How to Be Yourself Online

We often think of the Internet as a place where people can try on different lives, and many of the lessons in this section show the benefits of experimentation with identity and aspects of your identity.

Still, I believe that no matter who you choose to be online, you are still yourself. Being on the Internet does not make you a different person. It can open your eyes to entirely new facets of yourself, though. I know more than one person whose online explorations were the final step in decisions like leaving a marriage, starting a new career, and even getting transgender surgery. Others might interpret this as “You went online, and now you’re someone else.” But in my experience, it’s been more like, “The self you never showed finally had a chance to shine, and you choose to integrate that part of you more fully into your life.”

When you are your full self online, you feel more secure that the relationships you make are genuine, based on who you are, not just on one aspect of yourself that you choose to show. You still need to go through the work of finding out whether the other person is being fully themselves if you plan to meet in person.

Here are ways to be yourself without inviting physical danger:

  • Be honest about your age, marital status, children, dreams, and aspirations.
  • If you’ve been sharing things with an online lover you have never told anyone else, make sure to also share things everyone already knows about you.
  • Take responsibility for revealing what you are feeling. If you have a twinge of sadness, laughter, jealousy, fear, hunger—say so. As intimate and deep as online connections can be—and as often as we seem to read each other’s mind and hearts with uncanny accuracy—that communication level breaks down under stress or fatigue, and it’s unfair to expect anyone to know your every nuance if you don’t share it. And share in a complete and honest manner, like “I just felt a twinge of envy just now, but I’m also really happy for you” or “I just welled up with tears, that was so beautiful, thank you.”
  • Seek common references in arts and entertainment, and explore their meanings together. Often, we find out what matters to us in the stories and lore that stay with us. If you’re a sci-fi buff and he doesn’t know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek, take the opportunity to educate him. But if he’s not interested and you feel that the movie Star Wars was imprinted upon you as a child and shaped the way you feel about love, honor, and trust . . . maybe this is not a match made in Internet heaven.

Find the rest of this lesson and thousands more sexier sex tips in:

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Sexier Sex

by Regina Lynn

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