Menu

InstagramTwitterYouTubeFacebookSnapchat
Globe Icon
Join and support LGBT+ journalism

Join

and support
LGBT+ journalism

Explainer

What is Chatroulette? The website that influenced a new kind of gay sex encounter

Hadley Stewart April 16, 2018
Man watchin porn on laptop

Beware of MaleGeneral.

Chatroulette allows users to chat with strangers from across the world – but there’s a twist.

Unlike the messaging apps of today, or the infamous chatrooms that came before, Chatroulette is all about video chats with strangers.

Many users report a real thrill and turn on at the thought of engaging in chats with strangers, and the site’s incredible popularity when it launched eight years ago is testament to its success.

Chatroulette is still popular with niche audiences today, despite the advent of hook-up and dating apps, which provide users a more functional experience than a site like Chatroulette which isn’t geo-located, so you could be chatting with anyone in the world, making meet-ups incredibly unlikely.

Not only is the site a hit with users, it has caught the eye of web developers, who have noticed a gap in the market for more online webcam chat platforms.

Other sites have been set up alongside the original Chatroulette, known as ‘clone’ sites. There’s one for almost every interest you can think of including KittehRoulette (an endless stream of cute kitten videos), JayDoe (intellectual chat) and FlirtSpin.

These clones have also infiltrated the LGBT+ community, with gay and bisexual men able to choose from a plethora of gay Chatroulette clone sites to fulfil their online chat needs.

 

The site allows you to connect with users from across the world

So how does it work?

Well, you need a webcam, a microphone and an internet connection.

When you decide to visit the site and switch on your webcam, you’re suddenly connected to another user, who is also on their webcam.

But here’s the twist: it’s not your friend, but a randomly selected person who is logged on anywhere in the world.

This particular thrill of being face-to-face with an unknown person is Chatroulette’s USP.

If you’re getting along, then you can keep chatting to the other user, but if the conversation is not going what you had in mind, you can click “next” and find yourself with a new, randomly allocated user.

Users can send messages to each other, chat about whatever they fancy, or simply move on to somebody with more similar interests.

 

Shot of apps on a display with Tinder prominent
Despite the influx in apps, chat sites remain popular (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Do people just chat?

Well, yes. But there’s plenty more than idle chatter going on on Chatroulette…

People keep going back to the site and its clone sites because there’s a far kinkier element and we’re pretty sure you can guess what we’re on about.

Gay Chatroulette clone sites are popular among gay and bisexual men because they connect users with one another so they can chat, flirt and show off their assets, should they so wish.

A quick Google for ‘gay Chatroulette’ will offer a wide variety of websites offering a similar service to Chatroulette, although they aren’t connected or affiliated with the original Chatroulette site.

The sites are also useful for queer men simply looking to connect with other queer men living in areas that might not have safe spaces for members of the LGBT+ community.

Others use the site to take part in sexual activity.

This might include masturbating in front of the other person or simultaneously masturbating with one another.

Getting out sex toys and having a play isn’t off limits either, nor is having sex on camera for the benefit of a fellow user.

The fact that users are able to communicate with each other through their microphone gives the added real-time aspect of these cybersex encounters.

Sure, you can send nudes or dick picks to someone on an app, but here users are able to experience a more intimate and unpredictable session, for that added rush.

 

The demand for online porn is thriving

Why is Chatroulette doing so well?

The rush of encountering a new user each time you log in is incredibly hedonistic and thrilling for some users, the unpredictability keeping them coming back for more.

What’s more, the veil of almost anonymity allows users to push themselves to the limits of their sexual desires, giving them the opportunity to experiment with a complete stranger.

The platform may allow self-conscious people to feel more confident about their body or their sex life by experimenting with someone they have absolutely no connection to, from the safety of their own home.

Platforms like Skype, which has also been used for ad-hoc random sexual encounters, doesn’t seem to have pushed Chatroulette off its podium.

That’s probably down to the simple functionality of Chatroulette, which offers new users a new encounter with the click of a button

Safety concerns

Critics have argued these platforms are largely unregulated, which has resulted in users having the potential to do whatever they so please online.

One of the biggest safety concerns about online chat sites is sexual predators using them to groom and abuse others – with children being a group of particular concern.

Online safety concerns have been around since the birth of online chatrooms in the 1990s, and cracking down on internet pests remains a major challenge for authorities.

When it comes to Chatroulette, the issue is that the site isn’t only used for sex, so users who aren’t looking for sexual encounters may stumble onto something explicit by mistake.

However, unlike casual sexual encounters in real life, users can switch to another user or log off from the site, should things turn sinister.

How to stay safe online

It sounds obvious, but these sites allow you to connect with strangers from any part of the world, so keep personal details limited. You may even wish to come up with a pseudonym.

Just because you’re online doesn’t mean you forgo the right to consent – only take part in something that you feel comfortable doing.

Be aware that another user could take a screenshot at any moment, so if you do want to show a bit more flesh than usual, try to make sure your face is out of shot.

Laws in different countries vary when it comes to explicit images being shared, but if you do fall victim to a crime, come forward and report it.

The chances are this individual has done the same thing to someone else, or worse, may go on to do it again.

More: chatroom, chatroulette, gay sex, gay websites

Click to comment

Swipe sideways to view more posts!

Dismiss

Loading ...

Close icon