making engine is unrelenting and uses all its automated skills to encourage members to use various applications which will lead to them having sex. It is like a nagging friend who worries for your sexual well-being and wants you to go on a date as soon as possible.  Members are given three to four encouraging messages every day, containing lists and thumbnail photographs of other members who have already contacted them, members who live in their vicinity and are ready for action, or members who match their profile.  The network uses a pushy “you need to get laid (你需要现在就上床作爱 ni xu yao xian zai jiu shang chuang zuo ai)” or “you are ready!(你准备好了 ni zhun bei hao le)” rhetoric everywhere, even though such rhetoric would be clearly out of place or undesirable within a wide range of social circles. The site simply displays a lack of sensitivity towards the diverse demographics it is hoping to attract.

Moreover, the site pretends to be a potentially enormous sex aid for female and male users across different cultural regions and demographics, but it actually does not show any knowledge about gender or cultural differences in arousing members. For instance, the site has invited Internet pornography companies to place advertising and to offer video-on-demand selections, but these do not cater to Asian customers. When opening the Hong Kong site in either English or Chinese, there is an abundant presence of American porn(美式艳照 mei shi yan zhao) and Caucasian models(白种模特 bai zhong mo te). The site also selects five to six naked pictures of female Caucasians within the AFF community to lure other members. Very few attempts are made to include ethnic diversity or offer male top model teasers for females.

In December 2007 there were about 100,000 male members in Hong Kong versus 8000 females. This uneven gender ratio is similar in most of their other  websites, as there currently is a shortage of women who want to sign up. As a result of the uneven gender ratio, women who open profiles are automatically swamped with requests, while males may be starved for a reply for weeks on end.  In Hong Kong the site is now available in Chinese and in English, but web users from Chinese and non-Chinese backgrounds mostly correspond with each other in English. This is probably due to the fact that the Hong Kong site from its inception has failed to attract the Cantonese-speaking cultural majority. Rather, it has attracted web users from several ethnic and linguistic backgrounds who all correspond in English. The site became very popular around 2005 and has continued to expand its membership. It had 60,000 members when I started my research in August 2006 and almost tripled its membership by the time I ended it in August 2008. Other cultures with a population size close to Hong Kong have attracted a larger membership, but the Hong Kong website has nonetheless spawned a substantial group of web users who actively upload content and pursue sex.

The site is a novel phenomenon in Hong Kong, where people are not encouraged to pursue sexualized self-representation or explore DIY porn environments as people have in Western cultures. As sexologist Dr. Man Lune Ng explains, Hong Kong is a sophisticated and Western-influenced metropolis with a high-tech infrastructure and diverse web communities, but there are severe undercurrents of moral and social conservatism. Hong Kong’s progressive communities and sex activists strive towards a sex-positive cultural climate, including freedom of speech and basic sexual rights. At the same time sex activism is hampered by intolerant attitudes and by mainland China’s war on pornography and its Internet censorship.  Dr. Ng also observes that a clear sexual split is found in Hong Kong sex culture as the Chinese and Western mindsets often fight and crash vigorously with each other (Ng Man Lune 2006). These historically embedded tensions within Hong Kong’s post-colonial society contribute to a heightened atmosphere of anger and frustration amongst web users who are trying out a new multi-cultural environment.

But who are the cultural winners and the losers amongst the Internet hunters in Hong Kong? Since the Chinese male majority is underrepresented, there is indeed more room for non-Chinese males to attract women. The site has indeed attracted a large percentage of Caucasian males who use the site to hook up with Chinese women. Chinese women have taken advantage of this situation to test out cross-racial dating and cater their profiles to non-Chinese males. In order to understand this model of cross-racial desire, one could attempt a comparison with Karen Kelsky’s analysis of Japanese women and their romantic fantasies about foreigners or cosmopolitan culture. Hong Kong women seem to favor or romanticize the “foreign” status and sex  appeal of the site to resist gendered expectations within the Chinese culture (Kelsky 2001, 2). At the same time, as will be shown in more detail later, they use commonplace notions of sexualized femininity to cater to male users.

Searching through a collection of Asian females who use English to seduce others but whose mother tongue is Cantonese or Mandarin, we detect a wide range of names and personas associated with “whore-like” or “bad girl” femininity (妓女般或坏女孩式的女性特质 ji nv ban huo huai nv hai shi de nv xing te zhi). In most cases the chosen names refer to universally sexy types and do not have any reference to ethnicity, such as “Exotic Allure”, “Naughty Mommy”, “Daily Diva”, “Wicked Angel” and “Sexy Bitch However, in about 30% of the cases, women include various ethnic labels, such as “HKWifey”, “SakuraHK ”, “HK Lulu”, “Your China Lover” or “Gloomy China”.

For their photographs, females mostly use images of their nude bodies or close-up pictures of their breasts, legs, buttocks, or vaginas. The difference between female and male profiles is that women use a larger variety of body parts, while males largely use a picture of their cocks. In the case of heterosexual swinging couples, the naked body of the female partner is often chosen to represent the couple. For instance, a 50-year old inter-racial Asian-Caucasian couple approached Lizzy Kinsey with this request for action: “We are more than ready. I would love to write on your body with my tongue and we could trace some interesting lines on you. Do drop us a line.” The profile image used by this couple is that of the Asian’s woman’s breasts, and they use this image to hide a fuller identity to maximize their chances at sexual seduction.

The Chinese female profiles establish a reversal of normative depictions of Chinese women as either well-behaved, good girls, or passive and pleasantly subdued bed partners. These reversals support the findings of Chinese feminist scholars who have found that women increasingly articulate lustful identities around acts of watching and consuming sex images (Ho and Tsang 2002, 71). Even though female erotic cybertypes are accepted and applauded within the cultural context of Adult Friendfinder, they are still at odds with or rebelling against the traditional patriarchal sex culture of Hong Kong.

Male profiles on AFF.com are focused on a potent sexual body, including a picture of the erect cock. About 50% of males who approached Lizzy used an image of their erect penis. Additionally, people used clichéd names like “EndlessFun”, “HK juicy lover”, “Black”, or “HK_puppy_dog.” These choices can be seen as lacking imagination or selling a phallic male ego, but it is important to note that males from diverse backgrounds participate in this trend and thus deconstruct of the idea of the ideal penis. One could indeed applaud this trend towards autonomy and diversification because it allows men to participate in definitions of sexuality and potency (Lehman 2007, 111).  Nonetheless, the dominance of a phallic images reinforces a ideology of a forceful male seduction where women’s bodies are expected to adapt and act accordingly. Even though they cast the keen male genital in various shapes, sizes and skin colors, they also simply echo the “We all need to get laid here” rhetoric of the AFF.com ad campaigns.

Face-to-Face Meetings with Cybertypes

Adult FriendFinder is an expansionist business venture trying to sell the image of a euphoric sex hunter who finds his/her prey regardless of social divisions and backgrounds. The web site uses aggressive ad campaigns to convince web users to improve their technological competencies and learn how to upload and fine-tune suitably sexy profiles. Web users have internalized this rhetoric through self-objectification and the use of cliches, which can function as a useful mask within the online sex zone.The generic profiles of sexuality can be easily manipulated, fine-tuned or deleted on a website, but how do they cling to us as social agents within the Hong Kong sex environment?

Nakamura explains that one cannot just employ online personas without tapping into personal histories and cultural experiences of ethnic and social groups.  Just as Nakamura theorizes cybertypes to reveal social and racial anxieties,  I wanted to examine human stories and complexities behind the use of a mask. I interacted with the women of the profile Double Trouble, two Chinese women who also call themselves Nin and Ning. Their profile read as follows:

We welcome overseas applicants, Caucasians only…For those who have short concentration span: All emails without a recent face pic and cock size will be banned immediately … Ning has 34D bra size and her nipples of course are delicious. She is 5’2″ and has the smoothest white skin. She hates being spanked! Nin is the naughty younger sister, 30 years old. She is 5’6″, has small tits, keen nipples and a nice tan. She loves being spanked during doggy.”

Ning and Nin both love young hot white guys between 25 and 38, but not young at heart. They must be athletic and very tall and they must not have saggy asses. They specify that the penis they were looking for has to be a “Rock hard average cock (hump the magic seven …): 7 inches. Not too thick as we both have tight pussies. We will update our profile accordingly if they want to venture into huge black cocks or nine inchers.”

The tone of the profile was indeedhumorous and included a pictorial comparison between the bodies of Nin and Ning. But the profile also included those typical references to ethnic categories and body types that could be off-putting or offensive to many potential candidates. Why did they use these references and how were members responding?  I first met with Nin in a restaurant where she was very friendly and generous, but her partner Ning had decided not to participate in the study. We talked about inter-racial dating and she told me that many local girls still dream about dating foreigners. We had an email exchange a few days later and the tone of her messages were humorous and witty, as we were both acting out our bad girl personas. She explained that she developed the “Double Trouble” identity primarily to cater to male fantasies, but it had indeed started to affect her sexual preferences. As a matter of fact, she was eager to discuss her boundary-crossing experiences and this is how we bonded on an emotional level.

I asked her about her relationship with Ning and why she had decided to team up with another female. Nin replied: “We aren’t lovers in real life. We have touched and kissed each other but that’s it. No oral sex or hand jobs between us.” She explained later that she believes that most women have a more fluid sexuality than men. Even though she did not think of herself as a bi-sexual woman, she still enjoyed observing her female partner. In the second interview, Nin clarified that she got turned on by seeing her friend having sex with a man because she would imagine what he would do to her.

Several weeks later, I conducted an in-depth interview while she sat at a computer and explained how she browses profiles and uses the website. She was projecting a different type of mood and personality and indicated that she actually did not like most of the male profiles on AFF.com and was looking for a deeper connection. When I pointed to the racial descriptions in her profile and asked her why she did not like Chinese men, she denied having a racial preference and brought it down to the issue of penis size:

I don’t have a racial preference but I do like men who are tall and relatively well-endowed (around 6.5 to 7 inches) so most of the guys I date are Caucasians. Of course not all Caucasians are well-endowed but on average they are slightly bigger/ thicker than Asian men. I have not been out with a black man yet. I haven’t been approached by one in real life. … I found out many women on the site (either from their blogs or their comments on others’ blogs) say size does not matter, but I disagree. I can feel the difference between having a 6-inch and 7-inch cock. I do like slightly bigger one but 8 inches are my maximum. Before I joined the site, I thought 6 inches was a below average size for white men but it turns out they are average.

Nin later confirmed that she preferred Caucasians because Asian men have smaller penises, and she even added that she thinks Indians are an exception and have slightly bigger penises. When I recalled her remarks about penis size and racial preference, she then qualified her attitude by pointing to historical-cultural factors:

I think it’s also a historical problem. Some people tend to think white men are better in bed because they are more experienced. They know how to please women etcetera. But you also have to consider the fact that all the expats have their own apartment but local men do not. How often can you have sex if you do not have your own place? It’s bound to be difficult, isn’t it? I also wonder if there are Chinese women who think it is OK to be promiscuous or sexually open in front of white men but not in front of Asian men, especially those who think they will marry an Asian man in the end.

Nin added that her attraction to Caucasians had something to do with the movies that she grew up with, the education she received and her major in English literature. She showed that her desire for Caucasian males grew out of complex individual desires and historical factors and that she ultimately acts out clichés to her own benefit. Her persona of a “bad girl with opportunistic taste” allowed her to easily control AFF traffic while hiding the more vulnerable or socially conformist layers of her personality. She used the profile to have a higher success rate on this cross-cultural dating ground, while trespassing restrictions about lustful femininity and alternative sex within local culture.

Kelsky (2001) has observed that the desire of Japanese women to avoid the traps of local culture may reinforce the traditional relations of power they appear to be undermining. The rebellious bad girl who dates “Caucasians only” is equally an example of a racist slur. Double Trouble was obviously trying to play it both ways by adopting a juicy label within the AFF community, while trampling on the norms of traditional Chinese culture and offending a large portion of the male population.

In order to find out how males were adopting and reacting to cybertypes, I also had face-to-face interviews with several AFF.com males. The first one who agreed to be interviewed was Damon Lust, a Caucasian male in his late thirties who had lived in Hong Kong for several years. He was the person who actually told me about the popularity of the AFF.com site.  He was aware of the fact that I was a researcher and also wanted to wish me well on a personal level. He talked to me extensively about his sex encounters as we became friends and shared our thoughts.

I mostly talked to him about his relations with Chinese women and couples. Damon confirmed that there was indeed a lot of traffic between Caucasian males and Chinese females on AFF.com. He was very interested in meeting Chinese females who wanted to target foreigners like himself. He had created a profile to suit inter-racial desires, describing himself as a very handsome sexual and high-cultured foreigner interested in local dates. Damon was also eager to help me analyze the culture of the site in general and provided further insights about social class and power relations:

There is a Chinese revolution of sorts going on at this site, but it is a female revolution. The Chinese men do not seem that interested, even though many of them have extra-marital affairs by visiting sex workers or taking on mistresses from mainland China. The gwailo population like myself takes advantage of this situation as there are a high number of sex starved Chinese women who are relatively easy to get. But there is some kind of revolution in that these women are starting to take control of this situation and take pleasure in it, by talking about it and showing it off. They have more lovers than you think they do. And of course the Internet has made it is much easier for these women to participate. You’d be surprised to see how many respectable women are actually out there.

It became clear that the opportunistic bad girl type was influencing social relations within AFF.com community and allowing Chinese women to control traffic by attracting or rejecting foreigners. Damon confirmed that women acted out bossy personas to seduce him. When he had just signed up to AFF.com, he tried to meet with one of the sexually forward Chinese women who wrote him that “she was in a gangbang mood.” However he did not have any naked pictures of himself at that moment, so he lost his chance as she demanded to see a picture. He also told me that he got rejected in the same way by “Double Trouble.”

Even though AFF.com requires a membership, Damon believes that overall it has had a democratizing effect in Hong Kong society. He himself was able to go out with Chinese and Caucasian people from very different class backgrounds. He saw a clear difference between an AFF.com class and the traditional high-society or cosmopolitan class of Hong Kong. As he explained:

The site is perhaps still expat-dominated but it is very different from the social upper crust of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a very money-driven city, not just for those very rich people. The upper crust have sexual affairs with each other, but they really don’t need the Internet or digital technologies. They have extremely high-class prostitution and escort networks. The large presence of male Caucasians shows that the business class in Hong Kong is now using Internet sex to arrange casual affairs, when in previous times they may have resorted to entertainment with commercial sex workers.

I also conducted several interviews with Pong Leung, a 44-year old Chinese male and sports instructor who wanted to share ideas about power relations and social class. He used the name of an American celebrity in his profile and added pictures of his well developed back muscles. He did not mind meeting me for face-to-face interviews and told me that he had had on and off experiences with Internet dating for over ten years. Indeed, he had sent me a message on AFF.com in saying that he wanted to have sex with a blonde. I asked him where he got that idea, and he replied:

Hello Dear, Well, I am a local Hong Kong-er who wants to have sex with a Western lady. When I was young, I watched Charlie’s Angels (the very 1st version). I was totally attracted by the gals … Kate Jackson, Jacqueline Smith and the blonde… In my mind, I believe the blonde is the most beautiful creature in the world. So, I would love to have sex with a blonde…And I work hard on my English… build up my body…hoping that one day I will have sex with a blonde… so, please write to me, see what will happen. We may go swimming, enjoy sunbathing… enjoy a lazy afternoon in a hotel room… Once again, write me back and let’s have some fun.

Pong Leung turned out be a very friendly, shy and mellow person when we had our first lunch meeting. He insisted that I was a sexy person but was kind enough to stick to the ethnographic plot. He was quite insecure about his physical appearance and command of the English language. I invited Pong Leung for a second videotaped interview which took place while he browsed AFF.com. In this interview he told me about the difficulties he was experiencing in getting sex dates on the site. He showed fifteen profiles of Chinese women who stated that they wanted to only date Western guys or used the racist phrase “Caucasians only”. He said that it did make him sad but that everybody should be entitled to their own taste. He was almost certain that he would not get any dates with Chinese women but was not really in despair. He was very interested in having casual sex affairs, but believed that he eventually might get married and would try to meet a steady partner through very different channels. He used the site to browse profiles and DIY photos of women who had captured his attention. He also wanted to terminate his membership as he had figured out that the race/power dynamic was directed against him.

Conclusions

This analysis of Hong Kong social dynamics and cybersex types is based on a longitudinal ethnographic case-study where I gradually gathered stories and interviews by interacting with people online and in face-to-face encounters. These encounters were difficult to establish and developed only gradually, while I continuously observed the seduction games of a massive social network. The case study highlights a group of cultural diverse women and men in Hong Kong, who are highly computer-literate and sexually active individuals, and who help each other in constructing self-portraits and formulating new sexual identities. The chapter set out to find out why people wanted to explore this particular network for casual sex and DIY pornography and what their reasons were for adopting a specific type of self-display.  Since I was personally involved and was hoping to find useful connections, I used my own masked identity and pornographic cybertype to gaze at others and to strike up conversations that were the raw data for this study.

Through participant observation and interviews, the study highlights that these types of profiles are collectively tested and endorsed. They are convenient and often humorous labels and provide an easy way for people to control subjectivity. Hong Kong sex seekers also adopt these cybertypes and their pedestrian, raunchy or racist connotations to create cosmopolitan subjectivities and escape from local biases against casual sex. The desire to escape into a foreign realm provides creative stimulation, but arguably reinforces a conservative-bourgeois cosmopolitanism rather than progressive sex culture (Kelsky 2001, 15).

Through my observations and dialogues I witnessed sexual euphoria and emancipation, as well as racial tensions and dismissive attitudes between men and women. It is interesting to note that Chinese women specifically use opportunistic profiles to attract foreigners, though they include elements of  sexual excess to differentiate themselves within the local culture. As Lizzy Kinsey, I was investigating and playing with a desire to become part of this network, which to me also represents a realm of cross-racial desire to transcend my local alienation. I constructed my own persona with a bad girl flavour to be a sex machine on the site, yet a rebel within the context of academic research. By connecting with people through my own cybertype, I could relate to their layered identities and wait for deeper stories to be revealed.

Cyber sex identities and relationships historically have a lineage in non-sexual bonding such as chatrooms and online role-playing games. That is, web users first connect with each other as loyal and supportive online mates and they may gradually develop a intimate relationship that results in sex or friendship (McKenna 2007, 121). If we place AFF.com within this lineage of online intimacy, we can see that its apparent mission to arrange real-life sexual encounters based on minimum or no foreplay, is a novel type of sex that would be uncomfortable to a wide range of people. In this sense the AFF self-display strategies are totally different from those used by Hong Kong people on other dating sites or general social networks like MySpace and Facebook. People on general dating sites tend to write complex, lengthy and often idealized profiles that encapsulates their self-growth or the person they hope to be in future times (Ellison, Heino and Gibbs, 2006, 15).  AFF.com members adopt curtailed identities as a convenient mask to hide while revealing pornographic selves and crossing boundaries. This strategy allows them to plunge into DIY porn as the mask itself is endorsed by the community while being enigmatic or dumb to the outside world. Nakamura shows that cybertypes are not dumb but have a life course with historically embedded cultural expectations, and they therefore cannot be seen as fleeting data-entities. The goal of my personalized and selective approach to ethnography was to genuinely befriend people and to be able to look behind their mask. In doing so, I invited them to respond to my own desires and frustrations as a researcher in a journey of sexual and cultural discovery.

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[1] My interviewing process ideally consisted of three phases. First of all, I asked people to explainand evaluate their acts of socializing and managing identities within the AFF.com web site. Secondly, I asked them to talk about sex culture in Hong Kong and how they believed the web site was making a difference for Chinese and non-Chinese web users. Thirdly, in some cases I asked people to tell me a sex story about one of their more eventful encounters.  I asked people in advance if I could record these conversations by means of audio or videorecording, and some people gave me permission to do so. I tried to maintain a comfortable “soft” and “warm” atmosphere for culling sensitive information.

[2] For some examples of artists who have created works arising from their participation in sex sites, see the work of Isaac Leung and Chantal Zakari. Zakari’s book webAffairs is an artist’s documentary of an adult video web community. She took on the identity of ”Show-n-tell” to document her story of being a participant in this community http://www.webaffairsbook.info/webAffairs1.html (accessed Oct 4, 2009). Leung is a Hong Kong artist and scholar who took on the identity of “Japan boy” to investigate power relations within gay cyber sex sites in his project: “The Impossibility of Having Sex with 500 Men in a Month-I’m an Oriental Whore” http://isaacleung.com/orientalwhore/ (accessed Nov 1, 2009)