Read The Joy of Cybersex, an online sex guide circa 1993

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"What is cybersex, and how do I get some? If that's what you're asking yourself, you've come to the right place." So begins the 1993 book The Joy of Cybersex, an early guide to the online world of sexual content, right as it was emerging into mainstream consciousness.

Back in 1993, the internet was something of an adolescent, just starting to experiment with its digital sexuality. People heard there was sex out there in "cyberspace"—the online equivalent of porn hidden somewhere in the woods—but they weren't always quite sure how to find it.

Naturally, a "user's guide" emerged; The Joy of Cybersex promised "a peek into the future of cybersex and teledildonics" in a book that came packaged with the games Strip Poker 3 and Jigsaw Pinups while also quoting Winston Churchill in its forward. ("The empires of the future will be empires of the mind.")

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Two years before Angelina Jolie and Johnny Lee Miller made dial-up seem sexy by cavorting through a luminescent virtual city in Hackers, this online manual promised a world of similarly vivid digital eroticism:

"Just imagine yourself in the near future getting decked out in your cybersensual suit for a hot night on the nets. You plug your jack into your cybernetic interface device, which then enables you to receive and transmit realistic tactile sensations. Suddenly, you are in a strange new world where you can run your hands through virtual hair, touch virtual silk, unzip virtual clothing and caress virtual flesh."


The Joy of Cybersex is very much an artifact of its time; it begins by explaining to readers what a CD-ROM is, before delving into the world of "erotic disks" and sexy computer games, and extensively profiles the individual adult bulletin boards you could dial into with your 9600 baud modem. (As Anthropy notes, this survey is filtered through the perspective of a female author, and "paints a really familiar portrait of what it's like to exist as a woman online.")

It's a fascinating glimpse of the lost, floating cities of digital sexuality, and the early, sometimes awkward forays into online sexual connection that would one day evolve into Tinder, sexting, and well, the entire internet porn industry. It even explores the sexual applications of virtual reality headsets, more than twenty years before the Oculus Rift.

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The book—which as you might guess is often sexually explicit—was recently scanned and made available for download by game developer Anna Anthropy. She's been preserving and archiving early internet documents, particularly around video games, for nearly two years now; her "Annarchive, which is supported via Patreon, features scans of everything from manuals for the interactive fiction classic Zork to design documents for the 1986 adventure game adaptation of The Black Cauldron.

While some of the documents are PDFs, others like The Joy of Cybersex are in CBZ format. Anthropy recommends using a free CBZ reader like Cdisplay, "or you can rename the file from .cbz to .zip and open it as a zip archive to extract the images."