During the past three or four years, several cases have been mentioned in the media where women, especially young girls, have found compromising personal pictures and videos being circulated via MMS, e-mails and on Social Networking Sites (SNS). Though there are laws against those who possess such types of pictures and videos, for the victims, once the harm is done, it is done. Whilst taking videos on mobiles started much earlier, the next phenomenon which is becoming increasingly common is cybersex. According to Sgt. Robin Bundhoo from the Cybercrime Unit, around 1,000 cases are reported every year where images of cybersex have become public.

What is Cybersex?

Cybersex, also called computer sex, Internet sex, netsex, mudsex, TinySex and, colloquially, cybering, is a virtual sex encounter in which two or more persons connected remotely via computer network send each other sexually explicit messages describing a sexual experience. It is a form of sexual role play in which the participants pretend they are having actual sex. In one form, this fantasy sex is accomplished by the participants describing their actions and responding to their chat partners in a mostly written form designed to stimulate their own sexual feelings and fantasies.
Cybersex is commonly performed in Internet chat rooms and on instant messaging systems. It can also be performed using webcams, voice chat systems like Skype, online or even on Facebook. Though text-based cybersex has been in practice for decades, the increased popularity of webcams has raised the number of online partners using two-way video connections to “expose” themselves to each other online—giving the act of cybersex a more visual aspect. Cybersex differs from phone sex in that it offers a greater degree of anonymity and allows participants to meet partners more easily. A good deal of cybersex takes place between partners who have just met online. Unlike phone sex, cybersex in chat rooms is rarely commercial. In online worlds and via webcam-focused chat services, Internet sex workers engage in cybersex in exchange for both virtual and real-life currency.

Proponents of cybersex justify this trend with the following arguments:
  • Since cybersex can satisfy some sexual desires without the risk of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or pregnancy, it is a physically safe way for young people (such as teenagers) to experiment with sexual thoughts and emotions.
  • Cybersex allows real-life partners who are physically separated to continue to be sexually intimate.
  • It can enable participants to act out fantasies which they would not act out (or perhaps would not even be realistically possible) in real life through roleplaying due to physical or social limitations and potential for misunderstanding.
  • It takes less effort and fewer resources on the Internet than in real life to connect to a person like oneself or with whom a more meaningful relationship is possible.


  • Cybersex is often criticized because the partners frequently have little verifiable knowledge (including gender) about each other. 
  • Privacy concerns are a difficulty with cybersex, since participants may log or record the interaction without the other's knowledge, and possibly disclose it to others or the public.
  • Debate continues on whether cybersex is a form of infidelity. While it does not involve physical contact, critics claim that the powerful emotions involved can cause marital stress, especially when cybersex culminates in an Internet romance.
  • Therapists report a growing number of patients addicted to this activity, a form of both Internet addiction and sexual addiction, with the standard problems associated with addictive behaviour.

Cybersex reduces barriers
According to Asrani Gopaul, Lecturer in Social Policy and Social Work, Cybersex reduces barriers. 

Why has social networking reached such heights, especially in a relatively small island like Mauritius?

Firstly, there has been a boom in technology and people have access to Internet facilities. Then, there are many people who are very timid in person but very much at ease socialising through a virtual world. It is easier for them to make friends online.
What effects have social networks had on our society? Is it one of the factors which has led to the degradation of our youth as we hear about it in the media?
It is true that there has not been any control by parents. It was a question of pride to gift children a computer with access to Internet without parents realising the consequences and risks. However, SNS only cannot be blamed for the degradation of our society. Much before SNS, there were television ad DVDs easily available, some cartoons broadcast for children, among others. Not only SNS but all forms of socialisation have contributed to this. At times, parents have not been good role models.
l Regarding cybersex, what pushes people surfing on the net to go for cybersex?
Earlier, people used to go for books but it was relatively difficult compared to cybersex. There are no barriers and it is only a click away on the internet. And it is easier for timid persons. 

 Is this an ill practice? Can such persons be considered as perverts?

It is not an ill practice nor the person be considered a pervert as long as the person has had recourse to cybersex for his own personal needs. However, if the person records the images of the other person and uses them to blackmail and have control over him/her, there is perversion. 

 Can cybersex reduce rape cases or on the contrary, induce people further?

Just as for pornographic films, there are two schools of thoughts where one says it reduces rape and the other claims that it induces people further. For cybersex, it is similar. However, in Mauritius, no research has been made on this and nothing can be said. Basically, it depends on the nature of the person.