Sex is one of those things that no matter how much of it you’re having, you could always be having more. Whether virgins or in long-term relationships, it seems like everyone around me (including myself) these days has a compulsive need to hump something. Thanks to modern technology, though, all people with a flip phone — your grandmother included — have unlimited access to sex in their very pockets. Sexting is a phenomenon that’s probably not new to anyone. We’ve been doing it since high school and continue to do so generally without fear of how pictures or texts could resurface to later mar our future presidential campaigns. But is tech-facilitated sex even good? Is web or text sex anywhere near comparable to the classic IRL fuck?
“Nm. In the library. So bored kill me now.”
“What are you wearing? :-)”
“Um like leggings and a Drake shirt.”
“Really want you right now.”
“Do you want me? Hello?”
“Wish I could be under that desk kissing your inner thigh…”
“Oh, yeah, that’d be nice. If only, haha!”
“I’d slowly massage your legs, tugging at your panties with my mouth, then moving my tongue closer to your wet pussy.”
“Are you there?”
“There’s a time and a place for everything,” I say like a broken record. And I’m not going to claim I don’t enjoy sexting every now and then. There’s something about the agony of not actually being able to touch anyone but yourself that is oddly satisfying in a masochistic way — but doing it all the time?
A couple of my friends recently told me that, more often than not, during those times when we’re on the couch watching “Real Housewives of New Jersey” or “Gilmore Girls,” they’re also sexting their boyfriends. “It appeases them, since we can’t be together that often.” But are they actually into it? “Not really — he just loves it.” Torturous as that may sound, sexting and cybersex of any kind can be “hella” fun with the right person under the right circumstances. Chances are, if you’re not vibing the moment, the sexting is going to turn out pretty shitty. Unlike texting, it’s nearly impossible during a webcam session to feign sexual enthusiasm. This might be a plus, because any sexual act, virtual or not, needs to be consensual.
Orchestrating a successful cybersex scenario necessitates a large amount of both self-confidence and comfort with the participating partner. If you find that you’re the least bit self-conscious during moments of intimacy, this feeling can be largely exacerbated when real-time fucking turns into a screen-mediated staring contest. It’s often difficult to engage in cybersex without projecting porn aesthetics onto the scene or comparing your “O face” to an actress who gets paid to act sexy.
Sex is inevitably a performative act: From moaning to dirty talk to faking orgasms (I see you, ladies), hallmarks of mainstream porn have taught us that sex must always be a sort of theatrical exploit. The actual experience of female pleasure is often both incongruous and placed secondary to the outward expression of performative “pleasure.” And the online and on-screen nature of cybersex makes it so that all performative elements already present during ordinary fucking are maximized tenfold. This becomes even more exaggerated when laptop lighting and the webcam’s unforgiving attitude toward your double chin suddenly take precedence over the multisensory experience of in-person sex.
In my own effort to unlearn what bad porn has taught me, I still find it difficult to entirely lose myself in front of a screen. On the upside, though, web sex can inspire a closer connection via increased communication and its prerequisite “dirrrty” talk. The benefit of mutual masturbation can also make it easier to plan your orgasms together.
A recent article in The Atlantic titled “Why Kids Sext” looks into the sweeping phenomenon amongst teens that is the sending, acquiring and distributing (without consent) of nude photos. To explain what is partly a means of “social currency” for both senders and recipients, the article claims that a lot of the reasoning behind sexting among teens is, firstly, the problem of physical proximity and parental control and, secondly, the fact that it’s a way to virtually experiment with sexuality without necessarily acting it out.
For us “adults,” sexting and cybersex could also very well be a means of overcoming physical distance from a partner. In college, though, proximity to various partners isn’t really a problem outside of a long-distance relationship. The prospect of pussy is just a room away, in some cases. Despite it occasionally being a necessity, the fun part about sexting is that its combination of intimacy and naughtiness is a huge turn-on. The still somewhat forbidden nature of having text sex during a meeting is super hot, and there’s always an element of danger involved in not knowing whether that tit pic just uploaded to the Cloud or whether there’s enough time to take a screenshot of a one-second Snapchat. But really — what is the Cloud?