The art of arousing with words is nothing new. Whether it be seducing noble ladies through the art of courtly love, talking dirty while in bed with your lover, or 1-900 phone sex, people have been getting off on words for ages, probably even as far back as the birth of language itself.

And it’s not only voice-based. Literature, as in dirty stories on porn sites, tantalizing scenes in romance novels, or straight erotica fiction, can be just as arousing as the nasty nothings that get whispered in your ear. Reading something to get turned on has become more and more popular (see all the money that the romance novel market makes) and in the last decade or so this has moved from the inactive to the interactive. People no longer have to just read these text-based fantasies; they can participate in them, too.

Cybersex, text sex, online sex … it’s all more or less the same thing. Two people meet up anonymously online, chat, and turn each other on for the price of a monthly internet account. While many are a little shy because of the stigma attached to “cybering,” many others are finding it can be a positive release for pent-up sexual energy or help them rediscover their sexual selves.

Most people who have spent enough time online in chatrooms have probably at least toyed with the idea of cybersex. Most get turned off by the idea because it seems silly or ridiculous to get off on just words on a screen.

While it may seem simple to cyber – you just type in what you think is going on, right? – to make the experience more enjoyable for yourself and (if you care) your partner, there is a fine art to cybersex. Call it the Zen of Cybering.

First, try and ensure that you’ll have some alone time to yourself. It can be a little embarrassing to have your roommate or coworker walk in on you with your hands on your pants, and you’ll be less likely to be tense about the experience. Lock doors if you feel you have to … whatever you need to make you more comfortable.

Find someone online you can be comfortable with. You may have known them for five months or five minutes, it doesn’t matter. This is the beauty of cybersex: You can have the “one-night stand” without the stigma or consequences that come with it the next morning.

Let this be a time to indulge in your fetishes or fantasies. Online, you can be or do almost whatever you like; just make sure that your partner is comfortable with that, too.

Be descriptive. One of the things most complained about is the “one-liner” – the person who just says what is done, without the elaboration that makes this sort of thing fun. Remember, this is recreation, not a chem class assignment. Use your imagination, a few adjectives, and have fun.

Don’t let the other person talk you into something you’re not comfortable with. If you don’t like where the story is going, say so.

Pay attention to what the other person is saying. It’s annoying to think you’re not even in yet when the other person is suddenly screaming in orgasm.

Learn to type fast. If you take 15 minutes to reply to an especially long passage, the other person will think you’ve fallen asleep, or fall asleep him/herself.

Good spelling is a plus.

Knowing how to type one-handed can be a plus, too.

And remember – don’t take this too seriously. Cybersex shouldn’t be something that you’re skipping class or missing sleep for (as it is for some people). Use it to help you relax, to help you sleep, or to reward yourself for a job well done. It’s like real sex, without having to be kept up all night with someone who snores.

Daily Nexus opinion editor Sarah Kent is waiting to be your lover online. For a good time, or just to send your sex ideas and questions, e-mail her at .