James W. Hicks, M.D.

Chat Roulette

In Flexercises on June 25, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Anyone who doubts the nearly universal potential for bisexual behavior and interests should spend twenty minutes on Chat Roulette.

For those who don’t know, Chat Roulette is a relatively new internet phenomenon which allows you to chat with a series of random strangers from around the world. Everyone who visits the site becomes part of the mix. You and your chat partner are visible to each other via your web cams, and you can each end the conversation at any time with the click of a button and be flung to your next random partner.

Because there is no sign-on or membership, your participation is completely anonymous, and the site has become a giant social experiment, revealing how people behave with each other when there is virtually no accountability. Most people turn out to be curious and friendly. Sure, about a quarter of the participants at any time are faceless men jerking off in front of their camera. But if you can get past that, you can have surprisingly deep conversations with someone you don’t know and will never see again.

And what do people talk about on Chat Roulette? They ask, where are you from? what do you do? and are you gay? Most participants are male, and you will find that many, if not most, identify themselves as “mostly straight” or “bi-curious” or “experimenting” or say they are unwilling to restrict themselves to a label. Even those who initially say they are straight begin to ask themselves why they’ve never had a gay experience. Before you know it, they want to show you their underwear or ask if you find them attractive, or they inquire about the mechanics of sex between men. And many men from other countries (especially the Middle East and South Asia) quickly acknowledge that they are attracted to both men and women, even though they might be married and have children.

I’m not sure what the Chat Roulette experience is like for women. There are few women on the site, and many seem to be men masquerading as women with video loops. Statistically, it might be difficult for a woman to find a female partner to chat with.  Are the women on the site as heteroflexible as the men?

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