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If phone sex wasn’t so good, Say Anything and Soulja Boy wouldn’t be singing about it. And if video sex wasn’t so hot, it wouldn’t have weaseled its way into “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Euphoria” plotlines alike.
But despite common misconception, virtual sex doesn’t start and stop with the phone and video banging.
Below, learn about all the smutty, slutty, and yes, even orgasmic types of virtual sex.
We believe pleasure is a fundamental aspect of a safe and healthy sex life. That’s why we rely on experienced writers, educators, and other experts to share their suggestions on everything from the technique you use to the sex toy you buy.
We only recommend something that we genuinely love, so if you see a shop link to a specific product or brand, know that it’s been thoroughly researched — if you know what we mean. Wink.
So, sexting, Snapchat sexing, dirty DMing, Kik kinking, Twitter teasing, as well as digital sex parties, virtual threesomes, virtual reality porn, and app-controlled toy play all qualify.
And that’s just the very tip of the X-rated iceberg.
Any time a phone, computer, iPad, or palm pilot (#oldschool) is used to send a salacious text, audio note, or video, or to make a call, it’s virtual sex.
“The best way to figure that out is to try all of them to see which ones resonate better for your lovers and yourself and then take advantage,” says Stewart.
If you want to be a little more discerning, spend some time noodling on the following questions:
- Do I want to use words, sounds, photos, or videos to communicate sexually?
- What body parts am I comfortable taking and sharing a picture (or moving picture) of — if any?
- What types of technology do I have access to or am most savvy in using?
- Do I want to have virtual sex with someone I know (e.g., partner or friend with benefits) or do I want to have virtual sex with someone I don’t know?
If you have a partner or person in mind for virtual play, you’ll each need to think about your personal comfort levels.
From there, you can work together to parse out which types of virtual sex allow everyone involved to maintain their personal boundaries.
“When you’re having virtual sex, it’s really important to talk about the ‘what-ifs’ and the ‘worse-case scenarios,’” says clinical sexologist Megan Stubbs, Ed.D.
Because sadly, screenshots and revenge posts are both very much a thing.
So if your gut is telling you not to trust someone, listen to that!
Maile Manliguis, sex worker and director of operations for the dating app #Open, recommends establishing whether saving messages, screenshotting content, or screen-recording videos is allowed ahead of time.
If you’re taking videos or photos, Manliguis suggests making sure there’s no identifying information in the background. This includes:
- personal photos or paperwork
- school books or memorabilia
- computer backgrounds
Hit up a chat room
Specifically: Chat rooms made for R-rated interactions.
“Chat rooms are great because they allow you to connect with so many different types of people,” says sex educator and performer Rev. Rucifer, founder of Reiki Bondage.
“They also allow you to search out the exact phone sex experience you’re looking for,” adds Rucifer.
For example, let’s say you want to play Dragon and Princess — you can search for a chat for fantasy play!
Call a phone sex operator
OK, this may fall under the tried-and-true category of phone sex.
But just in case you didn’t know: It’s possible to have phone sex even if you’re single and don’t have a ready and willing friend with benefits to dirty talk to.
Hire a cam star
“Hiring a camgirl or camhuman can be really fun because (with money) you can get access to someone who is readily available to engage in video sex with you whenever you want,” says Stubbs.
Watch virtual reality porn
Virtual reality porn, like virtual reality anything, requires a VR headset. So this may not be an accessible option for most pleasure seekers.
If you already own a VR headset or have the dough to drop on one (they typically go for around $300), have at it!
Attend a virtual sex party alone
“Virtual sex parties are the only safe way to attend a sex party in the middle of a global pandemic,” says Rucifer.
And, as such, are a gift for folks who regularly partake in them when physical distancing orders aren’t in place.
There’s no reason for you and your partner to wait until you’re alone, cross-country, or broken up to lean into the pleasure potential of virtual banging.
Attend a virtual sex party together
Maybe you and your partner have been talking about exploring group sex.
Maybe 2020 was going to be the year you went to an IRL sex party, but then physical distancing orders were put into play.
Maybe you’re both interested in safely exploring your inner exhibitionist.
Whatever the reason, if you’re interested in the option of watching others, being watched, or having sex with others, Rucifer suggests attending a sex party together.
“Just be sure to find a group that regularly hosts sex parties that’s mindful of the safety and comfort of the attendees,” she says. “You want to look for a party that has community guidelines and intentions readily available.”
Hire a cam star to be your third
According to Stubbs, hiring a cam star with your partner can be a good way to dip your (ahem) toes into the world of threesomes.
“It gives you the thrill of introducing a third into the bedroom, with the comfort of working with a professional and getting to remain in your own bedroom,” she says.
Watch a virtual sex or kink film festival
“Attending a virtual porn, sex, or kink film festival can be a wonderful way for you and your partner to discover new types of sex that you may be interested in exploring together,” says Manliguis.
To find one, simply hit up Google or Eventbrite, she suggests.
Oh, let us count the ways…
Sext each other!
Also known as sex-texting, sexting basically involves you and your partner (or entire group message if that’s your thing!) to co-create an erotic scene.
“It’s when you use playful and evocative words — and images, if you should choose — to create a steamy scene or fantasy,” says Stubbs.
Before you send a photo, make sure you have asked and received explicit consent from the receiver. Consenting to exchange smutty texts doesn’t imply consent to send smutty images.
“Sexing is also the best option if your Wi-Fi service isn’t great,” she adds. Fair!
Send audio note moans
You know the audio note function on your phone? Why not use it to record the sounds you make while touching yourself!
It should go without saying, but ask permission before pressing send.
Try out an app-controlled toy
Did you know that there are pleasure products that can be controlled from 10, 100, or even 1,000 feet away from the user with the help of an app? Yep. *mind-blown emoji*
Formally known as teledildonics, these toys allow you to use a pleasure product with your partner even if you’re not actually with your partner. Neat, right?
Intrigued? Check out the app-controlled sex toys below:
Do a porn link swap
Does your partner watch porn during their solo sex practice? Do you? If so, why not do a little switcheroo?
“You can also exchange your favorite steamy TV episode or movie,” says Manliguis.
Yes! That more than just being creative or arousing, virtual sex can be intimate.
“Virtual sex has a reputation of being a lewd way of having sex, but there’s a real intimacy in connecting with yourself or another person(s) virtually,” says Rucifer.
On the other side of things, it’s also important to remember that if at any time you begin to feel uncomfortable, you can stop.
Phone and video sex are great ways to get off digitally — but virtual sex is far more (s)expansive than that.
Whether you’re looking to get saucy while single, spice up your long-distance relationship, or try something new with your partner, virtual sex can be worth trying.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.