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Virtual Sex Part 1: What Is Virtual Sex?

This series explores a small portion of the great wide world of Virtual Sex! Our first instalment covers questions like: What is it? Why do people do it? How do people do it? Is it even “doing it”? And more?

So what is Virtual Sex?

Virtual Sex is any kind of sexual activity that people do with/on the internet. This includes sexting, masturbating together on video chat, phone sex, sending photos, chat rooms, sliding into the DMs, and so much more! Here’s a brief list of options:

  • Sexting – Sending sexy/sexually descriptive/explicit things (texts, pictures, videos) over text message or social media platforms (Snapchat, Instagram, Kik, etc.).
  • Phone Sex – Saying/ describing sexy things over the phone to someone.
  • Sexy Blogs – Write sexy stories, notes, or fantasies. This can be to one person, or public on a blog somewhere.
  • Watching sexy videos or porn together (if you’re 18+) through video or phone chat (Skype, FaceTime, etc)
  • Online Exhibitionism – Posting pics or vids of yourself to public websites or social media accounts.
  • Online Role Play – Playing around with other identities or fantasies with your partner(s) online.
  • Distance forms of kink power play – Controlling (consensually) what your partner does, wears, where they go, etc., and they update you with photos or text messages showing that they’re following orders.

Pretty much all of these activities can include or lead to people masturbating where they’re at, but they don’t have to. Some people just like the fun and thrills that can come with being sexy.

Since (for the most part) virtual sex doesn’t involve physical contact between partners, some people will have a hard time thinking of it as “real sex.” And sure, virtual sex can be different from physical sex. But different doesn’t mean “not real,” as virtual sex is a very real way for partners to be sexy and intimate with each other. Virtual sex is a fun option that allows you to explore and be adventurous, potentially letting you try things you didn’t know you liked and broadening your sexual repertoire in a way that physical sex doesn’t allow.

Why do people have virtual sex?

There are a ton of reasons why people engage in virtual sex. Here are a few:

  • Virtual sex poses zero risks for pregnancy or STIs.
  • It’s a good alternative for people abstaining from physical sex.
  • It’s a good way to engage in foreplay for physical sex acts.
  • It’s also a great option for people who are not comfortable (for whatever reason) with physical sex acts (oral, anal, vaginal, masturbation).
  • Some partners do it to maintain sexual intimacy during a long-distance relationship.
  • It’s a low-stakes way to try new things, like opening up your relationship, or roleplaying different genders or sexual orientations.
  • Because people think it’s fun and sexy!

Why don’t people have virtual sex?

Alternatively, There are a ton of reasons why people don’t engage in virtual sex. Here are a few:

  • It may just not work for you. Like with any sex acts, you might feel uncomfortable, awkward, or just not interested in it. And that’s okay! Nobody has to be into everything!
  • It can be expensive. Maybe you can’t afford a smartphone, or a tablet, or a laptop, not to mention paying for data or internet. If you are able to get online easily, maybe it’s only on a computer or phone that they share it with family members, so using it for virtual sex is not ideal.
  • It’s too risky. There’s no guarantee that your partner is going to be the only person seeing what you sext or the photos you send. People screenshot and secretly record stuff all the time. You might not be comfortable with the risk of those things getting shared around, which is totally understandable. See below for more information about virtual sex and the law.

It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t have to have virtual sex if you don’t want to. Sexting and sending nudes is pretty popular, but that doesn’t mean everybody does it. Lots of people are in healthy and happy relationships (even Long Distance Relationships), and they don’t do any kind of virtual sex. Neither you or your partner should feel pressured to do anything sexually that you don’t feel comfortable with, including virtual sex.

Virtual Sex and the Law

It’s important to be mindful of laws around age of consent and pornography for where you live. In Ontario, you cannot create or distribute pornographic material for people under the age of 18. That means if you’re 17 or younger, it is illegal for you to take nudes or send nudes of yourself to your partner(s). This is technically creating and distributing child pornography. If you are over 18 but your partner is younger, it is illegal for you to send them nudes or to solicit nudes from them.

If you or your partner(s) are under 18, try to have a conversation about non-explicit things that turn you on. This can give you options for virtual sex that won’t get you in trouble with the law if you messages are discovered.

Laws are shifting and changing to catch up with technology, so it’s important to stay informed. For more information on the age of consent in Canada, check out the government’s page on Age of Consent to Sexual Activity .

The Privacy Issue

It’s also important to consider that once you send a photo or video, you may not have control over where it goes. It’s good to be aware that anybody you send things to can screenshot it, show it to their friends, or post it online. Try to consider who you’re sending pictures/videos to. Even if you trust them and feel comfortable sending them stuff, it’s okay if you also want to be careful and limit how you expose yourself online. You can try things like not including your face in photos or videos, or only engage in sexting or phone sex. And again, you don’t have to send people anything if you’re not comfortable with the risk. That’s totally okay too!

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