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Cybersex, also called computer sex, Internet sex, netsex and, colloquially, cyber or cybering, is a virtual sex encounter in which two or more people connected remotely via computer network send each other sexually explicit messages describing a sexual experience. [1] Cybersex is a sub-type of technology-mediated sexual interactions. [2] Cybersex is a sub-type of technology-mediated sexual interactions. [3] In one form, this fantasy sex is accomplished by the participants describing their actions and responding to their chat partners in a mostly written form designed to stimulate their own sexual feelings and fantasies. [4] Cybersex often includes real life masturbation. [5] Environments in which cybersex takes place are not necessarily exclusively devoted to that subject, and participants in any Internet chat may suddenly receive a message of invitation. The quality of a cybersex encounter typically depends upon the participants' abilities to evoke a vivid, visceral mental picture in the minds of their partners. Imagination and suspension of disbelief are also critically important. Cybersex can occur either within the context of existing or intimate relationships, e.g. among lovers who are geographically separated, or among individuals who have no prior knowledge of one another and meet in virtual spaces or cyberspaces and may even remain anonymous to one another. In some contexts cybersex is enhanced by the use of a webcam to transmit real-time video of the partners. Non-consensual cybersex occurs in cybersex trafficking crimes. [6] [7] [8]



Cybersex is commonly performed in Internet chat rooms (such as IRC, talkers or web chats) and on instant messaging systems. It can also be performed using webcams, voice chat systems like Skype, or online games and/or virtual worlds like Second Life or VRChat . The exact definition of cybersex—specifically, whether real-life masturbation must be taking place for the online sex act to count as cybersex—is up for debate. [9] It is also fairly frequent in online role-playing games, such as MUDs and MMORPGs, though approval of this activity varies greatly from game to game. Some online social games like Red Light Center are dedicated to cybersex and other adult behaviors. These online games are often called AMMORPGs.

Cybersex may also be accomplished through the use of avatars in a multiuser software environment. It is often called mudsex or netsex in MUDs. In TinyMUD variants, particularly MUCKs, the term TinySex (TS) is very common. [10] [11]

Though text-based cybersex has been in practice for decades, [12] the increased popularity of webcams has raised the number of online partners using two-way video connections to "expose" themselves to each other online—giving the act of cybersex a more visual aspect. There are a number of popular, commercial webcam sites that allow people to openly masturbate on camera while others watch them. [13] Using similar sites, couples can also perform on camera for the enjoyment of others.

In online worlds like Second Life and via webcam-focused chat services, however, Internet sex workers engage in cybersex in exchange for both virtual and real-life currency. [14]


Cybersex provides various advantages:

Research reviews and surveys call for a balanced view of online sexual activities in general and cybersex in particular that acknowledges both advantages and disadvantages, positive and negative effects. [17] [18]


Cybersex is often criticized because the partners frequently have little verifiable knowledge about each other. [19] For many the primary point of cybersex is the plausible simulation of sexual activity, and this knowledge of the other is not always desired, but this is also criticized as the emptying out of embodied relations. [20]

In the words of Carkeek and James:

Without continuing to draw off our historically ambivalent faith in embodied relations, techno-sex quickly becomes hollow, unsatisfying, no more erotic than collecting answers to what-are-your-measurements questions. And herein lies the rub, or so we will argue. By continuing to draw off that ambivalent faith, techno-sex and the many other practices of disembodying interaction contribute to a changing and increasingly abstracted dominant ontology of embodiment. [21]

Privacy concerns are a difficulty with cybersex, since participants may log or record the interaction without the other's knowledge, and possibly disclose it to others or the public. [22]

There is disagreement over whether cybersex is a form of infidelity. While it does not involve physical contact, critics claim that the powerful emotions involved can cause marital stress, especially when cybersex culminates in an Internet romance. In several known cases, Internet adultery became the grounds for which a couple divorced. [23] Therapists report a growing number of patients addicted to this activity, [24] a form of both Internet addiction and sexual addiction, with the standard problems associated with addictive behavior. [15]

Cybersex trafficking

Cybersex trafficking is the live streaming of coerced sexual acts and or rape. [6] [7] [8] Victims are abducted, threatened, or deceived and transferred to 'cybersex dens.' [25] [26] [27] The dens can be in any location where the cybersex traffickers have a computer, tablet, or phone with internet connection. [7] Perpetrators use social media networks, videoconferences, pornographic video sharing websites, dating pages, online chat rooms, apps, dark web sites, [28] and other platforms. [29] They use online payment systems [28] [30] [31] and cryptocurrencies to hide their identities. [32] Millions of reports of its occurrence are sent to authorities annually. [33] New laws and police procedures are needed to combat this type of cybercrime. [34]

See also

Related Research Articles

An internet relationship is a relationship between people who have met online, and in many cases know each other only via the Internet. Online relationships are similar in many ways to pen pal relationships. This relationship can be romantic, platonic, or even based on business affairs. An internet relationship is generally sustained for a certain amount of time before being titled a relationship, just as in-person relationships. The major difference here is that an internet relationship is sustained via computer or online service, and the individuals in the relationship may or may not ever meet each other in person. Otherwise, the term is quite broad and can include relationships based upon text, video, audio, or even virtual character. This relationship can be between people in different regions, different countries, different sides of the world, or even people who reside in the same area but do not communicate in person.

Sexual roleplay

Sexual roleplay is roleplay that has a strong erotic element. It may involve two or more people who act out roles in order to bring to life a sexual fantasy and may be a form of foreplay and be sexually arousing. Many people regard sexual roleplay as a means of overcoming sexual inhibitions. It may take place in the real world, or via an internet forum, chat-room, video-game, or email—allowing for physically or virtually impossible erotic interests to be enacted.

A talker is a chat system that people use to talk to each other over the Internet. Dating back to the 1980s, they were a predecessor of instant messaging.

A virtual community is a social network of individuals who connect through specific social media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals. Some of the most pervasive virtual communities are online communities operating under social networking services.

Teledildonics is technology for remote sex, where tactile sensations are communicated over a data link between the participants. The term can also refer to the integration of telepresence with sexual activity that these interfaces make possible.

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is defined as any human communication that occurs through the use of two or more electronic devices. While the term has traditionally referred to those communications that occur via computer-mediated formats, it has also been applied to other forms of text-based interaction such as text messaging. Research on CMC focuses largely on the social effects of different computer-supported communication technologies. Many recent studies involve Internet-based social networking supported by social software.

Virtual sex is sexual activity where two or more people - or one person and a virtual character - gather together via some form of communications equipment to arouse each other, often by the means of transmitting sexually explicit messages. Virtual sex describes the phenomenon, no matter the communications equipment used.

Rape pornography is a subgenre of pornography involving the description or depiction of rape. It can show simulated or real rape. It is not the same as the depiction of rape in non-pornographic media. Simulated scenes of rape and other forms of sexual violence have appeared in mainstream cinema, including rape and revenge films, almost since its advent.

Child grooming is befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes the family, to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. Child grooming is also regularly used to lure minors into various illicit businesses such as child trafficking, child prostitution, cybersex trafficking, or the production of child pornography.

MU* is an abbreviation which refers collectively to a family of text-based multi-user virtual world servers comprising:

Commercial sexual exploitation of children

Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a commercial transaction that involves the sexual exploitation of a child, such as the prostitution of children, child pornography, including live streaming sexual abuse, and the sale and trafficking of children. CSEC may involve coercion and violence against children, economic exploitation, forced labour, contemporary slavery

Erotic humiliation Consensual use of humiliation in a sexual context

Erotic humiliation is consensual psychological humiliation performed in order to produce erotic excitement or sexual arousal. This can be for either the person(s) being humiliated and demeaned or the person(s) humiliating, or both. It is sometimes performed before spectators, including pornography and webcam viewers. It may be part of BDSM and other sexual roleplay, or accompanied by the sexual stimulation of the genitals of one or both parties in the activity.

Regina Lynn is a columnist, blogger, author, and self-described sex-tech expert. Her work discusses the convergence of sex and technology, touching on subjects ranging from teledildonics and online dating to social media, video games, and cybersex.

Internet sex addiction, also known as cybersex addiction, has been proposed as a sexual addiction characterized by virtual Internet sexual activity that causes serious negative consequences to one's physical, mental, social, and/or financial well-being. It may also be considered a subset of the theorized Internet addiction disorder. Internet sex addiction manifests various behaviours: reading erotic stories; viewing, downloading or trading online pornography; online activity in adult fantasy chat rooms; cybersex relationships; masturbation while engaged in online activity that contributes to one's sexual arousal; the search for offline sexual partners and information about sexual activity.

Webcam model video performer who is streamed upon the Internet with a live webcam broadcast

A webcam model is a video performer who is streamed on the Internet with a live webcam broadcast. A webcam model often performs erotic acts online, such as stripping, masturbation, or sex acts in exchange for money, goods, or attention. They may also sell videos of their performances.

Child pornography is pornography that exploits children for sexual stimulation. It may be produced with the direct involvement or sexual assault of a child or it may be simulated child pornography. Abuse of the child occurs during the sexual acts or lascivious exhibitions of genitals or pubic areas which are recorded in the production of child pornography. Child pornography may use a variety of mediums, including writings, magazines, photos, sculpture, drawing, cartoon, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games. Child pornography may be created for profit or other reasons., is a live streaming website featuring live webcam performances, filtered by female, male, transgender or couples of primarily amateur performers. Broadcasts on CAM4 often feature nudity and sexual activity often ranging from striptease and dirty talk to masturbation with sex toys.

The live streaming of crimes is a phenomenon in which people live stream criminal acts. Due to the fact publishing to social media is done with the intent of others viewing the published materials, it is often impossible to protect the privacy of the victims or people involved.

Sex trafficking in the Philippines is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and slavery that occurs in the Republic of the Philippines. The Philippines is a country of origin and, to a lesser extent, a destination and transit for sexually trafficked persons.

Cybersex trafficking, or live streaming sexual abuse is a cybercrime involving sex trafficking and the live streaming of coerced sexual acts and or rape on webcam.


  1. 1 2 Döring, Nicola (2000). "Feminist Views of Cybersex: Victimization, Liberation, and Empowerment". CyberPsychology & Behavior. 3 (5): 863–884. doi:10.1089/10949310050191845.
  2. Courtice, Erin Leigh; Shaughnessy, Krystelle (2017). "Technology-mediated sexual interaction and relationships: a systematic review of the literature". Sexual and Relationship Therapy . 32 (3–4): 269–290. doi:10.1080/14681994.2017.1397948.
  3. Courtice, Erin Leigh; Shaughnessy, Krystelle (2017). "Technology-mediated sexual interaction and relationships: a systematic review of the literature". Sexual and Relationship Therapy . 32 (3–4): 269–290. doi:10.1080/14681994.2017.1397948.
  4. Hahn, Harley (1996). The Internet Complete Reference (2nd ed.). Osborne McGraw-Hill. p.  570. ISBN   0-07-882138-X. The goal of mud sex is the same as the goal of regular sex (without the babies): to bond temporarily in a way that is physically and emotionally satisfying. To do so, two people will exchange messages so as to lead one another into a high level of sexual arousal, culminating in a well-defined resolution.
  5. Hahn, Harley (1996). The Internet Complete Reference (2nd ed.). Osborne McGraw-Hill. p.  570. ISBN   0-07-882138-X. To be blunt, most mud sex is also accompanied by the people sexually gratifying themselves in real life at the same time.
  6. 1 2 "IJM Seeks to End Cybersex Trafficking of Children and #RestartFreedom this Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday". PR Newswire. November 28, 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 "Cybersex Trafficking". IJM. 2020.
  8. 1 2 "Cyber-sex trafficking: A 21st century scourge". CNN. July 18, 2013.
  9. Ruberg, Bonnie (2007-05-18). "What Counts as Cybersex?". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  10. Hahn, Harley (1996). The Internet Complete Reference (2nd ed.). Osborne McGraw-Hill. p.  570. ISBN   0-07-882138-X. MUD SEX refers to the acting out of erotic feelings by two people while typing a series of sexually explicit messages. (Mud sex is also referred to as NET SEX or—on a TinyMud—TINYSEX.)
  11. Busey, Andrew (1995). Secrets of the MUD Wizards. SAMS Publishing. p. 95. ISBN   0-672-30723-5. MUD sex is another MUD item that may seem a bit shocking to some. MUD sex (sometimes called TinySex—usually on TinyMUDs, MUCKs, and MUSHes) is a lot like phone sex. As you know, most MUDs have a high degree of flexibility when it comes to expressing oneself and communicating—and if you're a little creative, you can use these commands (such as say and emote discussed in Chapter 5) to have MUD sex (or TinySex, depending on the type of MUD it is).
  12. Dibbell, Julian (1998). My Tiny Life. Henry Holt. ISBN   0-8050-3626-1 . Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  13. Ruberg, Bonnie (2007-07-27). "Do You Like to Watch?". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  14. Ruberg, Bonnie (2007-08-31). "Peeking Up the Skirt of Online Sex Work". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  15. 1 2 3 Grov, Christian, Brian Joseph Gillespie, Tracy Royce, and Janet Lever. 2011. “Perceived Consequences of Casual Online Sexual Activities on Heterosexual Relationships: A U.S. Online Survey.” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(2): 429-39.
  16. Ito, Mizuko (1997). "Virtually Embodied: The Reality of Fantasy in a Multi-User Dungeon". In Porter, David (ed.). Internet Culture (paperback ed.). Routledge. pp. 95–96. ISBN   0-415-91684-4. She describes virtual sex as akin to an interactive romance novel. The metaphor is crucial. The fantasy "text" is paramount, the real bodies nonexistent. She explains: "It is how you describe yourself and how you act (on the Internet) that makes up the 'real you'.... real life persons' looks mean so little to me..."
  17. Döring, Nicola (2009). "The Internet's Impact on Sexuality. A Critical Review of 15 Years of Research". Computers in Human Behavior . 25 (5): 1089–1101. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2009.04.003.
  18. Döring, Nicola; Mohseni, Rohangis (2018). "Are Online Sexual Activities and Sexting Good for Adults' Sexual Well-Being? Results from a National Online Survey". International Journal of Sexual Health . 30 (3): 250–263. doi:10.1080/19317611.2018.1491921.
  19. Hahn, Harley (1996). The Internet Complete Reference (2nd ed.). Osborne McGraw-Hill. p.  571. ISBN   0-07-882138-X. Finally, don't forget that the characters on a mud will not correspond exactly to the people in real life. In particular, what looks like a woman may really be a man. HINT: If you are a guy, and you go up to a female character on a mud and say, "Hi, wanna have sex?", and she says yes right away, chances are she is another guy playing a female role.
  20. Carkeek, Freya; James, Paul (1992). "This Abstract Body". Arena (99–100): 66–85.
  21. Carkeek, Freya; James, Paul (1992). "This Abstract Body". Arena (99–100): 68.
  22. Carton, Sean (1995). Internet Virtual Worlds Quick Tour. Ventana Press. p. 180. ISBN   1-56604-222-4. TinySex Simulated sexual activity done on a virtual world. Like the text equivalent of phone sex. It should be entered into with caution because you never know who's who online, and some people love enticing a person into an extended TinySex session and then posting a log of the activity to various newsgroups.
  23. Siemaszko, Corky (2006-02-02). "Cybersplit Online Affair Spurs Off-Line Divorce". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on August 31, 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  24. Godson, Suzi (2002). The Sex Book. Cassell Illustrated. p. 258. ISBN   0-304-35991-2.
  25. "Senator warns of possible surge in child cybersex traffic". The Philippine Star. April 13, 2020.
  26. "Duterte's drug war and child cybersex trafficking". The ASEAN Post. October 18, 2019.
  27. "Norwegian national, partner nabbed; 4 rescued from cybersex den". Manila Bulletin. May 1, 2020.
  28. 1 2 "Cheap tech and widespread internet access fuel rise in cybersex trafficking". NBC News. June 30, 2018.
  29. "Senate to probe rise in child cybersex trafficking". The Philippine Star. November 11, 2019.
  30. "Global taskforce tackles cybersex child trafficking in the Philippines". Reuters. April 15, 2019.
  31. "Webcam slavery: tech turns Filipino families into cybersex child traffickers". Reuters. June 17, 2018.
  32. "How the internet fuels sexual exploitation and forced labour in Asia". South China Morning Post. May 2, 2019.
  33. "Philippines Makes More Child Cybersex Crime Arrests, Rescues". VOA. May 12, 2017.
  34. "Cybersex trafficking spreads across Southeast Asia, fuelled by internet boom. And the law lags behind". South China Morning Post. September 11, 2019.

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