This question originally appeared on Quora: What does it feel like to be a male who pretends to be a female online?
Answer by Joe Geronimo Martinez
I lived as a woman online for over a year, as part of an experiment and research for a book.
It was extremely stressful and very hard to keep cover. Living a lie is really difficult. The psychological stress is painful.
You are treated very differently. No ideas I suggested were ever taken seriously and I got the impression they were ignored. I got called "emotional" and "hysterical" a few times, which has never happened to me as a bloke.
I got banned from loads of groups even for trivial offences, even though I was trying very hard not to be contentious. The rules applied to women were a lot harsher.
The biggest problem I found in dealing with other women was that they assumed I could multi-task, so were often puzzled that it seemed to take an age for me to switch around the 20 or so screens they had open.
I was surprised how little actual conversation differed, for example I didn't have to learn about shoes or make up, women actually talk very similarly to blokes, you just have to find your own circles.
I think women are much more supportive towards each other than blokes. If I said I wasn't feeling well I got loads of messages.
It is almost impossible to avoid sex. Even though I was a 40+ female, I had loads of offers, plus several internet boyfriends. (Not at the same time, what kind of girl, do you think I am.)
I was amazed at how little interest blokes took, except in the sex bit. Very few inquired about my day or my life.
I did meet a couple of nice blokes, one was Texan and one was Indian. Both were wealthy businessmen and probably not people I would particularly mix with as a bloke.
The ones I would mix with (A Californian guitarist) and the singer in an Australian rock band were absolute assholes. Self-obsessed losers and 100% self-centered, even for blokes.
In general, I hated all American blokes I met, except the Texan who was funny.
I only came across "female jealousy" once, with a woman who felt I was talking too much to her boyfriend and accused me of "overdoing the Jackie Kennedy." To this day I have no idea what this means.
It actually ended in tears, with someone falling in love with me, at which point it stopped being funny.More questions on Quora: