Online sexual activity can involve various activities, such as viewing explicitly sexual materials, participating in an exchange of ideas about sex, exchanging sexual messages, and online interactions with at least one other person with the intention of becoming sexually aroused.
In his stimulating paper, "Chatting Is Not Cheating," John Portmann defends online lust and characterizes about sex; he maintains that such talking is more similar to flirting than to having a sexual affair.
In reality, though, the issue of online cheating is more complex—especially when it concerns sexual activities involving actual interaction with other individuals.
People, consciously or not, consider their online sexual relationships as real—they experience psychological states similar to those typically elicited by offline relationships.
Many of them believe cybersex to be similar to pornography—an extension of fantasy that actually helps to keep them from physical affairs with other people.
Consider the following statement from a 41-year-old married man (all citations are from to cheat—something that may even add spice to their offline relationship.
Whereas people having online affairs tend to understate their problematic nature, their offline partners typically do not see difference between online and offline affairs: A lack of direct physical contact and face-to-face meetings does not diminish the sense of a violation of their vow of exclusivity.
In other words, a way to play out fantasies in a safe environment.In such situations, cybersex may even be advisable—but still regarded as cheating.As a 29-year-old married woman who often engages in cybersex, says: When people feel trapped by their current circumstances, but still do not want to ruin their relationship, cyberspace may offer a parallel world in which things are better.Accordingly, cybersex is about sex, but a form of sexual encounter involves experiences typical of other encounters, such as sexual arousal, masturbation, orgasm, and satisfaction.Indeed, people consider cybersex to have a high degree of psychological reality—but many do not consider it to be consider it to be infidelity.