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Virtual sex is a sexual act where two or more people gather together via some form of communications equipment to arouse each other by transmitting sexually explicit messages. Virtual sex describes the phenomenon, no matter the communications equipment used. Also called hot chat.

Increases in Internet connectivity, bandwidth availability, and the proliferation of webcams have also had implications for virtual sex enthusiasts. It's increasingly common for these activities to include the exchange of pictures or motion video. There are companies which allow paying customers to actually watch people have live sex or masturbate and at the same time allow themselves to be watched as well. Recently devices have been introduced and marketed to allow remote controlled stimulation. Thus the distinctions between real and virtual sex may become increasingly blurred.

Sociologists have compared virtual sex to being a cyborg, because a natural human activity (having sex) is being mediated by technology. Thus, in some sense, the technology becomes part of the person's identity.

This is a relatively new phenomenon although there are stories of telegraph operators exchanging sexually explicit messages at the fin de siecle (end of the century).

As with many other aspects of human sexuality this one is controversial in Anglo-Saxon cultures, with opponents branding it as a form of pornography and often trying to infer some correlation to pedophilia and/or child pornography. There is no indication of any psychological implications of cybersex. As with other forms of paraphilia cybersex is scrutinized in these said cultures, as a possible symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Meanwhile proponents are quick to point out that any activity can be symptomatic of OCD and that cybersex between or among consenting adults is essentially no different from any other form of erotica, pornography or sexual activity.


  • Deuel, Nancy R. 1996. Our passionate response to virtual reality. Computer-mediated Communication: Linguistic, Social, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives, p. 129-146. Ed. by Susan C. Herring. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Philadelphia.

See also

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