SEXin Dallas Under the Covers

Enough foreplay. Are we hot-or not?

LAST FALL, EXPERTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO’S National Opinion Research Center published the results of what they called “the most comprehensive and scientifically sound sex survey ever conducted in the United States.”

And so began the media blitz. Time’s headline teased with “Sex in America…Surprising news.” Glamour titillated with “Major U.S. Sex Survey: Who’s doing it? And how?” And even the more stodgy U.S. News & World Report beckoned with “Sex in America…What we do behind the bedroom door.”

But for those who were expecting some truly exciting data, there was a problem. “The overall impression,” wrote Philip Elmer-Dewitt in Time, “is that the sex lives of most Americans are about as exciting as a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.”

“The big finding here,” explains Stuart Michaels, one of the Chicago researchers, “is that people’s sex lives are much tamer than the images we get from [the media]. I think the large mass of people in big cities like Dallas are still leading fairly tame lives.”

Zzzzzzz. So that’s it? That’s us? Well, maybe. But we couldn’t let the Windy City’s lab-coated, stat-toting, masters of the obvious define us without at least putting their theories to the test.

So we did. And we found that Dallas is as sexy a city as it’s ever been, Tilings have just taken a kind of 90s twist.



Theory #1: We have more sexual partners than ever.

THE PERCEPTION THAT WE HAVE MORE SEXUAL PARTNERS IN THE ’90s than we did in previous decades is grounded in fact, according to the Chicago survey. The researchers’ detailed analysis reveals that this is because Americans are spending longer periods of time unmarried. People, the experts tell us, are first having sex at an earlier age and are marrying later.

Stop the presses: Young, single Dallasites have a good deal of sex-a fact confirmed locally by psychologist Anna Beth Benningfield, Ph.D., who reports with confidence that one of the most sexually active groups in Dallas is the young adult population, age 16 through 30.

We also found some laymen to fill in the details. Stacie, an 18-year-old waitress fromNorth Dallas, says some of her friends never pass up an opportunity to have sex. “A couple of my friends have their little sex buddies-someone that they always have sex with,” she says. “They don’t care if they ever have a relationship with the person.”

Chad, a financial consultant who at 30 is pushing the envelope of Benningfield’s 16-30 figure, says his single friends lead equally active sex lives. Chad says he has several single female friends who may sleep with a new guy every weekend. “They meet a man, and if they like him, they’ll sleep with him that week,” Chad says.

The survey also showed, in a related fact, that people who attend college and/or graduate school are more likely to postpone marriage while they finish their education. The longer they wait, the more time they have to meet and have sex with a succession of partners. In other words, the more educated we are, the more partners we tend to have during our lifetimes. And our city is a haven for these educated, let’s-not-rush-into-anything types. A demographic analysis of newcomers to our city, put together by Dallas’ M/PF Research, tells us that the typical Dallas newcomer is an adult, age 32 or 33, with a bachelor or graduate degree. Seventy percent of our newcomers this year will also be what M/PF calls SSWD-single, separated, widowed, or divorced.

Newcomer or native Dallasite, under 30 or over, there’s a good chance that if you’re single in Dallas, it’s because you’re divorced. In 1992 in Dallas County, 17,773 marriages were performed, while 11,850 divorces were filed. One result of this fact is that we simply have time between marriages for relationships with new partners.

And while the number of AIDS cases in Dallas continues to grow (a 1993 Dallas County surveillance report lists almost 7,000 reported cases since 1981), the singles scene may be largely unaffected by this news. Dennis Vercher, editor of Dallas Voice, a newspaper for the gay and lesbian community notes that “[Fear of HIV infection] has stimulated some different approaches to obtaining sex, but not to an overall decrease in sexual activity. The parks, the bathhouses, and the bars-it’s as active a scene as it’s ever been.”

James, a hairdresser in his 40s, says that while fear of AIDS may have caused some people to cool their jets in the late ’80s, today people are just as sexually active as ever. “You see people leaving and going home with people from the bars,” he says. “And you don’t pick somebody up in a bar and go home and play tiddly winks.”



Theory #2: “More partners than ever” doesn’t mean a whole lot.

THE NATIONAL STUDY SHOWED, HOWEVER, THAT WHILE WE HAVE more partners than ever before, the average number of partners is still modest. Even men and women in their late teens and early 20s don’t have as many sexual partners as one might expect- more than half had just one sex partner during the year of the study. Another 11 percent had none in the previous year.

More surprising still, the greatest percentage of singles in the national study (32 percent of women, 23 percent of men) reported that they had not had sex at all in the previous year. The second largest group of singles (23 percent of women, 25 percent of men) have sex only a few times per year.

Other recent stories in national magazines reflect this drift toward celibacy in a large segment of the singles population. Twenty-seven percent of the readers who responded to a poll in Mademoiselle magazine claimed to be celibate-most by choice. In the 1994 annual love survey conducted by Details, a men’s magazine for the 18-to 34-year-old set, 21 percent of the respondents said they abstain from doing the wild thing.

Again, it wasn’t hard to find Dallasites whose stories fit the stats. Kim, a 41-year-old Dallas mortgage banker who is single, falls into the third largest category of singles (24percent of women and 26 percent of men) who have sex only a few times per month. Kim says she has sex about twice a month.

“I have a sex life, yes,” says Kim. “But a satisfying one? No.”

Meanwhile Kevin, a 27-year-old Garland man, is celibate by choice. “But you can’t always be proud of it because of the pressure,” he says. “It’s hard. The longer you go without it, the harder it gets.”



Theory #3: We tend to have sex with people who are like us.

IN THE FILM BARCELONA, A 20ISH WOMAN TELLS HER DATE, “IT’S true the sexual revolution is over. Now I don’t have to go to bed with just anyone. I have to he strongly attracted to him first.”

The Chicago researchers took this from casual observation to fact: Their findings show that we usually have sex with people who are remarkably like us-in age, race, ethnicity, and education. In fact, they report that more than 90 percent of couples, married or dating, are from the same race or ethnic group; 80 percent have the same level of education. More than three quarrel’s of married couples are within five years of the same age, and the same is true of more than 80 percent of short-term dating couples. Most couples, researchers said, meet through friends or family members at school, work, parties, or church. Two-thirds of married couples surveyed were introduced by a family member, friend, co-worker, classmate, or neighbor.

Again, corroboration on a local level was not a challenge. “I was just thinking the other day that 90 percent of my friends have girlfriends and wives from the same basic socioeconom-ic class and with the same degree,” says Brett, a 28-year-old computer programmer who lives in Dallas. “We’re all very, very similar.”

Roy, a 30-year-old communications specialist from Piano, met his wife, Amy, at church. A classmate introduced Greg, a 38-year-old maxillofacial prosthetist from Carrollton, to his wife, Terry. A co-worker introduced Steve, a 44-year-old merchandising manager from Grapevine, to his wife, Verone.



Theory #4: We follow social rules for behavior.

“SOME ENCHANTED EVENING, YOU WILL MEET A STRANGER”- but you probably won’t do anything about it. The experts say that we may think about “breaking all the rules,” but with sex, we generally follow the rules for behavior set by our own social groups. The fantasy of sex with an exotic stranger, they said, is mostly just that: a fantasy.

This rule-following standard may be true, but if it is, the booming big business of sex in Dallas shows that our city’s rules may be somewhat relaxed. Video stores for the upscale customer let us indulge our desires visually. (See “Video Dreams,” page 116). And fantasies are alive and well in Dallas at men’s clubs, in romance ads, and in the new-age realm of cyberspace.

The gargantuan topless club industry, spawned in the go-go ’80s, continues to spin its economic tassels. According to the Dallas Business Journal’s 1994 Book of Lists, six of the top 20 nightclubs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are topless clubs. Nearly two dozen licensed topless clubs operate in Dallas, including the heavily promoted Cabaret Royale, which has appeared in the pages of national magazines such as Elle and Vogue. One local businessman says that for his visiting New York clients, the clubs define Dallas: “Clients insist on a trip to the men’s clubs. It’s what Dallas is known for.”

The national experts noted that the second most popular sex act-after “it” itself-was watching a partner undress. Dr. Betty Maynard, associate professor of sociology at Southern Methodist University, elaborated for us: “Undressing is a sight sensation that is pleasurable.”These experts are telling us what we already knew: It’s fun to watch.

And Dallasites do watch, though Dallas women are still watching less than the city’s men. Although nearly as many women as men in the national survey said they enjoy watching a partner disrobe, only one Dallas strip club, LaBare, caters to women.

“Men have a half a million kinds of strip joints they can go to in Dallas,” notes Dallas comedian Beth Donahue, author This is Insanity, a parody of Susan Powter’s Stop the Insanity. “[Topless clubs] are a lot more serious for men. Women can go to a male strip show, see three weenies, go nuts, and say, ’Let’s go.’ A man will sit and stare at the same woman for 10 years and be absolutely mesmerized. Men like to watch because they imagine themselves with that person. Women just watch and go, ’They’re cute, they’re fun,’ but when we go home, we’re over it.”

It may come as no surprise that the topless clubs are considered by some to be a sign of a repressed sexuality. Dallas clinical psychologist Robert N. Dain explains: “It has to do with the forbidden nature of sex. It’s clear when you look at countries where sex is not forbidden or taboo that you don’t have to do these kinds of things. They grow because they’re bad and forbidden and therefore very attractive. For some, it’s an outlet because they’re afraid to have real relationships. So they have fantasy relationships and spend all their money.”

Rule-breaking may also be more of the norm in the popular and lucrative Dallas Observer romance classified ads.

Each week Dallasites place an average of 600 personal ads in the Observer’s romance section. An average of six respon-dees to each ad tie up the tabloid’s 900 number each week for an average of six minutes each, at $1.99 per minute. While advertising directors for the newspaper claim that the ads are about romance, not sex-and many do promise no more than a heart-to-heart by the fireplace- it’s hard not to think of sex with ads that read “Need a hammer?- my tool belt burns for you” and “Fulfill that Redi Whip dream.” (See “Desperately Seeking Sex,” page 114.)

For many other Dallasites the final erotic frontier lies at home, in the new-age cyberspace found on their computer terminals. Thousands of computer users in the Metroplex are getting their kicks via modem. Mostly male and age 20 to 45, these tech-nofiends are panting down the information highway in search of cybererotica found on adult-oriented bulletin boards and X-rated CD-ROMs. Rather than having sex with flesh-and-blood partners, users can download X-rated pictures, play interactive “adult” games, place and respond to personal ads, chat with other cyberswingers, or participate in real-time computer-simulated orgies. (See “Lost in Cybersex,” page 49.)

Brad, a 39-year-old communications salesman from Dallas, became obsessed with downloading X-rated GIFs (graphics interchange formats) for about six months. “It was a novelty for me,” he says. “I had this hot computer with a great screen, and I thought that instead of going and buying a video just to look at T&A I could just look at these GIF files. It’s like, you push a couple of buttons, and you can see whatever sex act is going on. It’s a big kick.”

Nearly 50 adult-oriented computer bulletin boards, with names like Foreplay Online, Midnight Fantasies, and Adult Playground, operate in the Dallas area alone. Sheer Passion, one of the largest networks in Dallas, boasts 3,200 users who pay $10 each month to log on for a maximum of one hour each night. At least 80 percent of Sheer Passion’s subscribers-“the ultraconservative to the ultrabizarre”-use the service at least two or three times a week for hour-long sessions, says Mike Kaylor, system operator and co-owner. During heavy traffic hours, callers jam the bulletin board lines.

“Before I went to eight lines, 1 was experiencing busy signals at 3 in themorning and at 3 in the afternoon,” Kaylor says. “I couldn’t even get onto my own board.”

The attraction of these on-line erogenous zones, says Brad, is easy access to high-tech titillation.

“It gives you a sexual high,” he says. “[A bulletin board user] thinks, ’I don’t have to go out and have sex with other women; I can have vicarious sex with these women on the computer.’”



Theory #5: Monogamy may be the watchword of the ’90s.

MANY OF THE NATIONAL SURVEY RESULTS would keep our grandmothers smiling. Ninety-four percent of the married people who responded to the national survey said they were faithful in the past year. More than 80 percent of adult Americans age 18 to 30 had no sex or just one sexual partner in the previous year. Of the “non-cohabitating” respondents, 32 percent of women and 23 percent of men did not have sex once in the previous year. Three percent of married women had no sex at all.

For some, the lack of extracurricular activity testifies to their commitment.

“There’s something to he said for monogamous relationships,” says Brian, a 33-year-old graphic designer who has been married for eight years and has two children. “We were best friends before we ever got romantically involved, before we even got intimate with each other. I think that’s one reason why our relationship has been as strong as it is.”

William Carr, owner of Wm. Carr Salon, naturally hears a lot of clients talk about the details of their personal lives. Carr says that he sees a greater number of people in monogamous relationships now than in the past few years, and he believes this reflects a trend in which people are more responsible.

“They’re into recovery, self-awareness, and developing their inner spirituality and well being,” Carr says. “People are realizing they want intimacy, not just a moment-by-moment fulfillment. There’s a lot of strings attached to intimacy and people want that. They’ve discovered if they hold out for whatever that picture may be for their life that they’ll eventually get it.”

For others, more skeptical perhaps, the monogamous life is simply the reflection of an overly ambitious society. “People work hard in Dallas,” says Brian. “I don’t think, especially for those of us that are married, that sex is right up there at the top. Most married people have too many irons in the fire and responsibilities at home raising the kids.”

One North Dallas woman who is married and works full-time puts it more bluntly; “We’re busy people these days. We carry phones and Day-Timers and rush from meeting to meeting. I barely have time to go to the grocery store and have a hard time trying to coordinate my schedule with my husband and friends for lunches. Who the hell has time to plan an affair?”

Still, not everyone has the benefit of a happy relationship or the problem of a tight schedule. This winter, in researching a story for Glamour magazine, Dallas writer Eric Celeste found many men and women who were willing to talk about their affairs to remember. Celeste interviewed Dallasites from their mid-20s to late-40s who began affairs for a variety of reasons, from the psychological to the simplistic. Some needed to get attention they weren’t getting from their spouses; some were looking for escapes from bad marriages; and some simply wanted to have fun.

Celeste also spoke with marriage counselors who told him affairs start for any number of reasons. For example, one marriage counselor told Celeste she had a very high-profile male client who had had several affairs to ignore the relationship pattern he was falling into, which he feared echoed the eventually disastrous relationship of his parents. She also mentioned people who were simply out to verify the images they had of themselves as very sexy people: For them, a spouse’s affection was no longer enough.

Conclusions, anyone?

ONE TREND-ETTE, TOWARD STRICTER monogamy, stands in direct conflict with a trend-ette toward random bed-hopping-which proves we can get only so much scientific accuracy with human beings.

Dallas psychologist Benningfield sums up her observations succinctly: “I think that Dallas does have a segment of the population that is fairly active sexually. But then there are other parts of the population where people are not particularly active. [Many of us] have sexual relationships, but they are in the context of committed relationships,”

How does Dallas compare with the rest of the nation? We asked Chicago researcher Stuart Michaels point blank: The answer, like his theories, came as no surprise: There is really no way to compare.

“Very few people live at the average of anything,” Michaels says. “No one is the pure average. You can’t take the average and say, ’That’s someone from Dallas’; that average might describe no individual. It might tell you a little bit about how Dallas might different from New York or Chicago or California or a small town in another area of Texas. The averages might point to differences there, but in terms of people’s individual experience, it can be quite different and still be on the map as quite normal. One thing that people need to be careful about when they look at studies like this is we’re summarizing the information that we gather by giving averages for large groups in the population and making generalizations about trends. But at the individual level, things could be very different.”

Very different indeed.

Ask Nannette LaRee Hernandez, the author of Creative Screwing: A Woman’s Guide to Becoming An Erotic Enchantress of SuperLustful Sex.

Hernandez, 29, is the daughter of a former minister and grew up in Southern California. For her book, she says she con-ducted research that included “conversations with nine-thousand eight hundred and twenty-six men in the Dallas area” to find out what they like in bed. A promotional blurb calls her work “the one and only book that openly proclaims in shocking detail what your man craves sexually-and divulges all those tried-n-true trade techniques 100 percent guaranteed to quench his any-n-every fantasy or fetish.”

“I love men,” says the Richardson resident.” But my attraction to and who I desire is maybe like one in 1,000 men.” She says that as far as her own love life is concerned, she is looking for a relationship with sexual respect.

Hernandez then describes her current relationship: One recent evening, she sent her boyfriend to the grocery store for champagne and strawberries. Being the inventive type, he returned with those items plus chocolate syrup and whipped cream. “I was like, all right!,” she says. “I would rather have a guy bring home whipped cream than a diamond necklace.”

Eager to quench a fetish or two, Hernandez prepared a bubble bath and donned a pair of red satin panties and a pearl necklace. “I walked out with two champagne glasses in my hand, and his mouth just dropped,” she says. Hernandez soaped and loofahed her man, patted him dry with a towel, rubbed lotion on his body, and gave him a massage- She followed that with…well, let’s just say things got hot-n-hotter.

What does the minister’s-daughter-turned-Erotic-Enchantress-of-Super-lustful-Sex, who has listened to the innermost secrets of 9,826 men, conclude about the national sex survey?

She seems to think the answer lies in secret sex lives. “I do think some couples have sex lives about as exciting as a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich-but together, not separately,” she explains. “Is the man who has a missionary posi-tion sex life with his wife having a PBJ sex life? Yes. But he’s the same guy who’s got some girl wrapped up in Saran Wrap and rolling hard-boiled eggs all over her body.”

That’s certainly one theory to bounce off the experts.

Desperately Seeking Sex: “Wanted: Energizer Bunny”

I DECIDED TO EXPERIMENT,” SAYS Chad, a 30-year-old financial consultant, explaining why he decided to place a personal ad in the Dallas Observer romance section. “I thought it. was a unique way to fulfill a sexual fantasy…of meeting a stranger and having a sexual encounter.”

Chad’s ad in the Observer came on strong with the headline “Red Shoe Diary,” a take on the title of a steamy Showtime series. The ad read, “Have you ever thought about breaking all the rules.’ Come explore your sensual horizons.”

Each week, an average of 600 personal ads such as Chad’s appear in the Observer’s “romance” section.

Nevertheless, former Observer romance director Julie- Driver and current classified director Nancy WattBent deny that Observer personals are sexually oriented.

Watt-Bent says, “We don’t promote the fact that you can meet 10 men and get laid 10 times this month. Maybe [those who place the adsj do. Who knows?’”

“We have very strict guidelines that we follow,” she adds. “We screen all ads and personal messages.” The guidelines Watt-Bent refers to are posted at the beginning of the section: “Explicit sexual or anatomical wording is prohibited, along with offers of or requests for money, trips, living arrangements or gifts in exchange for companionship.”

So what’s passed muster under these strict guidelines? Chad’s ad and many more like it: “Granola girl seeks nondairy creamer; teacher looking for student; frisky filly seeking spirited stallion to sow some wild oats; Big Bad Wolf seeks Little Red Riding Hood for adventures in the dark forest; kitty seeks torn cat; Goldilocks looking for big had wolf in sheep’s clothing; brazen buxom mare looking for saddle mate; Energizer Bunny; Texas handyman; former Playgirl centerfold; voluptuous minx; organ donor; very buxom; great kisser; totally nude-in the shower; luscious lips; great legs and other parts, body by Michelangelo; big ’D.’”

“We’re not selling sex,” said Driver before leaving her position in December of 1994. “We’re selling relationships and romance-people meeting each other and dating.”

Not selling sex? Check out these propositions from recent Observer ads, and you be the judge.

“’Basic Instinct,’ anyone?; let’s play doctor; call me-I give good phone; let’s make hay; make me holler; let’s talk candy and tools; need a hammer?-my tool belt burns for you; fill my Christmas stocking; ting my bell; honey do: me a good turn; this Santa wants to take you for a ride on his sleigh; I want to get nasty!; unwrap your surprise; come down your chimney; a little lick and a treat; outdoor adventures; fulfill that chocolate Reddi Whip cream; let’s see what you’ve got; for a good time, call…; what makes your motor run?”

And finally, ’Let’s do it together.”

-Angela Genusa

Video Dreams: We like to watch.

AS AIDS, STREET CRIME, AND sophisticated home theater setups keep more people at home, the appeal of XXX-rated video reaches deeper into the Dallas mainstream every day. That’s hardly surprising, given the estimated halt-billion to a billion dollars America spent on pornography last year.

You won’t find any hard-core pornography at your neighborhood Blockbuster, bur plenty of mom & pop general release video outlets are happy to let you peruse their inventory. Specialty stores like Dallas’ New Fine Arts even stock them by category: European and amateur, straight, gay, lesbian, bi, and fetish (spanking, domination, shaving, bondage). And forger the smarmy, over-the-hill tarts with black tape over their eyes in stag flicks; today’s XXX-rated video vixens and stud-muffins are buffed, cut, chiseled, well-groomed, , and lovingly photographed in high-quality video and even 35-mm film. Story lines still range from nonexistent to stupid. with characterizations as deep as a coat of nail polish, but let’s remember that sex therapists generally see nothing wrong with video stimulation (as long as viewers don’t force their partners to do something they don’t want to).

The titles alone merit a stroll down the aisles. Forget the gross stuff; the better titles sometimes play oft major motion picture releases and occasion-ally even demonstrate a pun-laden, hopelessly adolescent sense of humor. Witness for the Penetration, Brassiere to Eternity, Geriatric Park, Lust in Space, Spanks for the Memories, and Florence Hump are several recent releases. Displaying the same ingenuity as many of their big-budget Hollywood counterparts, porn producers with successful titles also tend to run them into the ground with multiple serialization: “Behind the Green Door 2,” “3,” “4,” and so on, ad nauseum.

The two New Fine Arts stores in Dallas represent the porn industry’s attempt to reach an upscale, mainstream audience. Large and well-lit, the stores boast computer-driven inventory systems, private preview rooms, and more than 10,000 available titles.

Owned and operated by Dallas- based Lone Stair MultiTheaters, Inc., a family-run business, the stores are part of a wider, successful statewide chain. The owner (who declined to be named lor this article) says, “It’s a money-making business, but we want to move the image away from the weirdos in raincoats. We’ve created a nonthreatening, clean environment to encourage professionals, both men and women, to shop at our stores.” Patrons on any given day or night are mostly well dressed men in suits or casual attire and couples; less often, single women also peruse the racks. Staffers report their busiest hours by tar are Sunday mornings, when cus tomers rush in to return their week end selections-just in time for church. -Brian Melton

Lost in Cybersex

JACQUELINE, A TEMPORARY SECRETARY AND ONE-TIME phone sex operator who lives in Coppell with her husband, is chatting about domination and submission. “I seek excitement,” she types to “Steven F”

Her fingers fly fast and furious over her computer keyboard, conducting four simultaneous conversations in as many windows tiled on her screen.

Another bawdy message comes across her screen. “I’m Master Peter from Sweden-and you? Are you sub or dom?”

Jacqueline hits a hot key that sends out her stats: “27, 5’10″, long auburn hair, Hue eyes, 36-29-38.” She adds, “I’m from Dallas and submissive… maybe. [cybertalk for ’evil grin’].”

A different cyberpartner, Victor, invites Jacqueline to a private conference room, the cyberworld equivalent of a hotel. “I’ve got a live one here,” she says out loud.

She “buries” (closes the windows with) Master Peter and Steven F. and enters the private conference room where Victor awaits.

“So what are you wearing ? And what do you like to wear?” Victor asks.

“I’m wearing a black silk nightgown and robe,” she types. She is actually wearing a sweater and long red skirt. “May I take my panties off, Sir?”

“Yes, you may,” Victor says.

She doesn’t, but says she does.

The lascivious on-line conversation between Jacqueline and Victor heats up for 30 minutes until-cyherclimax. Suddenly, Victor virtually rolls over and goes to sleep.

“**Victor has left the group**,” the message flashes.

“BRB [be right back],” Jacqueline types to her other online C-sex buddies.

“The problem with cyhersex,” Jacqueline explains, “is that [both computer users] have to be really good communicators, and they have to be able to type very fast. Otherwise, it’s more like thinking than feeling.” In other words, with C-sex, you don’t want a man with a slow hand -you want a partner who can, well, maintain a keystroke. Or else you can’t get no cybersatisfaction.

“I wind up doing all the typing and there’s these guys on the other end jerking off, and I’m spending all my time-and money,” she says.

Time and money are the key. Jacqueline spends at least two hours a night chatting with her on-line playmates. She once ran up a $1,000 CompuServe bill in one month.

Jacqueline says she has had three major on-line affairs, one of which became “3-D,” or real life.

“It got really, really intense,” she said of her three-month affair with a man named Paul. After exchanging photographs on-line and talking on the phone, they met in Chicago. “He was considerably different than his photo-much older and just different [than I had imagined him to be].” But Jacqueline and Paul did in 3-D what they had done in cyberspace for months..

“It’s really easy to [fall for someone] on-line,” Jacqueline says. “It tends to be very, very powerful. You slowly read each word. You tend to romanticize things. It’s all flowers and poetry.”

Before anyone can even think of Wordsworth, another message flashes onscreen to Jacqueline. A cyberpartner named Harry sends, “What happened to John [her husband] ? [cybertalk for ’wide evil grin’]”

“He’s, um, tied up in the other room,” she types.

“Enjoy yourself, Jacqueline,” Harry sends.

-Angela Genusa

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