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Video sex experimentation

Dear Alice,

I have a friend who moved away for college whom I have kept in touch with. We are very open with and trusting of each other, and we've started to communicate in-depth about sex (fantasies, masturbation, but we're both virgins). We've had cyber sex through text but lately we've moved on to the idea of using video chat to watch each other masturbate. I'm excited about the possibility, and he seems to be, too, but I have some concerns:

Am I being naive and letting too much of my guard down? Is this kind of experimentation natural and healthy? Should I "prepare" in any way (shaving, "practicing" in some way)?

Thanks for any advice you can give me!

— Adventurous Virgin

Dear Adventurous Virgin,

You’ve asked some great questions about venturing into the arena of video sex, so kudos to you! Exploring your sexuality and sexual interests is absolutely natural and healthy, and it sounds like you have found someone you feel safe with to take this journey with you. Since you both in this and learning together, here are some tips that can help you both maintain that open and trusting relationship you already have, and tackle some of your concerns if you decide to go live.

First, you'll want to make sure you both are checking in with one another early and often. Your concern about letting too much of your guard down is completely valid and may be alleviated by talking about boundaries and desires with your friend in advance. You can always start by asking yourself some questions about what you want, don’t want, and even what you’re unsure about doing. Then, you can bring your friend into the conversation so you both are on the same page. To help get the ball rolling, here are some questions you and your friend can consider talking about with each other:

  • What type of ground rules do we both want for our sexual relationship and our friendship?
  • What about other people? How do we want to handle communicating about potential relationships/sexual encounters with others?
  • What about a safe word? Safe words are typically established to alert partners to slow down or stop during sex play. Use a word or words that won’t be confused with the sexual content of the moment — like “red” for stop, “green” for keep going, or “yellow” for slow down. Safe words can also be integrated into your sexy communications via text, phone, or video chat.
  • What are our turn-ons or turn-offs?
  • What can make us both feel safe, respected, and comfortable as we consider our on-screen debut?

Also know that answers to these questions may shift over time and that's ok. Being upfront with your friend and touching base every so often provides an opportunity to discuss if either of you feel differently or have changed your mind about your initial agreements.

Additionally, it's also necessary for you both to consider cyber security. Unfortunately, the reality of the internet includes computer hacking, viruses, and other avenues that may lead to your private time, and information, becoming more public than you intended. Given these realities, this may be an opportunity for you two to consider ways to keep your exchanges secure. Some issues that you may want to discuss might include:

  • Trying to avoid showing your face and your body on screen at the same time — it’s harder to identify a person without the whole picture!
  • Checking out the security settings on the program(s) you use to communicate with your friend — some may be more secure than others.
  • If you both want to save your chats or videos, consider saving them with a file name that will remind you not to send them to the wrong recipient, e.g., “do not send to anyone other than XXX”. 
  • You may also want to consider saving any chats/photos/videos on a seperate private/personal computer, maybe one that you don't use for work/school, or you could even consider storing them on a secure file-housing service such as Dropbox where your "documents" are password protected and encrypted.
  • Consider the security of your internet network, too. Using a password protected personal network provides more security than a public network or a network without a password.

Furthermore, you asked about what you could do to prepare for your on-camera soirée, and there are lots of ways to get ready for a video debut! Additionally, preparation can be a great way to relieve some of the nervous anticipation leading up to a new adventure. Some possibilities for preparing yourself include:

  • Since you’ve already established an open dialogue with your friend, you may want to discuss with them aesthetic options such as shaving and what clothes to wear (if any).
  • Consider recording yourself ahead of time or use a mirror to plan for positions, angles, or even just to get a sneak peak of what your friend will get to see. With that being said, sexual adventures are often somewhat unpredictable, which can certainly be part of the excitement! So, it might be best not to worry too much about planning your every move and see where the adventure goes.
  • Want to learn more about masturbation (solo or with a partner)? Check out stores such as Babeland or Good Vibrations for helpful books, guides, and toys. You can also peruse the Go Ask Alice! Masturbation category.

You also asked if this type of exploration is normal and healthy. For some, this type of dynamic found within a "friends with benefits" situation or other types of uncommitted or non-romantic sexual relationships can be liberating and exciting. They may also be more common due to the number of available and semi-anonymous forms of technology at our fingertips — such as photo sharing, video chats, and texting. Exploring your sexual self with a particular distance afforded by various types of technology is completely normal and may allow for unique understanding and expression of yourself.

In that same vein, considering new sexual acts or interests may also bring up unexpected questions or feelings. If you’re feeling unsure about the nature of your relationship or even the type of activities you’re considering, talking it out with your friend or another supportive person in your life may be helpful. Additionally, you might also be interested in speaking with a sex therapist, as many people also begin to understand their sexual selves more fully with the guidance of a counselor or sex therapist. If you're interested, you can comb through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists to learn more.

Overall, no matter what you decide, Adventurous Virgin, try not to rush yourself — it’s perfectly healthy to allow yourself the time and space to explore any questions or reservations fully before/if you decide make plans for your video date.

Hope you have fun on your sexy journey!

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Last updated Jun 30, 2022
Originally published Jun 20, 2014

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