Written by sex journalist and expert, Gabrielle Kassel, for The Cowgirl.
WHAT IS CYBER SEX?
FaceTime fucking. Digital dick-down. Phone freaky. Sex-texting. Cyber sex is an umbrella term for any play that happens digitally.
Throw one back for modern technology. Then keep scrolling to better understand the main types of cyber sex.
A well-loved device by wanna-be erotica novelists and horny writers alike, sexting is any conversation that involves messaging R-rated thoughts back and forth.
Meaning, while sexting is typically thought to occur via a mobile device, it can also occur in the Instagram or Twitter DMs, on iMessage, via chatroom, or even through email You’ve Got Mail style.
Webcam sex is any sexperience that involves two or more people in two or more locations and a camera. So, classic video sex, watching (and paying for!) a cam-human, Zoom orgies, and virtual kink parties all qualify.
ICYWW: While video porn includes video, it typically does *not* qualify as webcam sex because the videos are not live and the viewer cannot directly interact with the performer on the other end of the screen.
Digital play parties
Yes, digital play parties are basically just webcam sex… but bigger. But given the role they’ve played in kink folks’ sex lives in the wake of social distancing orders, they deserve their own category.
“They are digital play parties one of the few things that safely address the needs and desires of single and non-monogamous folks in a pandemic,” says sex-hacker and sex educator Kenneth Play. “They also allowed folks to dip a toe into group play, voyeurism, and exhibitionism without leaving the comfort of your home,” he says.
“Teledildonic” is sex-tech speak for sex toys that can be through from afar with the help of the internet. Basically, app-controlled toys.
“App-controlled toys are a wonderful addition to webcam sex and sexting,” says sex worker and sex educator Corey More. With app-enabled rideable vibrator The Cowgirl Sex Machine, for example, you could put on a show for someone on the other side of the screen while giving them full control of the vibration settings.
For the record: According to More teledildonics are a good investment for IRL partnered and multi-partnered sex, too. “They can be used as pre-play, the whole damn encounter, or in the case of a wearable vibrator during a date.”
Alternate reality sex
Ever made your Sims Woohoo? Or dive into the “dark side” of Roblox? If so, you’ve engaged in alternative reality sex.
At its most basic, alternate reality sex is sex that happens in another world...but still arouses people on planet earth.
In fact, because both audio and written erotica ~transport~ listeners and readers to another universe, they’re also often classified as alternate reality sex.
Virtual reality sex
Virtual reality is the use of technology to create a simulated environment that feels real. Virtual reality sex, then, is the use of technology to create an erotic environment that feels real.
This could be as basic as virtual reality porn that allows you to watch performers have sex from third-person POV so it feels as if they were right in front of you.
But it also includes devices such as the "Vstroker" and the "Auto-Blow2" which use virtual reality porn to time the physical sensations functions to match the visual. See a blowjob on the screen? Feel a blowjob-esque sensation. Pretty impressive, right?
What are the benefits of cyber sex?
Let’s start with the obvious: Cyber sex allows you to have sex even in the middle of a god-damn pandemic!
“Cyber sex has given folks a number of extremely creative and fun ways to get it on when meeting up in person may not be safe,” says sex educator Rev. Rucifer, founder of Reiki Bondage. There’s a reason we’re writing this article N-O-W, after all.
Beyond that, because zero physical contact is actually taking place, there’s zero chance of getting pregnant or transmitting STIs. So global pandemic or not, cyber sex is a lower-stress option for folks who avoid intimacy due to anxieties about these risks.
More adds that because cyber sex can be done anonymously and from the comfort of your own home, “It’s a really great way to explore your most taboo and uncommon fantasies without putting yourself in a potentially unsafe situation with a partner.”
Are there drawbacks of cyber sex?
If you’re reading this, odds are you’ve heard ramblings that anything you put on the internet lasts forever. Hate to break it to you, Fam, but that is true.
“Any photo or video that you take and send could end up as revenge porn,” says More. That’s why they recommend having your cyber sex mate agree in writing not to share the content. “A written agreement would allow you to take the perpetrator to court should your photos or notes be shared,” they say.
Sadly, if you don’t have one of those aforementioned written agreements—or do and realize you don’t have the resources to take someone to court—whatever images or videos you sent can be used against you when you’re job, apartment, or even dog hunting.
How to have safe cyber sex
Considering cyber sex? Ask yourself the following questions before moving forward.
What am I comfortable sharing online?
It’s good practice to map out some personal boundaries before the opportunity to have cyber sex presents itself.
- Under what circumstances am I comfortable including my face in a photo or video?
- How comfortable would I feel content I took for cyber sex were later leaked?
- How would a leaked video or photo of me affect my safety, income, and housing?
- Do I have any identifiable moles, marks, or tattoos that could be identifiable in the footage?
- Who do I feel comfortable playing with?
Who am I going to 'play' with?
So long as it's consensual, cyber sex can practically be done with anyone from a just-swiped Tinder match to a sex worker to a long term partner.
Knowing who you’ll be playing with is key because that’ll likely determine what type of cyber sex works best for you. Plus, what your specific boundaries are with that person.
Do I trust this person?
Is the answer Y-E-S? Hoorah! Trusting someone is a good feeling.
But, you’ll still need to set a time and place for the cyber sex to take place, choose the exact medium, and discuss boundaries.
“If you’re going to be having video sex, for example, you should discuss ahead of time whether toys will be used, what parts of your body you’re comfortable showing on camera, and if there are any sex acts you find triggering or turn-offs,” explains Dirty Lola, sex educator and producer and host of the Sex Ed A-Go-Go live show and podcast, and co-host of New York Magazine's The Cut's "Sex Probz"web series.
If the answer is N-O, NOT REALLY, or *shoulder shrug*, More says you can still enjoy the thrill-factor…. But should also take measures to protect yourself.
- Ridding your space of any photos, mail, or IDs. Or, use a virtual background.
- Creating a new account or email address.
- Hiding your face with a mask or angling the camera to only reveal certain body parts.
- Covering any identifiable body markings with tattoo cover up or clothing.
How to introduce the idea of cyber sex
Just ask! Really, whether you’re introducing the idea to your long-term LDR, recent Tinder swipe, or mutual friend, asking is the first step.
While Dirty Lola says she typically recommends folks have non-sexual video or phone date ahead of scheduling an X-rated one, that may not be necessary depending on where you two met or how long you two have known each other.
Some lines she recommends:
- “I’d really love to bring this to a more sexual place. Would you be interested in exploring phone sex or video sex together?”.
- “I recently read an article about cyber sex and I thought it might be a fun way to explore intimacy while we can’t physically touch. Would you be open to reading the article and talking about it?”.
- “Have you ever explored cyber sex before? I haven’t but I think it might be something I’d like to explore with you. I’d love to talk more about it.”
What if my partner isn’t interested?
You’re allowed to be interested in their disinterest. “I’d love to better understand where your aversion to cyber sex comes from. Would you be willing to explain it a little more to me?” is a fair question. But you’re not allowed to pressure them. At all. Ever.
If your partner isn’t interested in cyber sex and it’s within the boundaries of your relationship, More recommends a sex worker. Sex Panther or Night Flirt are great outlets for finding a phone sex operator, they say. And Instagram, OnlyFans, Alt Twitter, and Google are great ways to find professionals with other specialties
“If you and your partner are open, you can always go on Tinder, Bumble, Feeld, #Open, or FetLife and explicitly explain what you’re looking for,” they say.
And if you’re curious about digital play events, Play recommends signing up to be on the list for a community like Hacienda. “At the very least the digital events will allow you to meet like-minded people all over the world (and sometimes right in your neighborhood).”
How to have romantic cyber sex
Now that know how to make cyber sex safe, it’s time to learn how to make cyber sex sensual, sexy, and steamy.
Pick a type of cyber sex
Because there are so many different types of cyber sex, simply agreeing to have cyber sex isn’t adequate. To figure out which type is best for you, Play says, “Think of your desires and what you’re hoping to achieve beforehand and exchange that information with your partner.”
If you want to watch each other climax, video sex or Snapchat sexting could be a better fit than phone sex. But if you want to have a virtual threesome, a digital play partner may be the better bet.
Set the scene
It’ll sound obvious once it’s said, but the best way to have a sexy exchange is for everyone involved to feel sexy before the session sets.
That’s why Rucifer recommends sexifying your space—even if you’re going to be the only person to actually see it.
“Get your room cozy, dim the lights, light candles, clean your area, and light incense,” she says. “Any way you would prep your home before bringing someone home for an in-person date you should do now.”
Gather your gear
“It’s so awkward to hear or watch someone rummaging through their nightstand mid-way through to find the lube or toy they want,” says Dirty Lola.
So do you and your partner(s) a solid and while you’re setting the scene, lay out all the pleasure-products, oils, and lubes you could possibly want.
Do some practice runs
Whether you’re exploring video or phone sex, Dirty Lola says recommends testing out location and lighting.
“If you’re going to be using your computer during the call, don’t test with your phone—and vice versa” she says.
“And if you’re going to be videoing at night, don’t test the lighting with the curtain open.” (As a general rule, you want the lighting in front (not behind) your bod).
Chat technical difficulties ASAP
Sure, talking about dropped signals and unreliable broadband may not be the sexiest way to start a cyber sex date. But considering you’ll all be in your most vulnerable state (naked, touching yourself), according to Dirty Lola it’s a must.
“Establishing a back-up plan for what you’re going to do if you lose connection will save your partner(s) from feeling rejected if you exit out of nowhere,” she says.
A simple line like, “If I suddenly disappear it’s because I lost connection and I’ll call you right back” or, “I only have forty percent battery, so if I lose you I’ll text you ASAP” works great.
Plan an exit
If you’re attending a digital play party with someone else, Play recommends establishing an exit strategy ahead of time. “That way when you’re ready to leave you can.”
With permission, pull-out your pleasure products
From app-enabled toys to rideable vibrators like The Cowgirl, there are so many different types of sex toys that can be used to enhance the sexperience, and More recommends trying all of them!
But before you whip something out, it’s best to ask consent. For example:
- “I’m really craving having something in my ass. Would you like to watch me fuck myself with my anal beads?”.
- “I’d really love to ride my suction-cup dildo for you. Do you have a preference for a realistic or non-realistic dildo?”.
“You never know if a certain toy, position, or act is going to trigger someone to a bad memory or experience, so it’s always best to ask before incorporating something you haven’t used together before,” says Dirty Lola.
Pleasure, after all, is the point.
After cyber sex, practice aftercare
“Just as you would for any offline sexual situation, it's good practice to engage in aftercare after the session has come to a sort of conclusion,” says Rucifer. After all, cutting out right after an orgasm can be hurtful to the person(s) on the receiving end— unless that was agreed upon beforehand, she says.
Aftercare is a process that involves checking in with your play partners emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually post-play.
“You want to find out how their body is feeling, what they’re thinking, and what parts of that they particularly enjoyed,” says Rucifer. Plus, offer support any TLC they may need.
Here’s what that might look like:
- “Baby, I know you get dehydrated after sex, why don’t you grab yourself a glass of water? I’ll stay on the line.”
- “If I was there I’d be holding you tight right now, do you want to grab your weighted blanket to simulate the sensation?”
- “We’ve never explored anal before. Did you enjoy that? How is your bum feeling now?”
- “Wow, watching you stroke yourself so damn hot. How did that feel for you?”
Rucifer also recommends asking your boo(s) if cyber sex is something they might want to try again All enjoy yourself? Go ahead and set a date for Cyber sex Date Round 2.