Masterbation video chatting
The growth in steamy chat room conversations and cybersex also has triggered a rethinking of the meaning of infidelity.
If there is no physical contact or actual sex, is it still an affair?
“But the other partner often feels such an emotional betrayal that they are going through the same feelings as if their partner was having a real affair.” Online affairs can contribute to divorce and child custody fights as the involved partner becomes more enmeshed in the online relationship. Almost two-thirds of the participants in one study reported they had met and had sex with their Internet partners; only 44 percent of them reported using condoms.
Several studies have focused on the “AAA engine” that drives online affairs, namely accessibility, affordability and anonymity.
“The Internet is extremely accessible no matter where you are,” Hertlein says.
The typical affair used to start in the office and move to a seedy motel room, but the vast reach of the Internet has brought infidelity into many couples’ homes over the past decade.“It starts in the home, which is very different than most affairs.It starts right under your roof,” says Elaine Ducharme, Ph D, a psychologist in Glastonbury, Conn., who specializes in cybersex addictions.They can be easy to conceal, as long as the cheating partner deletes the Web browser history and any incriminating e-mails.“It’s really difficult to track what your partner is doing,” Hertlein says.