Lifestyle

Tech is making us more sexually confident. Now please get your smartphone camera away from your junk

The humble webcam, harbinger of the new sexual revolution

Above: The humble webcam, harbinger of the new sexual revolution

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Sexual confidence is up among Americans, so to speak, thanks to tech.

The reason: “An increasingly sexualized use of the Internet,” especially via smartphones and webcams, according to a survey from amorous webcam site Cam4.

“It’s absolutely not surprising,” sociologist Chauntelle Tibbals, who studies technology’s impact on sex, told VentureBeat.

Sexual norms and interaction used to be limited to your community, but now, she told us, “No matter what you like, chances are there is at least one other person out there [on the Internet] who also likes it.”

Just like people used to find online dating weird, Tibbals said, tech-mediated sexuality is becoming commonplace. “Like Snapchat,” Tibbals said, referring to the self-destructing media transmission that arguably invites you to show something you want quickly erased.

The survey, conducted by the French survey institute IFOP, queried over the Internet more than a thousand American adults at the end of last year. A new batch of results from the survey are being released now, in partial celebration of International Masturbation Month. (Didn’t you have it marked in your calendar?)

As the survey discovered, porn, once confined to dank theaters or magazines under the counter, has undergone a massive transformation in acceptance and availability.

Now widely and easily available through the Internet, adult videos have been seen by a reported 90 percent of men and 60 percent of women.

No longer ‘a replacement’

And the modern adult video consumer who admits to watching a pornographic video at least once a week is not the rain-coated, reclusive type. IFOP found that, among those admitted frequent porn watchers, 52 percent have “one sexual relation per day” compared to the 19 percent who do so on average among non-watchers.

“Porn,” the survey assures, “can no longer be considered merely a replacement for an unsatisfactory sex life.”

But sexual fantasy in the second decade of the 21st century isn’t limited to porn. The many new communication technologies are widely being employed for the original form of interactivity — even though the participants might be thousands of miles apart.

“A growing number of young people are developing new forms of fantasy and masturbatory activities via interactive tools,” reported IFOP Research Director Francois Kraus.

Over 26 percent of respondents under 35 reported having “had sexual relations via a webcam,” and 48 percent said they’d do so if the opportunity arose. Forty percent of women under 35 said they’d sent photos or videos of themselves, either partially or totally in their natural state.

More than a quarter of men and women under 35 reported they had filmed or photographed amateur adult videos for private use, and another 48 percent — said they would if they could.

Almost a third of men and more than a fifth of women say they have watched a sex show conducted in front of a webcam, such as one that might later “go private” for a fee.

Of course, this survey depicts an Internet and mobile devices before virtual reality, haptic feedback, and 3D imagery becomes commonplace.

In other words, get ready for Sex 3.0.