When Sex Chat Hosts become Men’s Therapists.

What’s the link between Sex and Mental Health?  Simple. Society Shames both.

In the 8 years or so that I have run the Arousr platform, I have regularly seen men end up on adult chat services when they would have been better served calling a therapist. As can be heard in interviews with members and chat hosts on the Arousr Podcast.  Sex is a pretext to engage in a conversation, but the conversation itself moves away from the sex part, and sometimes does not involve sex topics at all.  

‘Men come for the Sex, they stay for the connection.
What’s behind this?’

It’s pretty well documented that compared to women, men are less likely to seek help for mental health difficulties.  Men are not acculturated to talk about their feelings. Most are raised on adages such as “big boys don’t cry,” or “man up.” They are encouraged to be stoic and to “tough it out,”  In general, Men Get Penalized for Straying from Masculine Norms.

So, where do men go when they need to escape from these social expectations?  They go somewhere where they can stay anonymous and feel comfortable being vulnerable with someone.

Why are men ending up opening themselves to chat hosts, whom are not professionally qualified to provide such services?  Here are a few reasons I can think of:

1. Sex is an acceptable way for men to engage.

For a man’s ego, flirting through text messages is a much more natural way to start opening up than calling a professional, therefore admitting to himself  he ‘needs help’.  ‘Real men’ don’t ask for help.  But they allow themselves to flirt.

2. Anonymous Texting feels safer than calling a therapist.

Starting a conversation with anonymous text messages is much less frightening to men than trying to find a therapist and repeatedly calling in hopes to get an appointment in a few weeks.  

On Arousr, they can find someone to connect to 24/7. There’s no need to identify themselves.  They can exchange a few messages and see if the other person is a right fit.  If they don’t feel a connection, they simply switch to someone else.  In real life, you can’t ‘shop’ a therapist.  You’re lucky to find one and will need to figure out if there’s a ‘fit’ after your first meeting (and after you forked over $200) for the initial consultation alone.

3. ‘Alpha Men’ need a place to be vulnerable

In fact, especially them. What we see is probably a way to balance their ‘real life’ alpha male with its opposite.  The more a man plays the ‘alpha’ role, the more he plays his ‘beta’ side in private.  The more he’s ‘in control’ of everything in his personal life, the more he needs to let go of this control in private.

That’s why we have so many members who fantasize about being dominated. We can witness this with numerous examples such as men confiding they want to dress as women or be dominated, leaving all power to the chat host.

Want examples? We have too many to list here but here are a few.  Policemen wanting to be ‘sissified’ (Instructed to dress as women).  Politicians, priests, successful businessmen, rugged construction workers who call the shots around them and drive F-250’s.  We’ve seen all these types come and go over the years.  So many men spend their whole life trying to ‘prove’ they are ‘real men’, which impacts the people around them and society at large.  Toxic Masculinity, in short.

At the end of the day, everyone needs to be vulnerable with someone else.  Since men have to keep their manly mask around them, they turn to us so they can drop it for a brief moment.  They get empathy, validation and someone to connect with.

Is this our mission as a company you may be asking? Well, it was not the plan at first, of course.  People use technology and innovations in ways that were not planned by its creators originally.  This is an organic direction the connections made on our platform have taken.  What matters now is what we do with this information and how we grow past this point.

Is there a lesson to be taken for the Mental Health System? I certainly do think so.

If the Mental Health community really wants to help Society in an efficient way, it will need to adapt to men’s mindset.  Toxic Masculinity affects women.  Help men, you will help Society. How about meeting men where they are instead of trying to coerce them to use a system that was not built around them?

If this idea has to come from the Adult Industry, then so be it.  Zoom conferences used by psychologists may not exist today if it wasn’t from the Adult Industry innovations in the 1990’s. There are some highly qualified people who understand this.  Others won’t and that’s expected.  Sexual shame affects people, no matter their education level or field of expertise, and that includes Mental Health Professionals.

Let’s grow up.

Isn’t now the time to grow up, become adults and fight the real enemy, which is shame?  I certainly believe so.  

I also believe our technology can be used for the greater good, simply by connecting users to qualified professionals in place of untrained chat hosts.  How will this happen? As an entrepreneur, I have a few ideas of course.  But Mental Health is not my field of expertise so any project would need to involve professionals.

One thing for sure is, we have built a platform that people naturally use to share their deepest secrets.  We keep them safe from Society’s unrealistic expectations by protecting their identities and letting them be anonymous.. This is our expertise.  

If someone in the Mental Health Field is reading this, and gets the idea, let’s have a discussion. 


Harvard Business Review – How Men Get Penalized for Straying from Masculine NormsBy David M. Mayer

Globe and Mail – Why guys are reluctant to lie on the therapist’s couch – by Erin Anderssen