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Is Cybersex Sex?

By Dr. Marty Klein Expert
 
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Sex on the 'Net: late at night in a dark, quiet house. Or in the bright light of morning, just a room away from the kids playing Nintendo. Computer screens across America are glowing with lusty self-portraits and requests, aimed at strangers whose "handles" read like vanity license plates: Cumgood. 69ForU. Babyface.

What exactly are these cybersuitors doing? Just as in the so-called real world, some get their thrills strictly between the ears. Many more have one hand on the keyboard and one on themselves (typing lots of words with no Ks or Ls). Others do their foreplay on-line, then consummate alone, after signing off (paying for the arousal, coming for free).

An unknown number gender-bend, too. Is that really a 14-year-old girl in hot pants you just seduced--or a Hulk Hogan look-alike in a tattered t-shirt surrounded by rug-rats? Maybe it's actually a college guy with a pocket protector and acne, or a bored Manhattan couple slumming. There's just no way to tell who Cherry@VP really is.

Some cybersexers are indignant about this manipulation. Many deny it exists, preferring the fantasy that their cyber-partners are exactly what they claim. Some don't care. And a few revel in it. For them, not knowing their cyber-partner feels exotic; knowing that this stranger may not even be who s/he is portraying is even more exciting.

No one knows how cybersex affects its practitioners' lives. It provides an opportunity to experiment with new things--erotic power play, for example, asking for what you want, even using words like penis and vulva. Those who have seen themselves through the eyes of only one sexual partner can sense what they might be like with others: they can shop around, expose themselves, be discovered and appreciated anew, be reassured that they're not, say, frigid, oversexed, or "too" kinky. And young people with little experience can learn about themselves: how they like to be treated, how to say "no" and mean it, what it feels like to initiate or receive attention gracefully.

Cybersex is, of course, "safe sex," a play space with virtually no serious consequences for mistakes.

Add a Comment1 Comments

Aimee Boyle

Absolutely one of the best articles I've ever read on this confusing and uniquely modern conundrum. Thank you for your insight and clarity.

Aimee

December 6, 2009 - 12:48pm
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