Dating

What’s the safest way to have cybersex during quarantine?

Always practice safe sex!

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A blazing hot summer isn’t the only reason people are shedding their clothes during the pandemic era. Between separated lovers and thirsty singles in your area, everyone is experiencing a rougher time getting their groove on. As a result, people are running to digital messaging and broadcasting platforms to express their horny sides.

However, as the pre-coronavirus world is wont to tell you, cybersecurity isn’t as safe as one might imagine. Work-from-home employees are quickly learning about privacy risks with their preferred conferencing apps. For example, Zoom, the work-from-home community’s golden child, has repeatedly caused shady privacy hiccups, including Zoombombing (or when unauthorized Zoom users invade other people’s Zoom calls). That said, given how risky office calls already are, how much riskier is it to sext these days?

Sliding into those DMs

Naturally, the simplest form of sexting is the good old-fashioned nude photo. Since the advent of Twitter, DMs have always been home to naughty lewds and unsolicited dick pics. Likewise, the same can be said of Facebook Messenger or Instagram Direct. How safe are these forms of communication for your nudes?

Unfortunately, not very. Though they are private in nature, direct messaging features are hardly the most secure of platforms. This has a lot to do with encryption. Despite Facebook’s and Twitter’s best attempts, completely secure messaging is still a distant hope. Between Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, only Facebook Messenger offers a secret conversation feature, allowing messages to be end-to-end encrypted. Twitter has tried encryption before, but so far hasn’t rolled out the feature after the test. Instagram, unfortunately, is still working on its own variant.

Meanwhile, the more dedicated messaging services — like WhatsApp and Telegram — already have end-to-end encryption built in. If you’re planning to go old-school sexting, using these apps might be your best bet. Also, if you and your partner both have iPhones, FaceTime uses end-to-end encryption as well.

What does this all mean? Unencrypted messages are prone to unauthorized third parties. You can get hacked. On the other hand, regular encryption protects against malicious hackers. However, the company can still access your data if it needs to. Even if they claim to not touch your data, they still can. True end-to-end encryption protects your data from both hackers and the company, ensuring that only the sender and the receiver can access the data. That said, there are still ways to illegally access encrypted data as was what happened with WhatsApp recently. Ultimately, it’s all about how much risk you are willing to handle.

Booming while Zooming

Likewise, the issue of security pops up again in video conferencing apps. As mentioned above, Zoom is already in hot water for providing less-than-stellar privacy measures. Even now, malicious parties can just as easily access your Zoom calls without your permission. Rumors of the company’s Chinese ties aren’t helping its cause either.

That said, sexy video chats are always going to be a thing. Especially now, there’s no other way to express physical intimacy for distanced lovers than through Zoom, Skype, or Discord. How safe are you when you take your clothes off on these platforms?

This is when it gets tricky. Technically, Zoom, Skype, and Discord all restrict adult content on their respective platforms, based on their terms of service. Under the strictest implementation of the rule, users shouldn’t send nude selfies or have sex shows through these apps.

However, how can these companies expect to enforce this rule? The only feasible way for enforcement is by monitoring accounts directly. Naturally, no one wants that. And companies will never own up to such an invasion of privacy.

At most, some companies claim to use AI and machine learning to catch these calls in the act. According to Zoom’s statement on Rolling Stone, the platform uses “a mix of tools, including machine learning” to help with enforcement. However, when the publication asked for more details regarding the supposed tools, Zoom refused to answer, potentially confirming the measure’s non-existence.

In 2018, Microsoft adjusted its code of conduct to restrict nudity and pornography. In terms of enforcement, the document explicitly refers to the right to go over your submitted content when “investigating alleged violations.” Like Zoom, Microsoft doesn’t have a crystal-clear way to find violators. “Alleged violations” means that the company must rely on other people reporting violators.

Though they have the same problem, Discord has a more open approach to adult content. Like Zoom and Microsoft, Discord doesn’t allow adult content. However, the platform can allow them under certain circumstances. According to a tweet from their official account, “NSFW content is allowed in DMs and video chat provided that all parties involved are consenting and of appropriate age.” Also, Discord allows users to mark communities as NSFW, curbing some of the blow.

How does this go back to the issue of encryption? Because companies will investigate user reports, Zoom, Skype, and Discord will not offer true end-to-end encryption. Though they have standard encryption, the company can still view your content if they need to.

If anything, Discord has more convenience as a platform out of the three mentioned. Regardless, if security is your priority, true end-to-end encryption — such as those offered by WhatsApp and Telegram — is still your best bet.

The human factor

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, the true risk lies in the people you share nudes with. If you don’t strip responsibly, your sexting partner can easily save your nude selfies, capture screen recordings of you getting it on, or broadcast your livestream elsewhere.

Even if you choose the most secure platform, people can still mess with you. At the very least, make sure you completely trust your partner. And not just the he’s-my-boyfriend type of trust. Make sure that, even if you break up, they won’t betray you at all.

If you’ve successfully found yourself such a partner and decided on a secure platform, don’t be afraid to express your sexuality as much as you want. Your body is your own.

SEE ALSO: Android is now much harder to crack than iOS

Dating

Facebook Dating now has audio calls for daters

And two new matching features

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Dating apps are getting more advanced. Before, prospective daters had to rely on simple text messaging and often wonky pairing algorithms. Now, finding a partner has never been easier. Some apps have even partnered with complementary services to provide the most seamless way to go on a date. Though not the most popular dating service out there, Facebook Dating is packing in more features for daters.

With a new update rolling out, Facebook Dating now allows users to start audio conversations or “audio dates” for people they match with. Users can initiate a call, and it sends an invite to the other person.

Facebook Dating also has a new Match Anywhere feature. Since the advent of remote working, people can find themselves working in two different cities in a single work week. Match Anywhere allows users to select up to two additional locations for matches. For example, they can find matches in their city of residence and in a separate city where they work.

Finally, a new Lucky Pick feature expands the service’s matching capabilities. Though users select the traits that they find attractive, Lucky Pick can potentially match them with people they don’t usually include in their searches if the algorithm deems them compatible with one another.

SEE ALSO: Google is banning ‘sugar daddy’ dating apps

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Google is banning ‘sugar daddy’ dating apps

Starting September 1

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Dating apps are a dime a dozen nowadays. Regular daters have the more popular apps available including Tinder and Bumble. Niche daters also have their own set of apps for their own preferences. Did you know that there’s a dating app for farmers, for example? Apparently, despite the wide variety of apps, Google is less than thrilled over a very specific category of the market: sugar-daddy dating apps.

First reported by Android Police, Google is issuing new policies to cover the strange niche. And yes, they do exist. As the name implies, these dating apps are specifically made for daters looking for their own sugar daddy or sugar mommy (or vice versa).

In dating parlance, sugar daddy and mommies refer to rich daters who spoil their partners using their wealth in return for physical affection. The relationship type shouldn’t be an issue in itself. (“Different folks, different strokes,” as the saying goes.) However, Google certainly has issues with these apps.

According to the new policy, there will be “new restrictions on sexual content, specifically prohibiting compensated sexual relationships (i.e., sugar dating).” The policy will go into effect starting September 1.

Google has always been moderately tough on sexual content. Though looking up “sex” on the Play Store elicits a swath of tools and apps, the online catalog never outrightly includes any sexual content. Google potentially dislikes the “compensated” part of sugar-daddy dating apps, which can link it to a form of prostitution.

That said, Google seems to be all-in on less transactional dating apps like Tinder. Instead of propagating relationships through transactions, apps like Tinder do promote finding a true partner.

SEE ALSO: How to quench your thirst for dating in the time of social distancing

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Dating

Couple co-op games to play during the pandemic

Loving from a distance

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co-op games

It goes without saying that the pandemic has drastically altered our lives. And, for the lucky few who’ve found love amidst the global chaos or barely kept their love life while apart, playing games has become one of the best past time in quarantine.

Below are cooperative games you can play with your partners or friends. We’re open to all forms of love here. Also, note that this list won’t include classic multiplayer games like Minecraft, Stardew Valley, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons because I’m assuming you and your partner or friends have already played these for an ungodly number of hours. Which, by the way if you haven’t, I recommend you start there.

Not included on this list are multiplayer online battle arenas(mobas) since that’s a whole genre of it’s own. And, I’m sick and tired of blatant sexting and flirting on moba team chats. Get your lives together or stay alone, yeah?

It Takes Two

Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, & PC

It Takes Two is a cooperative action-adventure platformer with gripping stories and game mechanics. You play as arguing parents at wit’s end stuck in doll form. The doll form bit is due to your daughter’s attempt to cope with her parents’ eventual split. Speaking of splits, it’s a split-screen multiplayer that allows you to play locally or online. The game mechanics and design are witty and eloquent–drawing you into the characters’ stories.

It Takes Two is a good game to play with your partner to see how well you work through obstacles together–in more ways than one. It Takes Two was developed by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts under the EA Originals labels.

Heave Ho!

Steam, Nintendo Switch, & GOG

Heave Ho! is a multiplayer co-op platformer where you and your partner or friends get through tough puzzles using your wobbly and dangly limbs. Grab on to each other’s hands, climb across dangling bodies, and swing your way into safety.

Heave Ho! forces you to work together by throwing the other, climbing over, and using our partner to get to the other side. It’s a quirky simple yet challenging game that have left players screaming desperate for hand grabbing. Heave Ho! was developed by Le Cartel Studio and published by Devolver Digital.

Overcooked! 2

Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, GOG

Overcooked! 2 is a cooperative cooking simulation video game. It’s the sequel to Overcooked! which had the same game mechanics just without the new and improved stages, mechanics, and features. Overcooked! 2 will make it necessary to yell at each other–which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You work together as a team to prep, cook, and serve.

It’s the perfect game to play to break the ice, work together, laugh, and panic. Test your relationship, strengthen it, or break up over a silly game. Overcooked! 2 was developed by Team17 alongside Ghost Town Games and published by Team17.

Valheim

Steam

Do two burly Vikings braving the elements sound like a romantic way to spend the night with your partner? No, of course not, but you’ll get hours of entertainment riding together with your nordic allies. Valheim is an explorative survival game. Build yourself a little home, roam the giant wilderness for resources, and hunt some trolls. If Minecraft doesn’t hit the same way anymore, this will probably fill that gap. But make sure you’re playing together, microphone on, and you’ll get lost in purgatory.

Valheim was developed by Iron Gate AB and developed by Coffee Stain Publishing.

SEE ALSO: 10 video games for players 1 and 2

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