Infidelity while dating

“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.

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“It’s not just that you’re communicating with someone online but that there is a sexual or emotional nature,” says Katherine Hertlein, Ph D, an associate professor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas who studies online affairs.

“With the Internet, we’re moving away from just physical ideas about infidelity and acknowledging emotional infidelity.” While there is no universally accepted definition, an Internet affair frequently involves intimate chat sessions and sexually stimulating conversation or cybersex, which may include filming mutual masturbation with a Web camera.

“I think there is this bias that women don’t cheat for sexual reasons at all,” Hertlein says.

“Women are supposed to be the nurturers and the matriarchs in our society.” Due to the secretive nature of online affairs, reliable statistics are hard to find, but a 2005 study of 1,828 Web users in Sweden offers evidence about the prevalence of cybersex and online affairs. A 2008 Australian study offers more insight into Internet affairs. More than half of the respondents believed an online relationship constituted unfaithfulness, with the numbers climbing to 71 percent for cybersex and 82 percent for in-person meetings.

Greens and voters not registered to any party used the site more than Democrats, whereas Republicans used it more still, but less than Libertarians.

The findings by Kodi Arfer of the University of California Los Angeles and Jason Jones of Stony Brook University, both in the US, are presented in Springer’s journal .Libertarians were most likely to use the site, and Democrats least likely. Republicans, Greens, and unaffiliated voters fell in between.“The general pattern seems to be that members of more conservative or more right-wing parties used Ashley Madison more often,” explains Arfer. “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.“That is starting to even out in part because of the equality of opportunity that the Internet brings to everybody,” she says.

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