A Call to Arms

Welcome to “Building the Sex”. In it’s simplest sense, this is a blog about building adult websites. On a broader level, I really wish to talk about the huge impact that technology has had on our ability to express our sexuality and fantasies. If we set our wayback machines to 1979, we might be lucky enough to witness the birth of usenet. Since I was in nappies at the time, and today’s current generation of web savvy young adults was probably not even born yet, this reference might need some explaining. Way back before the web, usenet was already a sizable network for sharing and organising news and other forms of communication. These “news groups”, on just about every conceivable topic, were one of the first widely available and basically anonymous ways to talk to like minded people from all over the world about a particular subject.

For the first time, people discovered that they weren’t the only one.

Not the only “gay in the village”. Not the only one who liked to look at women’s shoes, or be tied up and spanked, or fantasize about the postman.

Perhaps I’m not giving enough recognition to magazines, private clubs, telephone chat-rooms, bulletin boards and all the other ways we already had to communicate, but I think the importance of usenet was massive due to the fact that the conversation was two way, and it wasn’t just in your local area.

So usenet, and the internet in general, are disruptive technologies. They change, and broaden, the options available to us for communication. Expressing our sexuality was one of the earliest uses of these technologies. We often hear how the adult industry has driven innovation in technology. I’m told that the vibrator was one of the first steam powered devices (not verified by me), and we often hear about how the porn industry was instrumental in pushing the acceptance of VHS over Betamax video tapes, in order to allow them to ship higher quality pornographic movies. The distribution of pornography is one of the earliest, and still one of the most profitable industries on the internet. IRC was very quickly adopted by people exploring alternative sexualities, in order to express in cybersex what they may not have been able to do in the real world. 3D virtual worlds have been used by many for the same reason.

So who’s been innovating lately?

There is a boom going on in the web industry at the moment. Tim O’Reilly coined the term “Web 2.0”, to reflect that fact that this is the second such boom, after the “Dot Com” era of the late 90’s. There are a tremendous amount of web sites around coming up with new and interesting ways to interact online. So of course, leading this charge are those coming up with creating new ways to explore and express our sexuality online, right?


The porn industry is producing porn (bless their little cotton socks), the dating industry is finding people dates, but the rest of the adult industry is asleep at the wheel.

This is a wakeup call. A call to arms. A reminder that just because we know that “sex sells”, that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels and expect to dish out the same old thing anymore. Adult sites deserve to be user friendly. They deserve good design and typography, they deserve to be responsive via AJAX (or similar technologies). They deserve to work with our iphones, and our RSS readers, and quite possibly our sex toys. And most of all, they deserve our creativity and our thought when coming up with new ideas, not just stale old ones.

In this blog, I’m going to discuss some of my own ideas. As it happens, I have plenty. Some seem like they’re new (although probably others have thought the same thing), some are blatantly stolen, and some are put together in new ways. It seems so easy to think of a few good ideas for the web, that I’m a little surprised and disappointed each time that I visit an adult site which is just copying all those that came before.

I hope you’ll join me in this exploration. Please feel free to send me an email, or drop me a message over on my Playful Bent profile.


1 Response to “A Call to Arms”

  1. 1 kastlearchives
    October 16, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed the blog entry. As a longtime veteran of usenet dating back to the early 90s, the first part of the blog was somewhat of a nostalgia trip.

    To some extent I tend to agree when you say that much of the adult industry seems to be resting on its laurels when it comes to embracing some of the newest technologies emerging these days. But at the same time I do occasionally see a few innovators who are at least making attempts at capitalizing on fresh, new ideas and ways of repackaging their wares.

    Sometimes though, producers are only savvy in one area of expertise, and not all facets of what you discuss above. Many times I’ve seen outstanding photographers with comparatively shitty websites simply because they either don’t know how to code or design, or they lack the financial resources to pay someone who can deliver a stunning website complete with all the new features available.

    Another factor is there’s only so many hours in the day, as you well know yourself. And sometimes innovation takes a low priority when it comes to external 9-to-5 jobs, family commitments, other projects, etc.

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"Building the Sex" is a blog about creatively using technology to enrich our sex and fantasy lives.

Craig is a professional software developer, and the creator of Playful Bent, an adult social network.

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