The History of Cybersex

Advertisers have long stood by the motto “sex sells.” This has been seen in print advertising, on television commercials, and more recently, on the internet. Few people would be surprised to learn that sex has had an online presence since the early days of the internet. In fact, one of the first website domains was “” Purchased by Gary Kremen and later stolen by Stephen Cohen, the website generated massive amounts of traffic. After Gary Kremen won a lawsuit and got the domain back in 2000, went on to attract millions of visitors.

As the presence of the internet began to pervade the lives of people all over the world, options for virtual sex increased tenfold. With the narrow bandwidth available in the early 1990s, there were few options for accessing sexual materials online. Some people bypassed this problem by scanning images from Playboy and other adult magazines onto to usenet newsgroups. After being scanned to the computer, the images were encoded and broken into smaller sections. Users could download and reassemble the files in order to view the images. The advantage of this early pornographic distribution was its high level of anonymity and lack of subscription fees.

Many internet users lacked the technological skills necessary to access adult material from usenet newsgroups. An increase in accessibility required far greater bandwidth than was available at the time. The further development of the World Wide Web allowed users to share and sell pornography online without the difficulty found in sharing via usenet newsgroups. A large number of users began to purchase pornography online. They could purchase individual files or invest in a monthly or annual subscription providing unlimited access to adult material.

The original Connectix Cam Cost $100

The development of the webcam led to increased opportunities in the world of online sex. The original webcam was created in 1991. Its recordings of a Cambridge University coffee pot were far from sexually exciting, but they paved the way to the practice of live sex over the internet. 1994 saw the development of the first commercial webcam, known as the Connectix QuickCam. Although it was not originally marketed for the web, the QuickCam soon became closely linked with internet use. In its early days, the webcam was used for everything from visiting family members overseas to tracking an ant farm.

It wasn’t long before the webcam was being used in sexual contexts. With the rising popularity of adult chatrooms, users began to engage in private video messages with people that they met on the chatrooms. Recognizing the demand for adult video chat, website owners began to develop domains focused exclusively on using webcams to have virtual sex. By the time the term “sex cam” entered the internet lexicon, dozens of sex cam websites were off and running. Demand was great enough that several users were willing to pay to spend time with attractive sex workers over the internet.

Early sex cams featured grainy images and choppy movement. This could make watching and participating in cybersex rather awkward. A sex cam session would be continually interrupted by repeated buffering, lack of audio and poor images. These problems began to disapear as technological advancements improved webcam functioning. Since the webcam was first released, greater bandwidth has allowed for faster downloading and streaming, less mid-video buffering and clearer pictures. This makes watching and recording videos much easier and has attracted an increased level of traffic to sex cam websites.

The world of virtual sex continues to evolve. Recent developments in internet sex largely involve the use of mobile devices. Originally, adult conversations on the phone were conducted through phone sex operators, a practice which increased and evolved as more people began to own cell phones. The rise of sexually suggestive text messaging led to the coinage of the term “sexting,” which is short for “sexy texting.” Sexting involves sending sexually explicit messages, photos or videos. The ability to access internet through mobile devices also has led to an increase in pornographic material being accessed with smartphones. Many adult companies and websites jumped on the growing trend by developing adult apps for the iPhone and Android. These apps provide users with easy access to pornographic images and videos, as well as the ability to use sex cams on the go.