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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[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)