My Big Mouth: Is cybersex still taboo?


With the explosion in online dating sweeping the UK, more and more people are taking virtual lovers.

By David Horsfall

With the explosion in online dating sweeping the UK, more and more people are taking virtual lovers and enjoying a thrill without the dangers of ‘real’ sex and the risk of having a ‘real’ affair.

Cybersex is a virtual and visceral sexual experience taking place in cyberspace, usually on online dating sites using their instant messaging systems, chat rooms, Skype or message boards.

“The dangers of engaging in fantasy sex online is dependent on how often a person is doing it and for how long,” said Judith Apps, a practising psychotherapist from Surrey.

In her view, the danger of such behaviour is with particular reference to relationships, with people substituting fantasy relationships for real ones.

Sexually explicit messages are passed back and forth between the couple that ultimately leads to fantasy sex – but there are no rules and the couples are dependent on their imagination.

YouGov statistics show that 1 in 5 relationships start through online dating, and has recently produced figures showing a staggering 3 million email messages a week passing through its site.

The online dating industry is now contributing £170 million a year to the UK economy.

Typical of the industry is, which provides online dating software and recently launched its 10,000th site.

It is part of Global Personals Limited that has revenues of £46million and was the fastest growing company in the South East, according to Deloitte Technology Fast 50.

Cybersex comes complete with its own language and etiquette.

Participants are encouraged to engage in online flirting and casual banter before exploring if they are prepared to take matters further.

All you need is a keyboard, a cam and a microphone and virtual love is a click away. Online commentators emphasize the importance of having a good user name if you want plenty of cyber lovers.

But not everyone belives that the internet is the key to a successful relationship. 

“It is unlikely to lead to lasting satisfaction and it is a way of avoiding true engagement in real life,” added Ms Apps.

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