In online worlds like Second Life and via webcam-focused chat services, however, Internet sex workers engage in cybersex in exchange for both virtual and real-life currency.
Cybersex can be utilised to write co-written original fiction and fanfiction by role-playing in third person, in forums or communities usually known by the name of 'A Shared Dream'.
Cybersex can occur either within the context of existing or intimate relationships, e.g.
among lovers who are geographically separated, or among individuals who have no prior knowledge of one another and meet in virtual spaces or cyberspaces and may even remain anonymous to one another.
There is disagreement over 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.
Cybersex is commonly performed in Internet chat rooms (such as IRC, talkers or web chats) and on instant messaging systems.
It can also be performed using webcams, voice chat systems like Skype, or online games and/or virtual worlds like Second Life.
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In some contexts cybersex is enhanced by the use of a webcam to transmit real-time video of the partners.
Channels used to initiate cybersex are not necessarily exclusively devoted to that subject, and participants in any Internet chat may suddenly receive a message with any possible variation of the text "Wanna cyber? " or a request for "C2C"/"C4C" ("cam to cam" and "cam for cam", respectively).
In situations like this, the people typing often consider themselves separate entities from the "people" engaging in the sexual acts, much as the author of a novel often does not completely identify with his or her characters.
Due to this difference, such roleplayers typically prefer the term "erotic roleplay" rather than cybersex to describe it.There are a number of popular, commercial webcam websites that allow people to openly masturbate on camera while others watch them.