What Is Cybersex?

A shirtless man sits on the edge of bed covered in a sheet. He wears black virtual reality glasses and holds his hands in a questioning manner.

Cybersex is any type of sexual activity that occurs virtually between two or more individuals including sexting, sharing sexual images or videos with a partner, webcam sex, and chatroom sex. Although some cybersex experiences include visual elements such as photos or video, other cybersex activities involve describing sexual fantasies or scenarios in written or spoken words. In most cases, cybersex involves real-life masturbation by one or all participants.

How safe is cybersex?

Usually, cybersex is considered a safe form of sex. Since the participants do not have physical contact with one another, there is no risk of unplanned pregnancy or transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, individuals who engage in cybersex should be cognizant that they risk their privacy if they share personal sexual images or videos with a cybersex partner because that person could potentially share these things with others. Also, people who have cybersex with unknown individuals online should bear in mind that strangers can easily lie about their age, gender, and other personal characteristics on the internet. Therefore, it is not advisable to meet up with an anonymous cybersex partner in person without first confirming their true identity.

What are the different types of cybersex?

  • Sexting involves sending sexually explicit messages and/or photos by phone to a partner.
  • Phone sex usually entails verbally describing sexual activity over the phone to another person and listening to their descriptions.
  • Webcam sex allows a person to masturbate with one or more individuals over live video, whether on their phone or on an online video conferencing platform.
  • Chatroom sex is practiced by people in online chatrooms, frequently with unknown partners.
  • Virtual reality sex may increase in popularity as virtual reality systems become more affordable and widespread. A virtual reality headset is a device that is worn on a person’s head that creates a 3-dimensional virtual experience for the wearer. In virtual reality sex, this experience could utilize 3-D pornography.
  • Alternate reality sex is sex that takes place between two digital avatars in an online community. One of the most popular online communities at this time is called Second Life.
  • Connected sex toys, or teledildonics, are sex toys that are controlled through a internet-connected device like a smartphone and can therefore be controlled by long-distance sex partners.

Why do people have cybersex?

People may decide to have cybersex when they are unable to have physical sex with a partner due to geographical distance, quarantine related to COVID-19 or another illness, or any other relevant reason. Couples may also engage in cybersex to add variety to their sex lives. Alternatively, some people enjoy cybersex because they find it to be a safe way to express their sexuality in an anonymous environment. This situation may lower a person’s inhibitions and make the experience more enjoyable. 

What are some ways a person can safely enjoy cybersex?

As with physical sex, it is a good idea to establish boundaries before a cybersex encounter. Think about which forms of cybersex you are comfortable participating in, and which ones you may not be comfortable with. It is highly recommended that you only share personal photos or videos with cybersex partners who you know and trust. Finally, ensure that you will have uninterrupted time and privacy available for the duration of a cybersex experience to avoid any uncomfortable or embarrassing situations.


Resources:

Boskey, E. (2020, April 5). Cybersex: Types, Benefits, and Risks. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/cybersex-pros-cons-4800752

Galán, J.P., Deseare, A., Blasco, J.L., & Millán, V.G. (2020). P-07-5 sexting and new cybersex roles through social media. The Journal of Sexual Medicine17(6), S213-S214. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.04.364

Shaughnessy, K., & Byers, E.S. (2014). Contextualizing cybersex experience: Heterosexually identified men and women’s desire for and experiences with cybersex with three types of partners. Computers in Human Behavior32, 178-185. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.12.005

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