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Virtually hooking up: a beginner’s guide to online sex

There are times when, no matter how much you want it, the safest sex available to you is the DIY type.

Sometimes it’s because you’re staying at your parent’s place. Sometimes it’s because you’re waiting for an STI to clear up. And sometimes it’s because you’re not hooking up to help control a pandemic — which for most us is now.

If you’re after something a little more interactive than porn, then virtual sex (including phone sex and camming) offers a way to meet guys that can be sexy, discreet and safe. Connecting online through chat or videoconferencing apps is easy (though it’s worth checking their privacy credentials and user policies first) and you can have a lot of fun with as many guys as you like, without leaving the house.

Just like hooking up in the flesh, a little preparation will help you get the most out of your online encounters, especially if you’re a newcomer to the virtual experience. Read on for some timely advice for anyone looking to get off online — you might be alone, but there’s no need to be lonely.

Make sure everyone is clear about what’s going on

Be clear about what you want before you send the invite. Just as with any other sort of sex, it’s essential to get consent before you get started.

It’s also important to make sure everyone involved is very clear about how any images are going to be used. Recording or sharing anything from an intimate chat or video session without explicit consent is illegal.

You wouldn’t just walk into a bar or group session and start filming without asking — so the same level of social etiquette applies online.

Discover more about digital safety and the law in Sending nudes and filming dudes: a guide for law-abiding citizens.

Get comfortable with yourself and your setup

If talking dirty or taking your clothes off on camera makes you self-conscious, a little practice can help you get more comfortable. Take some time to get familiar with lighting, angles and acoustics wherever you’re setting yourself up. Don’t just rely on mirrors or what you can see on the selfie cam — it’s not the same thing. Record yourself in action and play it back to see how it looks and sounds. Fine tune and repeat.

The more you get used to being in front of the camera, the more naturally it will come to you, and the more confident and relaxed you’ll feel.

Do some research

If you’re going to be getting naked online, work out how to present yourself on camera. Watch some porn from a technical perspective, or subscribe to some cam performers (try OnlyFans or JustFor.Fans) to see how they do it.

There are also guides to making your camming as slick as possible with the help of basic equipment like lights and tripods, which you can order online if you really want to invest.

Take your cues from each other

Enjoy yourself, but pay attention to him as well — it can be harder to read each other when you’re not in the same room, so don’t be shy about initiating conversation to discover what you both want from the experience. Does he respond well when you’re filthy explicit, or does he go quiet and get embarrassed? Does he like to listen or is he more of a talker?

Don’t forget to ask for what you want, either. Being sensitive to what’s going on at his end (and vice versa) will help you both get the most out of your time ‘together apart’.

Keep it as natural as possible

In what has become something of an international standard for dirty talk, one sex columnist offers a simple guide: describe what you’re going to do, describe what you are doing, and describe what you just did.

It doesn’t have to be a performance and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Talking naturally and intimately about what turns you on and what you’re thinking about in the moment is all you need to get started.

Slow it down

Resist the tendency to race through your words, especially if you’re feeling nervous or self-conscious — if half the dialogue consists of ‘pardon?’, the mood will die in a hurry. Take deep breaths, and say and do everything slightly slower than you would normally. This will make everything a lot clearer at his end, help minimise blurring in the feed and stop you talking over each other.

Remember, sometimes it’s not about what you say but how you say it. Anything can sound sexy with the right tone.

Be prepared for awkwardness

Even if you’re a virtual-sex veteran, there are going to be moments when it doesn’t work. A bit of clumsiness and laughter are all part of the experience, so don’t be put off if your hot chat doesn’t land quite right every time. Just mix it up and move on.

Don’t be afraid of silence

It’s important not to feel like you have to fill every second with talking. The sound of your breathing and/or the sight of you both enjoying your bodies can absolutely be enough on its own. The point is to have fun, not to be constantly thinking of the next thing to say.

If you’re nervous, give it some structure

You don’t need to storyboard your cam session, but a little bit of planning can help avoid a lot of awkwardness, especially if you’re a first-timer. Try a session where one of you is in charge and the other follows instructions, or take turns talking about your fantasies. Naked dinner or virtual strip poker (or strip versions of any online games) are other interesting possibilities.

Be brave and have fun

Most importantly, it should be hot and it should be fun! Virtual hook-ups are a great way to explore what turns you on and how powerful your imagination can be in your sex life. Get in touch with what works for you, and you’ve found an easy, no-risk way to meet guys any time — not just when you’re staying safe at home.

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