My old laptop’s camera had stopped working years ago, but when I got a new MacBook Pro (13-inch, for the size queens out there), using Skype to see each other seemed like a natural progression. What I also found interesting is that in general, I wouldn’t say I’m a “visual person,” especially when it comes to sex. Yes, I like movies and TV and art, but when I masturbate, I don’t fixate on a specific image or, in general, watch porn. I might look tenderly upon a lover’s body but in the moment, I’m more about what someone is saying than what I’m seeing; usually my eyes are closed unless there’s a specific reason for them to be open.
I found that when it came to exposing more than my breasts on screen, I was hesitant. Because I too could see myself, I started to fixate on how jiggly my belly looked or how long it had been since I’d gotten waxed. But it wasn’t just those seemingly superficial concerns.
There was a deeper way exposing my body on screen exposed some of my fantasies, and I think that’s true for both of us. I’ve always been the type to go all out if I’m going to do something; it’s why I often fall hard for people and get my heart broken. If I’m going to share fantasies with someone, I’m going to share them, even the ones that shock or scare me, even the ones that make me worry, despite every ounce of sex-positivity in me, “Will that make me seem too depraved, perverted, slutty?”
To answer my question, in some ways, it did make me seem all those things—to myself. Though I completely trust the person I was Skypeing with, the intensity of the interaction had me getting swept away with it, feeling like I could say or show anything to him. It wasn’t just the physical nudity, though that took a little maneuvering. Sitting up on a bed or lying down, it’s hard to make sure every angle is a good one. In real life, I don’t worry as much about whether my breasts are drooping or how big or small any given body part is, because touching the other person triumphs over those concerns. But without the sensation of skin-on-skin, I was more self-conscious, and kept altering the view. I wanted to bare all of myself, to show him exactly what the sight of his nudity was doing to me, but I couldn’t keep the camera focused on my pussy for more than a minute or two, eventually switching to my face.
There’s more performance anxiety using Skype than on the phone. What if I yawn? What if I look away? In some ways, I had assumed it would be just like phone sex, only with images, but it was even more intense than that. I’d gotten used to hearing his voice in my ear, in sexual and non-sexual conversations, so that part was familiar, and even seeing his face and apartment, but seeing him naked was something else. The combination of us taking our clothes off and exposing our fantasies was incredibly hot, but also more than a little unnerving. I did things on the phone for him to listen to that I was uncertain about doing over Skype. But I tried to set aside those concerns and once we got more and more into it, I felt incredibly close to him, close enough to take a few risks that left me trembling.
Maybe I’m a more visual person than I thought I was, or maybe the sensual overload of going so deep into our fantasies, plus seeing and hearing each other, when in real life we’ve never even kissed, made it seems more momentous than it might have been had we actually been in the same room.
The downside of experiencing such intimacy, of each of us masturbating both to and for each other, as well as ourselves, was that it brought the reality of being so far apart, of not having any of that intimacy translate into true physical closeness, even starker. I found myself imagining what it would be like to curl up next to him at night, my fantasies going way beyond the sexual. Like with any long distance relationship or affair or flirtation—I’m still not quite sure which, if any, of those we were engaging in—there wasn’t a chance to see the dark side of each other.
After that session, we both decided to dial things way back, because at the end of the day, I can sleep with my laptop under my pillow, but it’s not going to give me the kind of warmth I ultimately want. There’s been a letdown to go from such frenzied communication in various forms?email, text, phone, Skype?to the occasional email. It reminded me why I’d promised myself to take a major break from dating in 2011 and “work on myself,” and how easily astray I can lead myself from that goal.
For me, Skype sex made me appreciate the intimacy of phone sex even more. Not that they need to be pitted against each other, but when you are on the phone, whether you have the lights blazing or are in the dark, it’s your body, your voice, and the other person’s voice connecting. You have to focus your senses to truly hear every nuance of their voice and tone, something that does sometimes get lost when you’re in aglow with the kind of passion that leads you to immediately rip each other’s clothes off. Both Skype and phone sex with someone I’m literally across the country from showed me there are other ways of being intimate with a person, ones that can rock my foundation just as much as anyone I might actually slip into bed next to.
I don’t mean that to scare you away from using Skype; I don’t regret it at all. I’m glad that I didn’t hold back in the ways I’d expected to, because I was rewarded by figuring out what some of my deepest fantasies are. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had that opportunity save for the distance, because why would I Skype with someone in New York when we could just get together? To summarize my extremely non-scientific findings: Skypeing can be very sexy, just make sure you’re ready to handle it.