I recently spoke to Gareth May for The Debrief re Chaturbate…

“What’s Chaturbate?!” you ask. Well, you should read “So Chaturbate’s Kind of a Big Deal – But Who’s Using It?” (August 5, 2015 here)

Per Gareth:

Chaturbate is a live broadcast and tech-savvy webcam site where the performers – male, female and trans – earn money through tips or tokens allocated by viewers. Since launching in 2011, Chaturbate has gone from strength to strength and it is currently considered one of the most popular cam sites on the net.

…Any one can watch Chaturbate’s streams. Click on www.chaturbate.com, check the ‘I agree to the below terms’ box and there you; more bums and willies, as my mum would say, than you can shake a mop at. It is quite literally free-for-all.

You can read Gareth’s full piece over on The Debrief (here), but I had a lot to say about Chaturbate in general. You can read my full correspondence with Gareth below:

GM: Ashley Vex, one of the performers on the site has said that younger people are increasingly using the Internet to express their sexuality. Is Chaturbate the next step in this expression? In the same way the MSN generation used cybersex?

DrCT: Using web cam sites as a mode for sexual expression is certainly on the rise. I am not sure cam sites are THE next step, but they are certainly a significant space that only seems to be growing, refining, and increasing in popularity.

GM: I spoke with one of the people behind the site and she said that a lot of people visiting and camming on the site aren’t always broadcasting or looking for sexual content – a lot of them are simply hanging out with like-minded people. How positive are places like Chaturbate in terms of offering a non-judgmental haven and enabling an open dialogues between young people?

DrCT: This is absolutely true – communities of like-minded folks develop within the virtual walls of all web-cam sites’ chatspaces. I think this is a result of several factors. Folks congregating on web-cam sites are obviously looking for human interaction, both social and sexual. Talking with others who are in the same space is a good way to get some open human social interaction without shame or judgement. Talking to others within the site essentially vets others for the possibility of open interaction. People interacting within a model’s chat room may have nothing in common, except for the fact that they’re all on a cam site. People may feel more secure about not being judged about their sexual proclivities, which may contribute to the quality of the interaction on some level.

GM: It seems that Chaturbate is another example of the way in which digitization is accelerating our understanding of human sexuality. Will we see more sites such as Chaturbate (which seems to represent women, men and trans people on equal standing) in the future, and if so will we eventually move towards a more kaleidoscopic view of sexuality throughout society?

DrCT: There are currently about 5 – 6 major cam network sites operating. And though these sites may look similar to the casual observer, each one has a very distinct “personality” – community, tenor, goals, etc. This phenomenon certainly gets at a more kaleidoscopic view of sexuality throughout society (as you say), and I would imagine this will only continue to develop.

What do you think?

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(Image via The Debrief)

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Get Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment on Amazon and CT.com

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