The Ups and Downs of Cam Chatting

Dr. Olson,

I’m a sixty-eight-year-old gay man, and I find it difficult to masturbate without some visual stimulation. It seems to work best when I do C2C [cam chatting] with someone else. Maybe it’s an effect of the internet, but sexual fantasies alone are not enough. Is there something wrong with me?

Cam Fan


Dear Cam Fan,

I have received several questions about interactive video chatting with anonymous partners like these: Is it safe to video chat? What are the best apps to use to video chat? Are they expensive?

I doubt there is anything wrong with you, Cam Fan. Our sexuality evolves as we age. I have a free handout about these changes that you can access by signing up for my newsletter.

As we age, we require more stimulation to achieve sexual arousal, stimulation that can involve any of the five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch). Also, as we age, we can get more easily distracted during sexual arousal, leading to loss of erections. These things are normal and not signs of impending loss of sexual function.

Interactive cam chatting with another person provides visual and sound stimulation, which enhances our sexual arousal. Alas, it cannot provide touch, taste, and smell, at least not yet.

Anticipation and opportunities drive the release of dopamine, the pleasure hormone, which is essential to sexual arousal. The interactive chats also increase anticipation much more than watching porn alone.

Sexual desire takes many forms, and lots of interactive chat sites are available for almost every variation of sexual desire. If you have atypical sexual interests, you can easily find someone who shares those interests.

Some men use these chat sites when sexual activity lags in their primary relationship. Interactive chatting is convenient and transportable if you travel too.

In general, these sites are safe, although do not give anyone your personal information. Many people use free video apps; some require a subscription to access them. They are certainly safer than anonymous, casual sex with a stranger. Video chatting eliminates the risk of violence and sexually transmitted diseases, and if you’re careful, sites protect your privacy as well.

One of the risks is believing you’ve fallen in love with a distant someone who is often more a fantasy than a real person. We make our virtual partners into the magical people we want them to be, and they do the same to us.

Loren Olson


Photo by Emiliano Cicero on Unsplash