Phone sex is so last century; women today are embracing video-chat sex. Thank you, Skype!
When Ginny,* a 23-year-old publicist, stepped out of the shower one night to answer her iPhone, she had no idea what she was getting into. It was a video call from her boyfriend. “I was in just a towel, my hair was still wet, and he was like, ‘What do you have on under there?’¿” she says. “I showed him my boobs first, and then he said, ‘Let me see more.’ When I dropped the whole towel, I got suddenly turned on and started touching myself.” And with that Ginny entered the wonderful world of video-chat sex.
While phone sex keeps callers in the dark as they’re getting it on (or getting off), video chats make long-distance lust much more explicit, providing an up-close-and-personal look at all your partner’s dirty deeds—a kind of homemade porn that doesn’t have to be stashed under the bed when you’re finished. And all kinds of applications have sprung up over the past few years, including Skype, Apple’s FaceTime, Google’s video chat, and Tango for Android, to make it extremely easy. In fact, in 2010 research from the Pew Institute revealed that daily video-chat usage in the U.S. had doubled from the year before. Sure, many of those callers could have been just catching up with Mom. But the women I know are using these services for much sexier purposes. I spoke with dozens of ladies who’ve embraced video-chat sex as a regular way to spice up their relationships and push themselves out of their sexual comfort zones. After all, just because you’re not touching her doesn’t mean you can’t get her wet—all while watching it happen.
It’s no surprise that it seems to be millennials, the generation who grew up asking each other to the prom on IM, who are most comfortable experimenting with video-chat sex. Aimee, a 23-year-old who has regular Skype sex with her boyfriend in Amsterdam, views it as a natural progression from texting, online chatting, and sending each other filthy phone pics. “Before we started Skype-sexing, we’d talk dirty over IM, but it was tough to masturbate that way,” she says. “And I’d always wonder if he’d walked away from the computer. This is awesome because we can see each other doing everything.”
Plus, it’s easy and free. That is, unless you’re using iP4Play, a smartphone app launched last August that makes video-chat sex with paid models available anytime at $4 per minute. According to iP4Play model Miko Sinz, 26, a petite Korean-Irish stunner, many users are couples who treat the experience as a kind of threesome. “The women start out timid, but halfway through they get really into it, and the couple will start having full-on sex,” she says. “It’s a turn-on knowing I’m getting them to mess around. When they just want to watch me, it’s pretty hot, too.”
Some millennials even believe in videogasms as a kind of “safe” cheating. (Note: Not so much.) While Marnie, a 23-year-old grad student, was dating her last boyfriend, she found herself so physically attracted to another guy that she started Skype-sexing with him to keep herself from pursuing him IRL. “It was a way to fulfill the physical attraction without exactly cheating,” Marnie says. “We used all kinds of vibrators, costumes…We were constantly trying to up the ante.”
Between the Screens
Not everyone is jumping so boldly into the video-sex waters. Some girls reported needing a little instruction—especially those who grew up in the era of phone sex. Holly, 35, who lives in New York but whose fiancé is in L.A., was reluctant to bare all over the Internet. “I always found phone sex awkward, but I realized when he and I started Skyping that I’d actually grown comfortable masturbating without him watching,” she says. “The first time we had Skype sex, I was trying to ‘act,’ like some terrible porn star. But now I really love it. It’s a way bigger turn-on to see him when he’s getting into it. Heavy breathing into the phone doesn’t do it for me.”
But even 24-year-old Tanya, a grad student whose boyfriend lives in Rome, needed to ask her girlfriends about how to initiate Skype sex. “I was like, ‘What do you do? How do you position the camera?’¿¿” she says. “Once I felt confident, I told him it was something I really wanted. Now we do it a few times a week.” Laura, a 22-year-old advertising account manager, says her boyfriend usually kicks things off by removing his pants and encouraging her to take out her vibrator. “I used to be self-conscious,” she says, “but his being naked as well makes me feel comfortable. Now I see myself and I’m like, Damn, I look good!”
In fact, many women say that video-chat sex makes them feel more comfortable sexually and willing to try new things—on-screen and in person. “Oftentimes Skype sex can give women confidence to try things they might feel shy about doing in front of their partner without a ‘trial’ run,” says Kimberly Dawn Neumann, relationship expert and coauthor of Sex Comes First. “Frequently the result is that once she’s tried something with the buffer of the Internet, she’s more open to exploration away from the computer as well.” Marnie, for example, says that all her experimentation with her video-chat fling actually had her spicing things up with her boyfriend soon enough. “I used to be a quiet, missionary-only kind of girl, but now we’re super into role play,” she says.
Eventually, many girls start to relish being the directors of their own video calls, changing up camera angles, positions, and lighting to give their men the full effect. “Usually I’ll start by showing my breasts and then just have the camera on my vagina while I touch myself or use one of my toys,” says Laura. “But he really likes it when I bend over so he’ll just see the backside of me, like he’s doing me doggy style.” Emily, 19, straddles her laptop with one leg on each side of the screen for a full view, while Aimee lays her computer on her bed to give her boyfriend a full-body shot.
In some instances the girls are the ones looking for a show. Sharon, a 23-year-old travel writer, likes to get her boyfriend to tilt his Webcam below the belt for her. “I love watching him get hard, and he likes that he can see my eyes light up when it’s happening,” she says. The only downside is that all this virtual sex can occasionally be extremely frustrating. “It makes me super horny,” Sharon says. “I’m like, Fuck this vibrator—I want that penis and that body against me.”
Regardless of how much of a video-chat sexpert you are, there’s always the potential for a snafu—a connection that slows down or cuts out during climax or an unsuspecting roommate walking in. “I was living at home one summer, and my mom came in while I had my feet on the office desk, my skirt hiked up, and my hands between my legs,” says Jasmine, 28. “Thank God the screen wasn’t facing the door or she would’ve seen my boyfriend jacking off, but I still screamed and flailed around when I heard her.”
Another danger: screen grabs falling into the wrong hands. It’s best to reassure your girl that you won’t save any footage from your virtual adventures. Summer, 24, has her own rule to avoid pervy impropriety: She makes her boyfriend sit four feet away from the computer with his hands behind his back while she puts on a show.
Despite the risks, however, most girls who’ve tried it agree that video-chat sex is too hot to pass up. The benefits, for them, far outweigh their nerves. “I’m so glad my boyfriend and I explored Skype sex,” Marnie says. “We’ve learned a lot about each other sexually—what we like and how far we’re willing to go. Now that we’ve taken this step, I could never imagine going back.” So get ready to dial up and strip down: While amateur porn stars may be fun to watch, you’ve likely got your own video vixen right under your nose.
*Names have been changed.