What is virtual sex? The further we advance into the twenty-first century, the more complicated the question of virtual sex becomes. At what point does virtual sex become a true visceral extension of physical sex? What are the technologies involved? Where can a curious person experience virtual sex?
Virtual sex is any sexual contact or experience involving any kind of communication technology, such as:
- Virtual reality (VR)
- Teledildonics (digital remote stimulation)
There are several different categories of virtual sex: camming, phone sex, teledildonics (or digital
,’ stimulation), cybersex, virtual reality, and sexting. Let’s take a look at each of these in
The Technology of Virtual Sex
Virtual sex can be used to facilitate solo play, but the main draw of virtual sex is that it can allow people to have sex no matter how far apart they actually are. This allows couples to simulate the real experience of sex without being right next to each other.
Along with cybersex, another technology that is almost moving into the mainstream is virtual reality (VR). The concept of VR has been around at least as long as the Internet, but digital communications software and hardware are just now getting to a point where real-time interactions are becoming visceral experiences.
What Is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality is a simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment generated by computer technology that can be interacted with in a realistic way by a person using haptic equipment or virtual reality helmets to interact with it.
This technology is also one of the concepts behind augmented reality (AR), a technology that overlays computer-generated imagery and media over the real world and can be interacted with via technology like special glasses and computer programs.
These high-tech concepts are the result of the fourth industrial revolution (41R). While this technological revolution (also known as the Digital or Information Age) has touched numberless aspects of daily human life, none have been so transformed as the virtual sex industry.
Who Participates in Virtual Reality?
Camming is a corner of the digital sex industry that has been pioneered and spearheaded by women, but the opposite proves true for virtual reality. As far back as the mid-nineties, studies show that women have historically shown significantly less interest in virtual reality than men.
Woman and VR
This trend is reversing itself in the twenty-first century, however. As this article points out, as more businesswomen become directly involved with VR development, VR development is moving in directions that appeal more to women, and women are responding.
The use of virtual reality in the online sex trade is expanding, with women leading the charge in utilizing it to increase interactivity in online sex shows.
What Does Virtual Reality Cost?
Virtual reality still features some of the most expensive technology on the market, not just in the sex industry but anywhere. Luckily in the past few years, cheap and mid-range options have reduced significantly in price. Here are a few available devices:
- Samsung Gear VR: Allowing users to meet up in virtual “party rooms” and interact with 100+ digital apps, the Samsung Gear is a very economical mid-range VR system. While it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of some of the more high-tech VR systems, it does the trick.
- Zeiss VR One: One of the lower range offerings in virtual reality equipment, this headset has good compatibility with multiple digital platforms, but it does not come with a smartphone tray, so you’ll have to buy one specific to your phone.
- Oculus Rift: The Rift is one of the more expensive pieces of VR tech on the market, but it’s arguably one of the more refined ones. The Rift is a good choice for someone who wants a real investment in good equipment, not just an experimental experience.
- HTC Vive Pro: Cream of the crop in virtual reality tech, the Vive Pro will be out of reach for most consumer budgets but the most diehard VR aficionados, but it’s an exciting display of what’s in store for the near future of VR.
Best VR Platforms
With VR’s jump from technological novelty to pornography staple, several pornography websites specializing in catering to virtual reality users have cropped up. If you’re interested in trying out this state-of-the-art tech in the bedroom, here are a few websites you can try:
- VirtualRealPorn: One of the best VR porn sites on the Internet, VirtualRealPorn’s formatting is compatible with most major VR platforms, including Samsung Gear and the Oculus Rift. It’s a subscription-based service that is also compatible with the Kiiroo Onyx, a teledildonic device.
- VirtualPorn360: Like it says on the tin, this porn site specializes in 360-degree videos. Most of the clips are short, but new content is being added all the time.
- KinkVR: While this is a relatively new VR porn site, it is compatible with all major VR platforms (Samsung, Oculus, smartphones) and is also compatible with the Kiiroo Onyx for a teledildonic experience.
- BadoinkVR: A VR porn site rivaling VirtualRealPorn, BadoinkVR has a special offer—if you order a subscription, they’ll send you a VR headset for free. BadoinkVR features both 180-degree and 360-degree videos and features its own app on the Apple Store and Google Play
Virtual Sex: The Final Frontier
Virtual sex has only really become a hot topic in the past decade or so. While phone sex has likely been around since soon after phones were invented in 1876 and people have been titillating each other in love letters for centuries, virtual sex is a relatively new concept that is continually growing.
With each year that passes, the technology that has permeated the rest of modern society has also extended its reach further into the technology involved in the sex industry. This technology primarily falls into six categories: camming, phone sex, teledildonics, cybersex, virtual reality, and sexting.
Virtual Sex Using Your Phone
As one of the oldest forms of virtual sex (next to the handwritten love letter), phone sex has been around almost as long as telephones. The telephone was developed in the late 1800s, but due to its early rarity didn’t become universally popular until the mid-twentieth century.
Phone sex is a great way for you and your partner to engage from afar. Think about it: when you think of your partner’s voice, you’re likely thinking of the sexiest, most sultry voice you can think of, and that’s just during normal conversation. Toss in some sexy roleplaying, and you’re bound to fulfill your sexual desires, even from states or countries away.
Who Has Phone Sex?
Because it is so popular and has been around for such a long time, phone sex isn’t just limited to fetishists or voyeurs–it is common practice in long-distance relationships for couples to have phone sex to maintain their sexual connection even when separated by thousands of miles.
Phone sex is also still a paid niche in the sex work industry, though it does not enjoy the levels of popularity it had before the advent of cybersex.
While private phone sex is still popular due to the inclusion of video technology like Face Time and Skype, paid phone sex services are declining due to the advance of technologies like webcam shows and teledildonics.
How to Be Sexy Over the Phone
One problem that couples may have when it comes to phone sex is not knowing how to do it, but it’s really rather simple. There’s no need to be embarrassed, either. This is the person that you love and feel the most connected to, so letting down your guard and having some fun is a great way to enhance your long-distance relationship.
Don’t change your voice
Some people might think they have to put on an ultra-sexy tone to appease their partner, but they don’t want to hear from ‘phone sex Jenny,’ they want to hear Jenny’s voice that they love.
Don’t be afraid to laugh
It doesn’t have to be all serious. A little bit of giggling can go a long way when it comes to relaxing and setting the mood for phone sex.
Get in the mood
There’s nothing worse than someone who fakes it, whether it’s in person or over the phone. Get cozy under the covers, and don’t be afraid to have fun with yourself. Make sure the person on the other line can hear how hot and heavy you’re getting– it’s a huge turn on!
Read an erotic story together
If you can’t seem to muster up the courage (yet) to think of your own material, it may be a good idea to read a sexy tale or two. Have a copy of the same story and take turns reading aloud to each other.
Tell them what you want to do to them and listen to their responses
Phone sex is a two-way connection. You should tell your partner exactly what you want to do to them and listen to their response. Think about it clearly in your head to describe what’s happening next.
Don’t be afraid to step out of the box
There are some things you might never want to actually do in the bedroom, but it sounds like a fun fantasy. Bring that fantasy to life over the phone. It adds a touch of whimsy and lets your guard down without actually doing it.
Sexting, the high-tech, shorthand cousin of the dirty love letter, had its real heyday in the late nineties and early 2000s, before the advent of video chat, camgirls, and virtual reality. Despite that, sexting is still one of the most common and popular forms of virtual sex today using your smartphone.
History of Sexting
Sexting became popular practice when phones developed text message technology (though there were a few risqué beeper codes sent prior to that revolution). Since smartphones developed video and camera capability, sexting now incorporates nude photographs and video recordings of sex.
Sexting has a complicated history in human culture in a short period of time it has been around. While it can be seen as a positive bonding activity between monogamous couples, it can be harmful when explicit messages or photographs are transmitted to an individual without consent.
Who Is Sexting?
The short answer is a lot of young people (54% claimed that they had sent or received explicit photos with a significant other in one 2011 study according to Wikipedia), but with the popularity of video chat and phone apps, sexting is starting close the gap on age.
Teenagers are still considered the largest group of people responsible for sexting, which can be problematic since many of them transmit nude or semi-nude photographs of themselves while underage. Even if sent to another underage individual, transmitting these images can be a crime.
Best Sexting Apps
For those couples interested in incorporating sexting into their romantic activities, there are several robust apps available on smartphones to help facilitate your next liaison. Here are a few of them:
- Signal: The ultimate in privacy, the Signal app allows you to send encrypted messages and videos on your phone, ensuring that those steamy texts or photos don’t fall into the wrong hands.
- Lovense: The Lovense app allows you to remotely control several Lovense sex toys that your partner can wear while you send video or message them in the app’s chat service — the perfect app for people who want to incorporate teledildonics into their sexting.
- Dust: This encrypted app features text messages that disappear after 24 hours or immediately after they are read, depending on settings. The app also lets you erase your messages off another person’s phone and sends you a notification if they try to screenshot what you wrote.
Using Your Webcam for Virtual Sex
Camming (also known as webcam modeling) is the performance art of streaming live video from a host source that is then broadcast on the Internet for viewers to watch. Since it caught on in the late nineties, webcam modeling has rapidly developed into a major cornerstone of the sex work industry.
History of Camming
Webcam modeling all started twenty-three years ago in 1996 when a young performance artist named Jenny Ringley decided to live-stream her daily activities for the Internet. She set up a host site called JenniCam.com (now sadly defunct).
This revolutionary broadcast Truman Show style was a smashing hit and laid the groundwork for webcam modeling to expand. When it did, models inevitably turned to broadcasting more risqué material from the privacy of their homes, creating an entirely new entertainment market out of thin air.
By 2013, what was once a tiny niche on the Internet had—according to the New York Times—turned into a billion-dollar industry.
Who Does Webcam Modeling?
It’s a pretty private industry, so it’s difficult to get official numbers on just how many webcam models out there are doing sex work. But there are a few things we know about the extent of the camming business and who it involves:
- Although webcam models can (and are) both male and female, camming is one of the few corners of the sex industry pioneered and dominated by solo female entrepreneurs.
- As of 2016, the camming industry generated over $2 billion dollars. This is almost half of the entire sex industry as a whole, which generates roughly $5 billion annually.
- The demographics of webcam models range widely. Models come from all backgrounds and span the gamut from minimum wage high school dropouts to postgraduate scholars like
Dr. Theresa Senft.
What Does It Cost to Buy Services?
The cost of webcam services can vary wildly depending on which host you’re using. Many webcam services are free minus voluntary tip services, such as the following:
These sites offer a wide variety of entertaining services while allowing people who are still exploring the realm of virtual sex to get involved with no financial commitment.
MyFreeCams and Chaturbate have the added benefits of being registration-free, so you don’t have to leave any personal information for extra discretion. BongaCams requires a quick sign-up but does not take credit card information.
All three services are 100% free, though BongaCams does have a premium service available for paid subscriptions. There are also paid services available on other webcam sites such as LiveJasmin, where accessing live streams can range in price from less than a dollar to $10 per hour.
Teledildonics are one of the newer offerings in the realm of virtual sex. Teledildonics is the technology involved with syncing sex toys wirelessly either for close-range Bluetooth connectivity or long-distance control via an Internet connection.
Popularized by users stuck in long-distance relationships who wanted a more visceral shared experience than phone sex alone could provide, teledildonics (also known as digital remote stimulation) have been popularized by high-tech sex toy companies such as the following:
The History of Teledildonics
Teledildonics is a fairly young technology. While the term teledildonics has been around since at least 1975, teledildonic devices didn’t achieve true prominence on the market until the mid-2000s.
Teledildonics were originally novelty products, but as the technology matures and real-time Internet connectivity improves across the globe, teledildonics is becoming more and more commonplace.
In 2019 teledildonics and their related software feature heavily in the online sex industry. More and more, these devices are being used to introduce expanded interactivity into webcam shows, allowing viewers to interact directly with the host.
Who Uses Teledildonics?
While teledildonics were originally conceived in order to help facilitate more visceral intimacy between partners in long-distance relationships, this technology has since seen massive expansions into the sex work industry.
Many webcam models are introducing teledildonics into their shows in order to encourage user participation. Because this user participation increases enjoyment for the audience and allows the webcam model to collect more pay, it is arguably beneficial to both parties involved.
One teledildonic company, Lovense, incorporates webcam-specific games into their app technology, allowing users to spend money in casual gambling like keno or dice while simultaneously delivering pleasure remotely to the webcam host.
What Do Teledildonics Cost?
The price of teledildonic sex toys ranges from around $75 to upwards of $200. Price is dependent on the company purchased from and the features included in the device.
Anyone considering purchasing a teledildonic device should read reviews carefully before deciding on which device to buy. As with many sex toys, for hygiene and safety, most manufacturers do not allow opened items to be returned once the package is unsealed.
Best Teledildonic Products
Since teledildonics is so new, there are not many companies that specialize in these high-tech toys. Some of the most prominent teledildonic companies are as follows:
While there are several companies out there showcasing teledildonic products, some of those devices have been through several iterations of design and stand out above the rest with features like matured software user interfaces, improved range, and mechanical upgrades.
Here are a few of the highest quality teledildonic devices on the market:
Lovense Max 2:
The Max 2 is a male masturbatory sleeve designed to sync with its female counterpart, the Lovense Nora, or another Max device. The Max 2 can also be synced with other Lovense toys for a multiple-orifice experience for both users.
The sister product to the Max 2, the Nora is a rabbit style vibrator that provides stimulation to both the G-spot and the clitoris simultaneously.
Similar to the Lovense Nora, the We-Sync is also a rabbit vibrator for women with digital customization but does not have a male equivalent like the Lovense products do.
A futuristic hybrid of phone sex, webcams, and teledildonics, cybersex is one area of the sex industry where technology has a hard time keeping up with demand. Just in the past ten years, there has been an explosion of interactive pornography and webcam shows designed to integrate teledildonics.
What Is Cybersex?
Cybersex is a sexual exchange that is conducted through computer connections where people achieve sexual arousal by describing sexually explicit situations to each other. These exchanges are sometimes enhanced by using virtual reality equipment.
Like camming, cybersex is a natural extension of the original form of virtual sex, phone sex. The Internet allows for increased remote interactivity and a seamless real-time experience where both people can experience arousal and completion simultaneously.
The History of Cybersex
When the Internet hit the scene in the early eighties, nobody involved could have possibly imagined the revolution that digital communications would incite in the sex industry. For the first time in history, technology is bringing sex workers virtually into the privacy of people’s homes.
After hundreds of years of charging people with criminal prostitution and sex workers having to deal with dangerous and dirty environments in which to ply their trade, the virtual sex trade is a revolution that not enough people are talking about.
Since the mid-nineties, the use of digital communications to introduce more interactivity into virtual sex has exploded. And in the 2000s, this technology saw another huge leap forward with the introduction of teledildonics, allowing users to touch and be touched virtually, no longer just watching and listening.
Who Is Having Cybersex?
Many different kinds of people indulge in cybersex activities. It is well-suited for people who are in long-distance relationships, or for couples that are separated temporarily for business travel. Teledildonics has vastly improved the interactivity involved in cybersex.
Cybersex is also becoming very popular in the digital sex industry and with those who patronize it. Sex workers are increasingly abandoning street corners to conduct business from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. Also, unlike in-person prostitution, online sex work is 100% legal.
What Does Cybersex Cost?
The price of cybersex is dependent on a ton of variables. If someone wants to conduct cybersex via text or video app, cybersex is no more expensive than a good Internet connection. Many messaging and video apps are now free.
Likewise, there are many free outlets for sexual messaging. Here are a few options to consider:
If you want to get teledildonics involved, the cost depends on whether you’d rather watch someone else interact with a teledildonic device or if you want to use one yourself. If you purchase your own, the cost will range between $75-$200.
On the other hand, if you want to watch an online sex worker interact with a teledildonic device, you may end up paying something on the premium side of the normal range of online webcam shows, which typically range from $1 per minute to $10 per minute depending on the show.
Best Cybersex Platforms
Even though teledildonic-aided sex shows online are a new phenomenon, there is already plenty of places to get a good experience to try out your new toy with some interactive porn.
Here is a list of the several interactive pornography sites that are geared towards teledildonic devices for the full virtual sex experience:
- FeelXVideos: For an introductory offer of less than $18, you can’t beat the sheer variety of videos available at FeelX. Search through almost 1,500 high-quality videos with reliable sync and connectivity.
- FeelMe: FeelMe is designed as a content aggregate that collects interactive sources from across the web. There’s no need for a paid subscription to sample the full-length videos. If you’re still exploring cybersex, FeelMe is a great option for beginners.
- PornHub: A literal hub of the online sex industry, PornHub has one of the largest archives of interactive videos available on the Net. Because it’s a free service, the clips are not as long or high quality as some sites, but it’s a good place to learn your device.
Whether it’s being used to jumpstart a camgirl’s career or foster intimacy between husband and wife separated by a long business trip, virtual sex has come into the mainstream in a big way.
Hopefully, with this handy guide, you’ll able to explore some steamier corners of the Internet yourself.