Video-conferencing platform, Zoom, are allegedly enforcing stricter usage policies following reports of users organising online sex parties during COVID-19 quarantine.
In response to the the ongoing lockdown, people are turning to online platforms as a way of expressing intimacy and to engage in sexual relations while abiding by health safety guidelines. Digital orgies and sex parties and one-on-one calls have become an important escape from self-isolation for many, providing connection during physical distancing.
Speaking to Hot Press, Oscar Buzz (a pseudoynm) detailed how they have hosted queer undergound sex parties in Boston and have recently begun hosting these events on Zoom, “You’re all in a group and you’re all doing an activity. And you’re just trying to encourage people and encourage them to get into their bodies and enter this fantasy space. You’re trying to create a space where people can feel like they’re free.”
Buzz further shares, “I never thought I’d be doing this kind of stuff in such a public way, where I don’t know who’s watching. But it’s kind of like ‘Brave New World’ — this is what everyone is doing.”
Amid these difficult times, people are holding onto normalcy through online platforms, whether it be through drag shows, nightlife, or creative activities. Sex has also been brought into the digital space to retain connection with others. However, technical difficulties can be jarring and the lack of physical intimacy does slightly take away from the experience.
In response to the increase in online sex parties, Zoom has reportedly been moving to implement stricter user guidelines. A spokesperson detailed that “user policies explicitly prohibit any obscene, indecent, illegal, or violent activity or content on the platform.” The platform aims to introduce a machine learning system flagging this category, without specifying what this entails.
Another person detailed how sex parties are facing backlash from other platforms, “It’s the same difficulty we have with Instagram and Facebook and Google that don’t allow us to advertise and post content based on what we do.”
By closing off digital spaces, it further isolates people from these connections and interactions. Numerous groups are being turned away from online platforms and facing difficulties in organising events. Buzz called out Zoom’s decision by stating, “I think this is another instance of a business that wants to pretend it doesn’t do these things, but of course it does.”
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