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The Women's Guide to Sex on the Web by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans (Harper Edge, 1999). Please enter a nickname in the box below (if available) and click the Chat Now button.

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" asks Dominic Sardone, Safe Sex Plus' senior vice president of marketing. According to Howard Rheingold's 1991 book, Virtual Reality, the word dildonics goes back to 1974, when Ted Nelson, the inventor of hypertext, used it to describe a "device capable of converting sound into tactile sensations."The hype, however, didn't begin until the early '90s, when virtual reality was going to Change Everything.

Like every other shiny new technobauble, VR promised us mind-blowing sex. But not even the ambitious folks at Safe Sex Plus have cracked that barrier.

I was sent a tarted-up pneumatic version and gave it the thumbs down it deserved—it sounded like a jackhammer and could suck the rivets out of the space shuttle.

After that, I didn't see an Accu-Jack outside of the occasional campy porn flick, but I knew this classic gizmo was out there somewhere.

Even when supplemented with those golf-ball cameras that allow lovers to watch each other, the Robo Suck experience is Bronze Age crude.

There is something ghostly, even ridiculous, about today's cyberdildonic sex--a clumsy little machine, simple and repetitive, untouched by human hands. You'll never catch a sexually transmitted disease, proclaims Safe Sex Plus.

That's significant, because cybersex today is more about looking than about feeling.

Unlike the fetishism of the window peeper or the trench coat flasher, in cybersex the space between partners is a huge part of the turn-on.

Not only can you talk online to nude partners and watch them via streaming video, you also can ask them to get you off, from anywhere in the world.

The global network has registered almost 2 million visitors.

As sex technology gets more sophisticated, so do the questions it raises.

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