COVID-19 has proved just how much of our life can safely and effectively move to a virtual platform—and this includes sex. Many people are unwilling to put their romantic lives on hold for a full year and have turned to online dating sites to find connections with other people. Not so surprisingly, the same thing is happening with sex. Sex chat is thriving during the pandemic, and this increased interest just may be here to stay.
Why Sex Chat Is Having a Moment
As time has passed, we’ve learned a lot about the way the coronavirus is transmitted. It is passed through tiny droplets in the air, unlike the common cold or flu, which is transmitted via surface contact (as well as through the air). So far, no one has figured out a foolproof way to be protected from the coronavirus while having in-person sex. It has been well-documented that asking people to abstain from sex just doesn’t work. That’s why, during the lockdown, people finally have the motivation to try something that may fall slightly outside their comfort zone. Desperate times call for creative measures, and even health officials have come out in favor of people using web chat platforms to fulfill their sexual needs.
The health guidelines have been pretty clear from the beginning: if you live with someone and they are in your “bubble,” you can have sex with them safely. But what about the rest of the population? Months and months without sexual contact is a lonely prospect. Though the end of the pandemic may be on the horizon, people have decided to cope in different ways until then. Ignoring your needs and mental health just isn’t a viable option, so even people who don’t typically look to technology for sex are starting to branch out. In fact, a quarter of people recently surveyed under 35 now have fully virtual relationships, and a third have a hybrid relationship, meeting both in-person and virtually. It’s not hard to understand why. Virtual sex is a way to connect with someone, have fun, and take on minimal risks compared to in-person sex. There’s no risk of STIs or unplanned pregnancy, not to mention you won’t get COVID. The only threats are privacy-related.
Why That Moment May Last Forever
Though the pandemic may be temporary, the ways in which our society changes are often not, and the innovation that occurs sticks around. Sex tech is experiencing a boom as people try out their first virtual orgy, sexting, and phone sex. Some experts believe that the longer people move dating and sex online, the more chance this will result in a permanent shift. No longer is online sex reserved for people who can’t get it anywhere else; it’s now normalized as something many singles are engaging in.
There are many people and lifestyles for whom a virtual connection is not only more practical during a pandemic but at any time. People who are bed-bound due to a disability, for example, could spend quality time with others without having to find means of transport. Folks who live in small towns where the dating pool has long dried up can connect with people who don’t live conveniently nearby. Other mental health conditions like depression or lifestyle choices like working all the time can make finding an in-person partner difficult or even impossible.
Many people don’t have the time to find, cultivate, and nurture a relationship, a situation that the pandemic has compounded. They may be caring for ailing parents, working, taking care of children, or all of the above. Finding a virtual friend-with-benefits takes a bit of effort, and not everyone has the time to make that effort. Adult chat sites can help keep them connected sexually, which comes as a relief to many. However, choosing to have a sex chat with a stranger clearly has some risk involved. You don’t know who you’re getting intimate with, and you can’t be sure that they won’t violate your privacy if given the opportunity.
Understanding the risks around virtual sex chatting is crucial for people’s privacy. Never assume someone you’re chatting with is of legal age to consent, and always make sure that you aren’t giving away information that can be used against you. Or, find a paid site that will check the ages of everyone involved and guarantee your privacy so that you don’t have to remember all the necessary precautions.
People need sexual connection for their mental health, even during a pandemic. Isolation for months without a clear end in sight has paved the way for new sex technology that will be valuable long-term. Virtual connection was inevitable, and now that people realize the benefits of finding sexual connection online, it’s unlikely that the industry will disappear alongside the pandemic.