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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Pillowtalk: Tips on digital sex during COVID-19


Dear Pillowtalk,

I came to college to learn, but it’s also the first place I’ve lived without family, and I was looking forward to being able to hook up sometimes. Obviously, we can’t do that. I read your piece about COVID sex, but I was also wondering about phone sex and video stuff—are people doing that more now? How do you get comfortable with that/how do you ask people to do it?

Good question! In an increasingly digital world, phone and video sex are all the rage. While I’m not sure if Knox already has a digital hookup culture on the rise, I’m hopeful that we will, since it’s so much safer. Plus, phone and video sex offer a great way to build comfort and communication skills around sex.

Phone and video sex have existed for a long, long time. From phone sex hotlines to Omegle video chat rooms to camgirls to long-distance relationships, digital sex isn’t a new phenomenon. COVID has certainly changed the demand and format for digital sex; talk about alternative uses for Zoom! 

Hookup culture, though, presents a different challenge. You’ll meet people in activities and classes, Tinder and Grindr, not in parties. Hooking up with random people is not a quarantine-safe activity, and digital sex offers a great way to connect with people and have a good college hookup experience without the risk of contracting COVID. That said, I can’t tell you how to find partners for digital hookups—you’re on your own there.

On comfort: there’s this word, “spectatoring.” It’s a thing people sometimes do when they’re insecure about their bodies, genitals, or sex appeal. Basically, when a person with low sexual self-esteem has sex, sometimes they’ll get preoccupied with what they look like, worry about if they look sexy enough, or whether they’re behaving in a way that’s “hot.” We call this spectatoring because it’s like the person is watching themselves have sex. Unfortunately, with Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, FaceTime, and basically any other video platform, we can LITERALLY spectate: we can watch ourselves on screen in that little square. You may have even noticed this in your classes: maybe you get insecure, so you turn your camera off; you fix your hair constantly; you watch to make sure you aren’t making weird faces; you casually pose for the camera.

To have a satisfying sexual experience, you’ll have to work through some issues of spectatoring. Either get really comfortable with your body, or cover the little square with tape, or just practice removing your focus from what you look like. This might be hard. This might take a while.

Get comfortable talking about sex aloud. Practice talking dirty, practice asking people to change positions, practice asking for what you want. You have to be comfortable talking about what you’re doing. Try it alone! Record videos, hop on Omegle, or some other video chat platform if you’re comfortable practicing with random strangers. Watch JOI (jack off instructions) videos, or solo masturbation videos, or camming videos to pick up tips. If you’re not confident in your setting skills, SlutBot can teach you to sext using an AI chatbot.

On asking: just do it. “I’m not comfortable hooking up in person right now, but do you maybe wanna video chat sometime?” Or offer a specific thing! “I could tell you what to do to yourself if you want,” or maybe even “Wanna control my vibrator?” (some vibrators are app-controlled so you can use them long-distance! Check out the Lovense Lush if you have $100 to spare). Be sure to talk boundaries—if you’re comfortable being recorded or screenshotted, the words you like to use for your body, etcetera. Communication is key!

Digital sex can be scary, but it is so much safer and can be so much fun if you get comfortable with it! Be patient and be safe.

Have a question for Elleri? Send it to to http://bit.ly/2LZTHeY or scan our QR code here!

Have a question for Elleri? Send it to to http://bit.ly/2LZTHeY or scan our QR code here!

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