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Saturday, February 16, 2013

SL Letter of the Day: Pretty in Pictures

Posted by on Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Originally published June 22, 2006:

While in high school and early college, I was fairly sexually repressed (right-wing, Bible-belt upbringing), so I used online chatrooms to explore my sexual curiosity. I would find random pictures of people on the internet, normal and nude, and send them to others, pretending to be the people in the photos. I used both male and female "identities," as the gender wasn't really what turned me on—it was the exhibitionist nature of sharing photos, even if they weren't mine. I only traded with others claiming to be 18-plus, and I never met anyone. It was all seemingly harmless internet fun.

Now I'm a 23-year-old heterosexual male, and I just began dating a girl that I like a lot. The problem is that now I seem to have recurring negative feelings about those online experiences. Part of me feels like it was a terrible thing to do, and I'm an awful person for doing it. This same part compels me to "confess" this to my new girlfriend.

Confused And Distraught

My response after the jump...

Ah, the religious upbringing—that hellish gift that keeps on giving you hell. Before those first pubes sprout, preachers are pounding it into our heads that there's only one correct way to express ourselves sexually. We are then condemned to spend the rest of our lives measuring our actual sexual desires and experiences—which tend to be messy and perverse, as human beings tend to be messy and perverse—against a simplistic, unachievable, stultifying, and supposedly "blessed" sexual ideal.

Rest assured, CAD, adults that have indulged in nothing but Bible-belt-approved hetero sex—that is, penis in vagina, strictly within the bounds of matrimony, always open to conception—are rarer than Laura Bush's orgasms. Or American goals in a World Cup match. Or sane Scientologists.

So stop beating up on yourself. What you did was completely innocent and, as adolescent exploration of sexuality goes, completely harmless. You managed to safely explore sexuality, fantasy, and gender without getting hurt or hurting anyone. Oh, you may have raised some false hopes in the folks you were chatting with, or helped to circulate pictures that the original owners may not have wanted passed around, but those are venial sins. If you do decide to tell your girlfriend about your online games, CAD, don't present it as some deep, dark secret, but as something freaky and funny you did when you were a teenager.

Fnally, CAD, the internet is teeming with people pretending to be what they're not, from straight women pretending to be gay men to hairy old fags pretending to be smooth young twinks to FBI agents pretending to be 13-year-old girls. So just chill the fuck out, okay?


Comments (24) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Oh my gosh. How many zillions of people have done the same thing or something similar? I've TOTALLY lied ATROCIOUSLY about who I was in chatrooms in my adolescence.
Posted by KayElle on February 16, 2013 at 3:24 PM · Report this
eclexia 2
Come to my house and apologize. Bring the girlfriend. Somebody has to teach her how to use a paddle.
Posted by eclexia on February 16, 2013 at 3:26 PM · Report this
eclexia 3
(This is why I will never get paid to do Dan's Job.)
Posted by eclexia on February 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 4
Right! Except I reject the notion of sin. It's another myth.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 16, 2013 at 3:44 PM · Report this
T 5
Had seven years to proofread this shit, and still couldn't be bothered to fix that typo! =P

Ugh, I wish we could get followups on these reposted questions.
Posted by T on February 16, 2013 at 4:14 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 6
Here I am right now on SLOG pretending to be a naked cartoon character.

No harm, no foul.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on February 16, 2013 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Sandiai 7
@1, Never mind adolescence. I've done this a gazillion times as an adult.

BTW, those FBI agents are so transparent. And yet, they always seem to garner attention from at least one person in every room.
Posted by Sandiai on February 16, 2013 at 4:44 PM · Report this
I'm a damn peculiar person. No judgement on others but I have never portrayed myself as anything other than the truth. If anything a tad disparagingly. Never lied about age or weight or sex. Oh well.
Posted by JJinAus on February 16, 2013 at 5:17 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 9
The lure of guilt is how important it makes you. Oh, the *terrible* thing's YOU've done, they are so filled w/ consequences. The Bible is full of this ego-pumping crap, because the God of the Bible is an egomaniac. Time to get over it already.

Yes, yes, you lied to some people. Years ago. Who have all assuredly moved on. The only thing left to do is for you to get over yourself.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on February 16, 2013 at 5:40 PM · Report this

Lying and misrepresentation are how we do life in Gommorah!

That, and deviant perversion.

That, and that, and blaming all our problems on religion...

Yeah. THAT'S how we do it in Gommorah.
Posted by It Was RELIGION! Religion Made Me Do It! Whaaaa..... on February 16, 2013 at 6:02 PM · Report this
CAD my question is what do you want your girlfriend to do about it? Unless she has access to a time machine she can't stop you from visiting those chat rooms. She can't apologize to the people you were talking with [many of whom I'm sure completely forgot about it]. So what good would confessing do?

I mean it's great if you've found someone you can share you're deepest secrets with but it's not a good idea to use you significant other as confession booth/therapist.
Posted by msanonymous on February 16, 2013 at 7:55 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 12
You're not alone, I've always been myself as well. Never tried pretending to be someone else.

I also never had any judgment for those who did pretend, in fact, I figured most of the people I was talking with were pretending. I didn't mind. They were probably just having fun or they were nervous or something.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 16, 2013 at 8:52 PM · Report this
milemarker 13
CAD. Save the guilt for something worth feeling bad about. Nobody cares if you faked a different ID. It's really a phase a whole lot of people went through when the internet came around - we tried it just to see if we could pull it off. As you've discovered, it's hard to keep the lies straight. Move on, but remember it's better to tell the truth even if you're talking anonymously.
Posted by milemarker on February 16, 2013 at 8:58 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 14
@8, @12--That makes three of us. Well, except that I posted a picture of a rabbit without asking him.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on February 16, 2013 at 11:37 PM · Report this
sissoucat 15
@8, 12, 14 : does pretending (only once) to be an incensed Bush supporter, in order to frighten away a moronic Bush supporter trolling on my turf, count ?

It worked.
Posted by sissoucat on February 17, 2013 at 7:26 AM · Report this
BrotherBob 16
@15 you are going to hell straight to hell and staying there forever and forever.
CAD, if you think in terms of confession, you are still under that mythical preacher's sway. And I would feel much better if you would use some creativity. Make up some really weird sh_t to be guilty over and confess that instead. "Sweetie, when i was 16, I used to dip my mom's chihuahua in butter and rub him all over my butt cheeks." That sort of thing. Have some FUN with your guilt!
Posted by BrotherBob on February 17, 2013 at 11:03 AM · Report this
I'd tell her, if for no other reason than to see how she reacts. Because if she holds this against you and is seriously shocked, if this could endanger the relationship - you wanna find that out about her sooner rather than later.
Posted by agony on February 17, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 18
So, CAD, you did some stupid shit when you were a teen. Wow! You must be the only teen in the history of history to have ever done something dumb. Oh, wait. No, you're not the only teen to have yadda-yadda, only to regret it years later. The best response is not to go on a guilt trip (which your upbringing would most likely encourage ... because guilt is a very useful tool for EVERY authoritarian group), but to acknowledge that you did something stupid, and vow not to do something like that again. Which I believe you've already done.

What purpose would it serve to reveal this to your girlfriend? Might she then expect that you want her to reveal something stupid from her past? If you can truly say that your past behaviour will not affect your current or future relationship, then Just. Let. It. Go.

OTOH, should you have some lingering desire to engage in gender role play IRL, then it's up to you to focus on that issue and decide whether you want to talk about that instead.
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on February 17, 2013 at 12:40 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 19
how do you know all those people weren't also pretending to be someone else, either?
Posted by scary tyler moore on February 17, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Report this
sirkowski 20
Whoever has never pretended to be a lesbian online throw me the first stone.
Posted by sirkowski on February 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM · Report this
@20 I'm pretending to be a lesbian in another tab.
Posted by Functional Atheist on February 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM · Report this
Lose-Lose 22
I'm just giving you thumbs up for the soccer reference.!
Posted by Lose-Lose on February 17, 2013 at 7:53 PM · Report this
Salmon 23
@22: yeah, I was actually about to call BS about the lack of USA goals, since they've had a solid run of form lately, but then I remembered this was written in 2006. We crashed out of the World Cup in the first round, despite a win over Italy thanks to Clint Dempsey, so yeah, we kinda sucked in 2006...
Posted by Salmon on February 18, 2013 at 10:53 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 24
Chat rooms didn't exist when I first hit puberty. Nor did I have electricity, for that matter, but that's another story.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH on February 18, 2013 at 4:38 PM · Report this

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