Due to this difference, such roleplayers typically prefer the term "erotic roleplay" rather than cybersex to describe it.
In "real cybering" personas often remain in character throughout the entire life of the contact, to include evolving into phone sex, and meatspace encounters while in character, as a form of improvisation, or, nearly, a performance art.
In some contexts cybersex is enhanced by the use of a webcam to transmit real-time video of the partners.
One approach to cybering is a simulation of "real" sex, when participants try to make the experience as close to real life as possible, with participants taking turns writing descriptive, sexually explicit passages.
Alternatively, it can be considered a form of sexual roleplay that allows the participants to experience unusual sexual sensations and carry out sexual experiments they cannot try in reality.
There are a number of popular, commercial webcam websites that allow people to openly masturbate on camera while others watch them.
Using similar sites, couples can also perform on camera for the enjoyment of others.
Amongst "serious" roleplayers, cybering may occur as part of a larger plot–the characters involved may be lovers or spouses.
In situations like this, the people typing often consider themselves separate entities from the "people" engaging in the sexual acts, much as the author of a novel often does not completely identify with his or her characters.
The exact definition of cybersex—specifically, whether real-life masturbation must be taking place for the online sex act to count as cybersex—is up for debate.
It is also fairly frequent in online role-playing games, such as MUDs and MMORPGs, though approval of this activity varies greatly from game to game.
Often these personas develop complex past histories for their characters to make the fantasy/roleplay even more life like, thus the evolution of the term "real cybering".