Almost every new media technology—from the printing press to photography to the DVD—has been quickly applied to everyone’s favorite pastime: sex. And so it goes with the webcam. As cameras have gained in resolution and broadband has bumped up connection speeds, visual virtual sex on the Web has flourished.
“I’m a bit of an exhibitionist,” says one cammer. “Well, actually, more than a bit. So I love sitting in my living room while guys around the world masturbate to the sight of my erection.”
That kind of crotch-centric convenience has made show-and-see sex easier than ever. Safer, too. No longer does a guy have to worry about getting busted for playing peek-a-boo in the park. And online, a man can reveal as much, or as little, of himself as he wants. The bolder boys may broadcast their faces, but the closeted, the partnered, and the discreetly “bi-curious” need not show anything more than their stiffies.
On the other end of the Internet connection, many a voyeur has wanked to the Web-sight of megapixels of penis. Says one watcher, “While I also subscribe to commercial sex show sites, there’s something really exciting about seeing everyday guys get themselves off for pleasure, not pay. And if there are two men getting each other off, that’s even better.” The improvised nature of amateur camming appeals to him big-time. “It’s fascinating to watch how a variety of strangers present themselves in a sexual situation. It’s also great to see a variety of penises in action. And because I’m nosy, I love catching glimpses of guys’ interior decor.”
Pounding pud in front of a lens might seem coldly impersonal, but that’s where interactivity comes in. There are websites where cruisers can take their pick from competing cams, then get in touch with the studs showing off. Thanks to the ubiquity of instant messaging, viewers can chat in real time with cammers, leading to some highly stimulating situations. “I’m a nasty top,” says one nasty top, “and I type a good line of verbal abuse. The other day I spent a couple of hours online ordering around a cam-casting bottom, insulting him, ordering him to show off, telling him to stick things up his butt. Honestly, I rubbed myself raw.”
Interaction is ratcheted up with cam-to-cam (oft shorthanded “C2C” in Internet-speak). Pretty much what it sounds like, C2C involves two or more guys simultaneously showing off and watching. It’s a technological quantum leap beyond phone sex—now you can both see and hear your jack-off buddy. Given sufficient bandwidth, it’s a snap to have vivid cybersex, even if you’re sick, have crabs, or are stuck in some remote town in the Klondike. And there are no messy emotional entanglements; when you’re done with someone, just flip the off switch.
Drawbacks? “It does make it harder to lie about yourself,” says our exhibitionistic cammer. “Even the best camera angle won’t make it look like you have 10 inches. And you have to be careful not to accidentally show your face if you’re planning on running for president someday. Or if you suspect your dad might be watching.”
So will amateur camming put the porno pros out of business?
Unlikely, says one pay-as-you-jack consumer. “Amateur cammers tend to have no sense of theater. How fascinating is an hour-long closeup of someone’s erection? Call me old-fashioned, but I think it’s hot to see somebody’s face. And with amateurs’ cams, the lighting can be weird, the focus off, and even the most obliging guys have a disconcerting tendency to disappear offline just as you’re getting close to coming. On the other hand, every once in a while I run across a nonprofessional with a really hot kink, something the commercial sites probably wouldn’t feature. And it’s obvious he’s really into it, not just pretending for pay. That can make it all worthwhile.”
Quibbles aside, queer camming is sure to persist as long as there’s an Internet—or at least until technology moves on. (Does anybody take dirty Polaroids any more?) Who, after all, hasn’t dreamed of being a porn star? And who doesn’t want to see what the boy next door’s dingus is like?
Camming can even be romantic. “My lover went to Europe on a business trip,” says one young man. “But thanks to his laptop, we could still have sex together. Not as good as the real flesh-to-flesh thing, maybe, but he does have the most gorgeous-looking equipment.”
Simon Sheppard is the editor of Homosex: Sixty Years of Gay Erotica, and the author of Sex Parties 101, Kinkorama, and In Deep: Erotic Stories, and can be reached at <[email protected]>. Visit Simon at <www.simonsheppard.com>.