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When I tell people I write about cybersex, I get a lot of curious reactions. Ive grown used to, for example, the Oh my God, youre secretly a pervert grimace: a sour, prudish twisting of the mouth. Im also well-acquainted with the You actually have sex on the internet?! look of shock and concernraised eyebrows, dropped jaw. And then theres the most curious reaction of all: the understanding, almost sympathetic nod, which says, It must be tough, but good for you. After all, somebody has got to uncover that den of online perversion.
Rarely do peopleeven sex positive peoplerespond cybersex positively. Why is that? When so many consenting adults are having sex online, why do we still think of it as wrong? Sure, we can blame media that feeds us anti-cybersex sensationalism (To Catch a Predator, with its line-up of internet prowling pedophiles, come to mind). But the truth is we love sex, and we definitely love technology. So why cant we love the two together?
I was shocked to receive a recent email from a Click Me reader that asked, Are there any benefits to cybersex? Like, seriously? Maybe I havent been making myself clear: of course there are benefits to cybersex! Cybersex, like real-life sex, can be a wonderful thingfull of pleasure, skill, and sexual self-expression. Here are the top ten reasons youyes, you, red-blooded, non-perverted American citizenshould be out doing it right now.
1. Safety: Despite the sensationalist buzz around internet predators, cybersex is actually a lot safer than sex in real life. Dont give out personal information to strangers, of course, and youll find the only thing you have worry about is what turns you onnot STDs, not unwanted pregnancy, not even how to find a babysitter. As one single mom put it, Why endanger my kids by bringing home sexual partners if I can tuck them into bed and have fun online in the next room?
2. Convenient sex for singles: Cybersex doesnt require an empty house, a hotel room, or even a bed. More importantly, it doesnt require the lengthy tactics of face-to-face seduction. Whether youre looking for a quick romp before you head off to workhard to come by if you live aloneor an end-of-the-night, on-demand orgasm, the internet and its wealth of cybersex enthusiasts is always waiting and ready.
3. Convenient sex for couples: He lives in California. Shes spending three weeks visiting family in the Philippines. How will this couple handle their time apart? By having regular webcam sex, of course! Being long-distance doesnt mean you have to be sexually frustrated. In fact, it can be a great time to explore sexy new sides to a relationshipwith the help of a little technology.
4. Trying new kinks: Because cybersex isnt real, it gives people a chance to experiment with sex acts and fetishes they havent, wouldnt, or couldnt in real life. Think you have a thing for stockings? Want to practice switching genders? Does the idea of being a giant whale really turn you on, but you cant figure out the logistics? Internet sex communities are often accepting and almost always anonymous. Whos going to judge you?
5. Meeting new people: Having cybersex with someone youve just met may seem strange, but it can actually lead to lasting online friendships. Hook up with a hottie in a virtual world and you may find yourself chatting about indie rock and ice cream preferences for hours after the sex is over. Theres also the appeal of the virtual one-night stand: a new lover every night, from the comfort of a desk chair.
6. Exercising your creative muscle: Cybersex is an art. How often do you get to write like an erotic novelist and dream up new ways to describe that tired, old throbbing member? Alternately, take pride in your digital-camera skills. Youre a real pornography photographer when you snap those naked pictures and post them online. Own up!
7. Making money: Sure, there are stigmas around using your body for cash. But combine the safety, creativity, and convenience of cybersex, and youve got a great recipe for online sex work. From escorting in Second Life to performing on webcams, the possibilities abound for internet users who feel comfortable putting themselves out there onlineand earning something back in exchange.
8. Gaining confidence: Dont think youre a sexy person? Youre wrong. Someone out there on the world wide web shares your sexual interestsand thinks youre hot. Start chatting; buy yourself a webcam. With enough cyberers wrapped around your sexy, virtual finger, you might just look in the real-life mirror a whole new way.
9. Practicing for the real thing: Talking dirty in real-life bed can be hardnot because its actually difficult, but because it comes with a lot of pressure. What if I sound stupid? What if he doesnt think its sexy? Enter text-based cybersex. Thanks to the anonymity of the internet, its easy to get feedback on dirty talkand to get used to hearing it coming out of your fingertips, if not your mouth.
10. The sheer pleasure: Cybersex is sexy, and it feels good. So go on, have some already!
Last Week: My Life as a (Pretend) Russian Sexbot
Click Me runs on villagevoice.com every Monday. Got a question about cybersex? Write to your friendly cyberhood sexpert Bonnie Ruberg to ask advice or share stories about sex and the internet: bonnie [at] heroine-sheik [dot] com.