Will the iPhone 4 FaceTime Kill Phone Sex?

Today at WWDC, Steve Jobs introduced FaceTime, which is basically a way for two people who each have an iPhone 4 to video chat with each other. FaceTime also has the power to dramatically change phone sex.

Here’s how.

Phone Sex Operators

First, phone sex operators are – how shall we say it nicely? – in the business of creating a fantasy. Sure, they may tell you that they’re sitting at home, naked, touching themselves while thinking of you and your big, hard, throbbing rod of masculinity (often, phone sex operators steer clear of terms like penis or cock in favor of euphenisms). In reality, they may be wearing flannel PJs while watcing QVC on mute.

If customers were driven by the need to see their phone sex operator, then FaceTime would be a game-changer. Phone sex operators would have to advertise themselves with accuracy so that when a client called and video chatted with them during their hours of availability, they looked at least a little bit like their photo. It would present an interesting question to the phone sex business: are clients more interested in watching the person they’re chatting with, and thus into FaceTime? Or would clients be more interested in going audio-only and creating their own fantasy?

You and Me

For those of us who aren’t in the phone sex business, FaceTime will be even more of a game changer for phone sex.

If you’re into phone sex, and want to watch and be watched, then hook both yourself and your beloved up with iPhone 4, and enjoy the show – even if it is only available on WiFi for now. After all it does have front and rear cameras. For starters, imagine transitioning between the two (is mid-use transitioning possible?). One could use the front camera to show off one’s face and, while in a flexible enough position (legs behind head?), transition to the back camera to show off one’s genitals.

I do worry about people feeling pressured to engage in video phone sex via FaceTime, but that’s not a reason to forgo new technology. A lot of young people have iPhones and quite a few will be saving their summer lifeguarding money or waitressing tips for the iPhone 4. Sometimes young people (and, yes, older people too) feel pressured to do sexual things they don’t want to do. I wish the iPhone 4 came with an app for assertiveness for those who find it hard to say no if they’re not feeling ready or into their partner but welcome to life.

Remember, too, that FaceTime Sex (a term that’s just begging for lame media coverage) is a form of sexting – which isn’t a bad thing necessarily  but people always find a way to record things they want to record, even if they partner doesn’t given them permission, via screengrabs – and all iPhone models allow people to click two buttons for a quick screen capture. If both people are into video phone chat sex, and open/willing to have photos grabbed, then you can enjoy the FaceTime sex long after it ends. Those who don’t want images shared should perhaps think before leaping into FaceTime sex.

Debby Herbenick, PhD is a sex researcher and educator, a widely read sex columnist and author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction. Follow her on Twitter@mysexprofessor.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

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  • BurtonsChick

    I think you have an amazing point. I also think FaceTime will make for even better sex communication between willing participants. Right now the only options seem to be Skype or the Knocking app for the iPhone (which is ok, but there's no sound to go with the video) — I currently have a long distance partner so of course I can't wait for the new iPhone!! =)

  • http://www.fonepong.com Sam

    The genius of Apple marketing is visible in @BurtonsChick's comment. Couples will be buying iPhone4's in pairs because of the Facetime feature. And it will enable them to communicate and be intimate in new ways. However, for single people, Facetime is of little value until there is a large enough user base that a Chatroulette or Fonepong like application can be built specifically for the iPhone4's Facetime feature.