Recorded cybersex chat

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It was easier to be anonymous on the Internet back then, to flirt and wink and experiment behind purposefully misspelled, sexually charged screennames like seksikittee69 and bigboi17 that weren’t tethered to a public Facebook account.

While technology like group video conferencing existed, it was painfully slow and not readily available.

We met in an AOL chatroom in the “Friends” category, bonding over a shared interest in baseball and the inspiration for his screenname; I’d impressed him by referencing the lyrics to “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow.” Every day (except Monday and Wednesday, when I had Hebrew school), between pm and pm, I’d grab the Compaq laptop from my parents’ room, zip past my babysitter watching General Hospital, and log onto AOL to see if Frank Zappy was on my buddy list.

I don’t remember the specifics, but I remember we talked about classic rock and which colleges he thought Dana should apply to.

I was Dana, a name I had lifted from a character on my favorite Purple Moon CD-ROM.

) a lot older than us,” recalled Jenny Kutner, an assistant editor who writes about sex and dating for Salon.For years, I didn’t tell a soul about my relationship with Frank Zappy, assuming they would think he was a pedophile and I a snaggle-toothed sex maniac.But I later discovered that I was not the only pre-adolescent haunting the AOL adult chatrooms.“I do remember someone once telling me he wanted me to shove marshmallows up by butt while I touched myself,” she told me in a follow-up email, “and I felt a little bit confused about whether this was ‘normal’ or not.” Eventually, though, curiosity would take hold, and those who had started venturing into chatrooms playfully started ducking in in earnest—and alone.“I know everyone talks about how they did that with their friends and lol it was so funny, but like, I was kind of turned on by it,” Amy*, a freelance writer who was 12 years old when she first started going into AOL chatrooms, told me.

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