The only gay in the village: Sexuality and the net

Chris Ashford*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Just as the creation of the information society has allowed for the expansion in e-commerce and online communication, so too has it allowed for the expansion of online sites and communities that support minority sexual practices and activities. One such activity is the cottaging phenomenon, which involves men seeking sexual satisfaction in public lavatories with other men. Like many other groups, participants in this online community have embraced the emerging technology, utilising message boards and online discussion to offer advice, spread awareness of locations, arrange sexual meetings in the physical world and share cautions and warnings. Such sites can be and are additionally used for law enforcement purposes both as a surveillance tool and as a means of preventing the criminal practice of cottaging taking place. This article will seek to consider these technological and sociological developments alongside the emerging law in this area together with an exploration of how these technological developments have changed the operation of this phenomenon in the physical world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-289
Number of pages15
JournalInformation and Communications Technology Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


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