The girl's horrified father became suspicious, confiscated her smartphone and discovered the '143 pages' worth of sexually-explicit conversations the pair had.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.They develop this intimacy and fantasy relationship.
“The Internet is opening up these new ways of exploring your sexuality and that includes infidelity,” she says.
Americans now spend as much time online as they do watching TV — about 13 hours a week.
“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.
“You could be at home or at work or sitting on the couch with your partner chatting to someone online.” As costs for Internet access have dropped, online affairs are also very affordable.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?While TV viewing has remained fairly constant, time spent surfing the Web has increased more than 120 percent over the last five years.With the burgeoning use of the Internet, many practitioners are seeing more couples because of online affairs and are addressing new issues in therapy, psychologists say.“They will never win.” According to Young, people with low self-esteem, a distorted body image, an untreated sexual dysfunction or a prior sexual addiction are more at risk to develop addictions to cybersex or online pornography.