Click to talk to a trained teen volunteer.

Image relevant to engaging in sexual activity using online tools

Virtual Sex Part 1: What is Virtual Sex?

Quick Note
So, we’re using Virtual Sex to mean any sexual act(ivity) that people engage in using some sort of communication technology. There isn’t really a fully agreed upon term for this. “Internet Sex” doesn’t cover phones, “Cybersex” feels like Y2K, etc. We want to acknowledge that Virtual Sex is maybe not the best term, but it’s the one we’re going with for these blog posts.

This series explores a small portion of the great wide world of Virtual Sex! Our first instalment covers questions like: What is it? Why do people do it? How do people do it? Is it even “doing it”? And more?

So what is Virtual Sex?

Virtual Sex is any kind of sexual activity that people do with/on the internet. This includes sexting, masturbating together on video chat, phone sex, sending photos, chat rooms, sliding into the DMs, and so much more! Here’s a brief list of options:

Pretty much all of these activities can include or lead to people masturbating where they’re at, but they don’t have to. Some people just like the fun and thrills that can come with being sexy.

Since (for the most part) virtual sex doesn’t involve physical contact between partners, some people will have a hard time thinking of it as “real sex.” And sure, virtual sex can be different from physical sex. But different doesn’t mean “not real,” as virtual sex is a very real way for partners to be sexy and intimate with each other. Virtual sex is a fun option that allows you to explore and be adventurous, potentially letting you try things you didn’t know you liked and broadening your sexual repertoire in a way that physical sex doesn’t allow.

Why do people have virtual sex?

There are a ton of reasons why people engage in virtual sex. Here are a few:

Why don’t people have virtual sex?

Alternatively, There are a ton of reasons why people don’t engage in virtual sex. Here are a few:

It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t have to have virtual sex if you don’t want to. Sexting and sending nudes is pretty popular, but that doesn’t mean everybody does it. Lots of people are in healthy and happy relationships (even Long Distance Relationships), and they don’t do any kind of virtual sex. Neither you or your partner should feel pressured to do anything sexually that you don’t feel comfortable with, including virtual sex.

Virtual Sex and the Law

It’s important to be mindful of laws around age of consent and pornography for where you live. In Ontario, you cannot create or distribute pornographic material for people under the age of 18. That means if you’re 17 or younger, it is illegal for you to take nudes or send nudes of yourself to your partner(s). This is technically creating and distributing child pornography. If you are over 18 but your partner is younger, it is illegal for you to send them nudes or to solicit nudes from them.

If you or your partner(s) are under 18, try to have a conversation about non-explicit things that turn you on. This can give you options for virtual sex that won’t get you in trouble with the law if you messages are discovered.

Laws are shifting and changing to catch up with technology, so it’s important to stay informed. For more information on the age of consent in Canada, check out the government’s page on Age of Consent to Sexual Activity [Link].

The Privacy Issue

It’s also important to consider that once you send a photo or video, you may not have control over where it goes. It’s good to be aware that anybody you send things to can screenshot it, show it to their friends, or post it online. Try to consider who you’re sending pictures/videos to. Even if you trust them and feel comfortable sending them stuff, it’s okay if you also want to be careful and limit how you expose yourself online. You can try things like not including your face in photos or videos, or only engage in sexting or phone sex. And again, you don’t have to send people anything if you’re not comfortable with the risk. That’s totally okay too!

To Be Continued…
We’ll cover how people have virtual sex, as well as some tips around consent, communication, and virtual sex foreplay in Part 2 of this series. Stay tuned!

If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]