By all accounts cybersex is booming. According to a Swedish study, 30% of people had engaged in cybersex (almost 40% of 40-50 year olds). And an Australian study found that 8% of all people in relationships had engaged in cybersex with someone other than their partner.
The appeal is pretty straightforward… getting to form a sexual (and emotional?) connection with a stranger without all the complications of a real life, face-to-face relationship. Masturbation that is more interactive than internet porn. Socializing from your living room.
In many cases, I believe, cybersex can be pretty harmless. When it came up at a dinner party recently, my wife was of the view that cybersex was no different than watching porn, as long it did not lead to an in person affair. The logic is pretty solid… it is fantasy play and mental sexual stimulation. It’s like porn, as long as it doesn’t become habitual and draw you away from your real life responsibilities, what’s the harm?
A caveat…. in other cases, of course, cybersex can be harmful. It can become habit forming and a distraction from our real life responsibilities. It can lead to affairs, betrayals and the like. Psychology Today reported on a study that online affairs are becoming a ‘thing’ and that women are particularly prone to engage and then feel guilty or allow it to diminish their self esteem.
But assume you decide that cybersex is for you…. it is not as easy or straightforward as it appear. A new tips:
- Make sure you (and your current relationship) can handle it. While both my wife and I think cybersex is a harmless and fun indulgence, many will not feel this way. You need to make sure (i) your partner will not view this as cheating and (ii) you can engage in a way that doesn’t ramp up to a relationship you are not able/willing to have
- Remember that someone – a human being – is at the other end of cyberspace. This is a human being you are cybersexing with and they deserve to be treated as such. Use your manner and common human decency… it is surprising that I have to say this but.. people will surprise you in how they will behave online.
- Remember that the human being on the other end of the cyber line may not be exactly who they claim to be. That 28 year old bikini model you’ve bene chatting with may actually be a 52 year old house wife (or 21 year old dude living in his parents basement). Try to feel them out for authenticity, but you also may need to get comfortable with the fact that you will never really know. My advice… thesis about your fantasy and ‘its not a lie if you believe it’ – allow yourself to believe the fantasy.
- Be prepared – cybersexing is not easy. You need some sexy stories to tell, some good banter, sexy talk and lots of effusive compliments. If this doesn’t role naturally off your tongue (or fingertips), you may want to prepare a bit in advance. Its awful to show up in cybersex-space with nothing to say.
- Allow things to build. Many people, especially women, don’t want to dive immediately into what you want to do with their throbbing loins. Cybersex – like sex – requires foreplay.
- Find a regular partner. This may fall into the ‘maybe’ category. Many find that having one or two people with whom they regularly cybersex is fun, intimate and easy. They develop a rapport they know what each likes, they develop an intimacy that enhances the cyber experience. This is all good – even great – as long as it doesn’t put you on that path to affair or compulsion.
There’s a lot to like about cybersex, but there’s a lot to think about too. Good luck, and be careful out there!