In last week’s post, How to have cybersex, I talked about how to use the wonders of the Internet to share intimacy with your partner over a text-based instant messaging system.
This week continues the general theme with an introduction to having Webcam sex.
FIRST, THE TECHNICAL STUFF Of course, the first thing you’ll need is a Webcam.
You can find cheap USB cameras for as little as $30 in computer stores, with the more popular models typically weighing in at around $100 or so. What you will want is a good frame rate (look for 30 frames per second) and a camera that says it’s USB 2.0 (older USB 1 cameras typically offer highly compressed, pixelated images and poor motion).
SECOND, THE SOFTWARE AND IM SERVICE Once you have a Webcam, you need software.
There are several options available for Webcam chatting, with different Internet requirements and different levels of difficulty in setting up. It works over slow Internet connections and there’s no configuration. The bad news is that the image you see is tiny, jerky, and poor quality.
I’ve found the most popular free Webcam chat services that work with both Macs and PCs, in order of ease of setup, to be Yahoo IM, Skype, and AOL IM. Skype requires you to download the Skype program onto your computer.
If you choose to use it only for Internet chat sessions and don’t need it to work like a telephone, it’s free.
It’s also relatively easy to set up and it doesn’t require much configuration, and it gives you nice full-screen video. I’ve had problems where some Webcams, including the built-in Mac Webcam, tend to go black after exactly two minutes of use.
This is apparently a known and documented bug in some versions of the Skype software. AOL IM allows lovely full-motion, full-screen, high-quality video, and it works with the i Chat software built into the Mac.
Windows users need to download the free AIM client software.
The disadvantage is that if you have a home router, it can require some tinkering with your router’s settings to make video work.
THIRD, THE LOCATION Assuming you’ve got the technical end licked and you and your partner can video chat to your heart’s content, the next big thing is location, location, location.
Well, location and also lighting, but mostly location. You want to choose a comfortable place free of distracting clutter and with good, even lighting.