While men traditionally have been the more unfaithful sex, gender roles are reversing in some cases as more women experience cybersex.
“I think there is this bias that women don’t cheat for sexual reasons at all,” 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.
After an Internet affair, couples often need to move the home computer to a public space, such as the living room, and install tracking or blocking software, Ducharme says.
But to build lasting trust, couples must dig deeper in therapy.
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.
I didn’t go out and see anybody or catch any diseases,’” she says. 4) by Hertlein and a colleague reviewed eight studies of Internet affairs and documented many negative effects from online romances, including less interest in sex in the committed relationship and neglect of work and time with children.
“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.People often feel more comfortable revealing intimate details of their lives to relative strangers because the relationship exists only in cyberspace, Ducharme says. “Some people really begin to think the other person is in love with them.They develop this intimacy and fantasy relationship.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.“It starts in the home, which is very different than most affairs.Young sees more women who are online cheaters, in part, she says, because women gravitate toward erotic chats and webcam sessions while men often are drawn to pornography.