Sextras: The evolution of cyber sex

L Moore | Sex Columnist

At the age of 12, I had my first encounters with the Internet and its sexually charged possibilities. AOL (yes, that was the “Google” of 1999) always opened up to a vibrantly obnoxious welcome screen with buttons like “People Connection,” “Homework Help” and “Money and Finance.” I was intrigued by the yellow running man on the AOL browsing screen, who seemed to beckon me to join one of the thousands of random chat rooms across the country through “People Connection.” The thrill of chatting with strangers as a tween stood strong. Rooms like “16 and Single,” “Bored” and “The Meeting Place,” all beamed brighter than the thought of doodling on my notes or watching whatever was on TV.

“The Meeting Place” A/S/Ls (age/sex/location), however, turned quickly to self-professed teen males asking for “pix” and, soon, the age-old question, “Wanna cyber?” I had an older sister, a countless number of Cosmopolitan magazines stacked in my attic and, most importantly, my curiosity. If DarkHorse493 started undressing me with his italicized red Courier New font, who was I not to snap back with a bold line I learned from my older sister?

Ignoring all of the dangers of chatting with strangers on the Internet (because this is not a commentary about the value of “To Catch a Predator”), this cyber sex I—as well as many others—engaged in through AOL’s chat mechanism is now finding itself outdated. The days of cybersex through just instant messenger have passed. Why is this, you ask? Video chat is now the latest technology altering the sense of anonymity usually offered in chat rooms. And now, a website called Chat Roulette has recently made it possible to engage in random webcam chats with the click of a button.

Instead of just being able to video chat with personal contacts, Chat Roulette allows a user, “stranger,” to connect with other “strangers” across the world via video and microphone, with an additional box for typing messages. With the push of the F9 key, each stranger can move swiftly or slowly between other strangers. Don’t want to chat with the random guy in a dimly lit room or the shirtless Brazilian who can’t speak English? Simply press F9, and you’ll be on to the next person.

Although Chat Roulette can be used for interesting and sometimes unusual chats not involving sexual behavior, the generic random guy in the dark is a common occurrence. After surveying multiple strangers on how often they came across a male engaged in masturbatory play in their first hour of Chat Roulette, the strangers I asked replied, “How am I supposed to count that?” “Like a hundred!” or, “At least one every two minutes.” Even more, strangers conveyed that besides accidentally coming across men stroking their genitals, they encountered women flashing their breasts, brief scenes of anal play and sometimes even live sex. Chat Roulette attracts countless exhibitionists—those realizing the possibilities of bridging the gap between anonymous cyber sex, phone sex and the visual powers of the webcam.

It is this “new” medium—that is, a randomized way of connecting to people’s faces, bodies, voices and thoughts—which will take cybersex to the next level. You can even download Roulette add-ons that place computer-generated “hats” (a cat head, a knight hemlet, etc.) over your face to keep some form of anonymity while keeping other parts exposed. Cat heads and masturbation may not be your cup of tea, but it is impossible to deny that the realm of Internet sex has greatly evolved.

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