For example, Cindy's sexual behavior wasn't uncommon, although like many couples we see, the pattern of her marriage didn't make sense at first glance. Private lies: Infidelity and the betrayal of intimacy.

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People who are dependent on their partner's validation and acceptance "go underground" and keep their secret erotic side hidden from their mate. Constructing the Sexual Crucible: An integration of sexual and marital therapy.

But while the prospect of sex and intimacy without anxiety, vulnerability, or risk of rejection or embarrassment appeals to many, Internet affairs rarely develop into satisfying long-term emotionally committed relationships.

Anonymity on the Internet leads to emotional and sexual engagements beyond what people do in face-to-face encounters-even with their spouses.

We find women are as likely to engage in cyber-affairs as men, including many who in daily life had never had an emotional or sexual extramarital liaison.

Internet affairs are the epitome of self-presentation (i.e., presenting yourself the way you want to be seen) and the antithesis of intimacy (self-confrontation and self-disclosure in the presence of a partner (see Schnarch, 1991).

Elsewhere we have written that "...a cyber-relationship may approximate a real relationship-but then so does sex with an inflatable doll. Estimates suggest 20 percent of users engage in online sexual activity, approaching seventy five million people worldwide (Cooper et. A study by found over nine million users visited adult entertainment websites, and twenty three percent of women and fifty percent of men surfed the web for visual erotica (Cooper, et. Given that research studies of extramarital affairs indicate roughly half of all men and a quarter of women report an extramarital affair, (Kinsey et. al, 1953; Glass & Wright, 1997), it's not surprising that the Internet's anonymity, convenience, and ready access to potential partners make it a conduit for the unhappiness pervading many marriages.While, perhaps, the rise of Internet affairs reflects how the technology creates new ambiguity regarding violations of monogamy, it certainly reflects the difficulties people commonly have in defining a "self"-and not violating it.These new forms of sex highlight problems in relationships-and in treating extramarital affairs-that can trigger new growth opportunities for couples and clinicians.Sex is the most frequently searched topic on the Internet (Freeman-Longo and Blanchard, 1998).The greater the eroticism, continuity and scheduling, secrecy and deception, lying by omission, and emotional closeness with the online partner, (i.e., degree of intent and deliberateness), the more likely there is a violation of personal integrity and monogamy, and more likely the spouse will see it as such.