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I was having sex with a Dutch girl when my wife walked in. “I don’t like the phrase ‘virtual sex,’” Lynn says, “because it trivializes the experience.
“It’s not sex but it is sex,” says Regina Lynn, author of The Sexual Revolution 2.0 and a columnist on sex and technology for
“There’s no safer place to meet,” she says, “than in a virtual world.” The Internet can also be a boon for busy adults, Brathwaite says, allowing people to have social and romantic encounters online that they simply don’t have time for in conventional space.
“For a busy single mom or dad whose life is packed with activity,” she says, “at the end of the day virtual worlds can allow them to socialize.” Brathwaite, who is also a professor at Savannah College of Art and Design, says cybersex holds tremendous potential for education on sexual health topics for youth and at-risk populations as well as untapped potential for sex therapy for couples.
“You could walk a couple through a facilitated session,” she says, “while they are in the privacy of their own bedroom.” Cory Silverberg, a sexual health educator and founding member of Come As You Are, an education-based sex store in Toronto, says, “What’s good about cybersex is that it allows people to conceive of new possibilities,” whether that means a disabled person gaining greater access to the sexual sphere or someone “fulfilling their fetish fantasies beyond anything that we could have imagined.” The keys to healthy virtual sex, he says, include consent of all partners, a “sense of good will” (not going out and “trolling and stalking online”), and a respect for boundaries — “making sure that you’re not exposing more real information about yourself than you’re really comfortable with.” Like any technology, though, virtual sex comes with its risks.
Kimberly Young, Ph D, who is the founder and director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery in Bradford, Pennsylvania, agrees that virtual worlds can allow individuals to explore new types of sexual behavior.
“Just install the software,” says Sinulate’s web site, “plug in your Interactive Fleshlight, and pick a partner!
But there was a real person on a computer somewhere in the world making her avatar have sex with my avatar by clicking a pink ball on the ground.“One of the huge benefits is safety,” says Brenda Brathwaite, a veteran video game developer (whose credits include Playboy: The Mansion) and author of Sex in Video Games.In addition to STD-free interactions, Brathwaite says virtual worlds offer users the ability to explore sexuality in an anonymous environment.“Having sex with the same person can become routine, boring,” she says. But if you’re married and keeping it a secret, it’s a problem.” Regina Lynn defines the issue this way: “Does your partner know, and does your partner consent?Lying is cheating.” “Everyone’s always interested in where the line [with cheating] lies,” says Cory Silverberg.