Internet sex chatting and “vernacular masculinity” among Hong Kong youth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


Through examining the highly popular practice of internet-based “sex chatting,” this work attempts to theorize the rapidly changing forms, norms, and values of sex as an important facet of internet chatting culture. Internet-based “sex chat” refers to the casual exchange of vernacular views about sexual beliefs, rumors, and behavior. Sociological, popular culture, and gender studies have suggested that internet-based social chatting about sex is an informal social practice pursued mainly by men, and as such, the chat room or forum is considered a space for the ongoing construction of particular modes of masculinity. This study is grounded in a detailed empirical netnographic study of the Hong Kong Golden Forum (GF), a highly popular internet chat site in a city known to have a vibrant culture of internet forum chatting. After investigating the main recurring themes in sex chatting conducted in GF, and the specificities of the language used by the chatters (including written and visual slangs, metaphors, tones, and registers), I ask how the themes and language of “sex chat” contribute to the construction of a “vernacular masculine culture” specific to youth culture in Hong Kong. Like a colloquial language, the notion of “vernacular masculinity” speaks the idiom of the curious, the obscene, and even the vulgar. It is hoped that this ethnographic study helps to reframe our theoretical and political understanding of sexual values shaped by a profoundly quotidian source of meaning-making. Copyright © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Singapore.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLearning bodies: The body in youth and childhood studies
EditorsJulia COFFEY, Shelley BUDGEON, Helen CAHILL
Place of PublicationSingapore
ISBN (Electronic)9789811003066
ISBN (Print)9789811003042
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Erni, J. N. (2016). Internet sex chatting and “vernacular masculinity” among Hong Kong youth. In J. Coffey, S. Budgeon, & H. Cahill (Eds.), Internet sex chatting and “vernacular masculinity” among Hong Kong youth (pp. 105-122). Singapore: Springer.


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