But problems arise, she says, when users “lose their ability to control” that behavior.
“Just install the software,” says Sinulate’s web site, “plug in your Interactive Fleshlight, and pick a partner!
” Kyle Machulis, operator of slashdong.org, a Web site about the combination of sex and technology and a self-described “tinkerer/hacker/pioneer/visionary in the realm of sex technology,” is a major proponent of open-source teledildonics.
She estimates that men comprise 60% of the clients who come to her center seeking help for sexual online compulsivity issues.
Moreover, Young says, the sheer variety of sexual experiences offered by the Internet can present a challenge to monogamous relationships.
“Having sex with the same person can become routine, boring,” she says. But if you’re married and keeping it a secret, it’s a problem.” Regina Lynn defines the issue this way: “Does your partner know, and does your partner consent?
Lying is cheating.” “Everyone’s always interested in where the line [with cheating] lies,” says Cory Silverberg.
The “Sinulator,” for example, produced by Sinulate Entertainment in Sunnyvale, California, is a wireless vibrator that connects to any computer with an Internet hookup and a Windows operating system.
The Sinulator’s counterpart is the “Interactive Fleshlight,” a penis sleeve for men that transmits in-and-out action into vibrations for the Sinulator on the other end.
“There’s no safer place to meet,” she says, “than in a virtual world.” The Internet can also be a boon for busy adults, Brathwaite says, allowing people to have social and romantic encounters online that they simply don’t have time for in conventional space.
“For a busy single mom or dad whose life is packed with activity,” she says, “at the end of the day virtual worlds can allow them to socialize.” Brathwaite, who is also a professor at Savannah College of Art and Design, says cybersex holds tremendous potential for education on sexual health topics for youth and at-risk populations as well as untapped potential for sex therapy for couples.
Studies show that ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for crimes of sexual violence, and that females ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of these crimes.