CYBER-AFFAIRS SURVEY: EARLY SURVEY ANSWERS
"Electronic sexual affairs may provide occasions for relationship
outside the framework of conventional norms. It is true that it may
allow crude behaviour, but also more genuine behaviour. The possibility
of sex outside usual norms seems a kind of new frontier which awakes
the spirit of pioneers." -- (anonymous reader)
readers have had a lot to say in response to the Cybersexual Affair
survey. People are continuing to reply to the survey and results will
be shared soon, but for now we thought you might be interested in what
people are saying. All comments and survey results are anonymous to
protect the confidentiality of the writers, but will be posted online
as we see matches our needs. If you write, it will be assumed that you
are giving full permission for your responses, but not your identity
to be shared with the readership of SelfhelpMagazine in future articles.
Thank you to those of you who sent your thoughts so that we can all
take a look at this new phenomenon. Here are just a portion of the comments;
stay tuned for the survey results!
At the end of the survey, we
asked "is there anything else you would like to say about electronic
AND READERS ANSWERED...
Errr...yes. I have found that I can explore my sexual
fantasies on the internet. It is very interesting to read what other people
have to say about a subject (fantasy) that is close to the heart. I find it
also super that there is no face to face contact, and therefore no
embarassment. I am a shy person, and have not had a sexual partner for a while
This is a serious threat to marriages, it has affected
mine tremendously. I had no idea of what I was getting into and had no idea of
the damage, esp since I never even had a desire to look at another person
during my marriage of 18 years. Its addictive, I neglected my family. My
husband wants to hear nothing about the good of internet, all is bad to him,
its affected his sleep, but I have stopped 'chatting' matter of fact you are
the first email I have done since Nov 95, and it is without my husband's
consent or knowledge I write, it's just so important to get out the word of the
damage that can be done. I would like to see your finished article and more on
this subject of emotional adultry, as i have heard it called.
I would certainly be interested in knowing more about
how such a thing is done and what if any satisfaction (other than
gratification) can come from this.
I think there may eventually be a realization that some
of the very lonely people out there will find this as another source of
There might be a dangerous temptation to treat cybersex
as a game - as if you were interacting with a piece of artificial intelligence
software. In some cases maybe that *would* be the situation. When the
realization comes that one is engaged in something not dissimilar to phone sex,
then maybe this "reality check" could result in sudden feelings of
guilt. Society has no pre-established mores about cybersex. These are early
days, and a close eye should be kept on any emerging patterns and psychological
problems associated with cybersex.
Cybersex may fuel the imagination, and could perhaps
enhance real sex, much in the way a Forum type magazine might. If a
relationship were strong in the first place, a partner would not stray into
those places on the internet where cybersex is found.
CYBERSEX IS NOT A THREAT TO A SOLID RELATIONSHIP...IF A
CYBERAFFAIR IS ENGAGED IN, THE RELATIONSHIP IS WEAK AT SOME CRITICAL POINT
I had a monogamous married relationship for almost 25 years when I subscribed
to a computer service provider and discovered the Gay and Lesbian Community
Forum and also the various gay and lesbian chat rooms. One thing led
to another, exchanging male homoerotic gifs, meeting, having sex with
other men at a local motel. So far, I have not fallen in love with any
man. I am, however, worried that my wife will find out and that our
marriage will be jeopardized.
IMHO, those seeking such contact would do well to
address the issue of what exactly it is they are trying to accomplish. It would
seem that if they are already in a relationship, they should address what it is
that they're not getting out of the relationship that compels them to this form
of "entertainment." Not doing so is avoiding that "oh-so-scary"
confrontation, hence not solving anything. If such activity is to find a
relationship, I would guess that the individual is rather timid and lacking in
confidence because they are opting for the distance and safety of cyberspace as
opposed to "the real thing," up close, and personal. Again, my
opinion, I think such games are somewhat dangerous because both the real
rewards and the real consequences of a behavior are avoided. A false sense of
security, as it were. To truly learn, grow, and "live" isn't it
required that some part of our "real" self be involved? I hate to
think that we've become such pansies as a species that all of the activities
that should make us delight in being alive (adventure, human contact, sex,
etc.) are being sought in the emotional void of cyberspace in place of
venturing out into the much more threatening, if more rewarding space of the
Well, I think a lot has to do with both person's
understanding of why they are having electronic sexual affairs. Is it merely a
form of pleasure, similar to looking at magazines or movies? Or is it an
implied suggestion of doing the real thing later on. For some it's a way to be
with "partners" when they are too shy or otherwise unable to...or it
can be, especially for males, a boasting point about how many "cybersex"
experiences they've had. In my opinion, just like making love in "real
life," if it's completely meaningless and done merely for the sake of one
of the person's enjoyment only, I'd assume it'd be somewhat boring. But if
both people want to do it and there's some "net chemistry"
there....it could be magical too.
I met a man on the net, we had cyber cuddling, phone
sex, eventually met and married. He is one of the warmest people I have ever
met. He has completely fullfilled me. I no longer have cyber affairs. I do
have friends with whom I once had cybersex, but if they couldn't make the
switch to platonic friendship, I let them go. I often see Ann Landers or Dear
Abby writing about cyber affairs and how dangerous they are. I think that it
wouldn't have been such a big deal if my emotional needs were being met with my
(then) spouse. The lonely and the busy....90% of all computer addicts
I feel that cyberspace relations can be very detrimental
to relationships. When you have a cyberspace relationship you never see the
bad things that occur in material relationships. It is too easy to compare
your cyperspace person who seems perfect to an imperfect relationship that you
would have face to face. IE you never can really tell if a cyperspace person
has a bad temper or is annoying. All you see is type and not the personal
emotions attached. I feel it may make a person compare relationships even when
they are not even close to being comparable.
My relationship was already in trouble when I found
myself spiraling into a series of net affairs, but sexual and purely emotional.
I was able to get emotional fufillment from the people that I met online. I
think that if it had been for just a short amount of time, I would have gotten
tired of the shallowness of it. As it was, I was drawn to the intimacy that
these men were expressing that my (then) husband wouldn't/couldn't. I think
that in the beginning I saw my net relationships as hope-inspiring. Later,
they became a symbol that there were people in the rest of the world that were
not as rejecting as my husband (and my family which had taught me to be happy
with a cold, rejecting relationship). That these people could be entranced by
my words and my thought made my ego grow strong. I was finding myself loveable
At first my affairs were fairly innocent, even the sexual ones, but
when I started finding myself really desiring to meet these people and have
actual physical affairs, I knew that what I really was wanting was physical
validation of desireablity.
During my separation and into my divorce, I found cyber and phone sex
to be relatively satisfying.
I had a non-cyber relationship for a year, but found the demands on my
time to be excessive and the payback too small. I work in the type of job that
sucks a hundred percent out of you.
Electronic sexual affairs can take on different forms.
The two individuals can 'dare' one another to do things, they can write fantasy
stories together with varying levels of eroticism, etc. By the elecronic
connection, one is protected from physical/health harm and from some kinds of
emotional risks -- rejection based on appearance (when photos aren't exchanged,
or even if they are!), inability or unwillingness to "perform," etc.
It is easier to say "no" but once an affair gets going one does
sometimes feel an obligation to "play along" for awhile. Because the
relationship is based only on what is typed on a screen, in some ways it
requires even more trust than a standard sexual affair because you are opening
up a part of yourself -- private fantasies that may be difficult to communicate
to a partner in-person.
I believe that they are safer, especially because of the
deadliness of sexually transmitted diseases, you are not endangering your
partner with your extracurricular activities. I think that it is a healthier
form of sexual expression and it allows people to try things that they normally
wouldn't (i.e. homosexual sex, B & D, etc.).
I would like to find a woman young, old, any race who would correspond
with me via email to discuss sexual fantasies and the erotic situtations
now missing from my life. This would provide me (a man in my early 50's)
with a safe way to fantasize and remember the things I most enjoyed
with real sex without having to physically "cheat" on my wife
who has not had sex with me in over 3 years. She keeps saying "We're
too old for that," while I still have sexual desires and needs.
But since I am uncomfortable with the idea of looking for another woman
to satisfy my needs physically, I can at least fantasize and self satisfy
my sexual needs.
Obviously this is not the most satisfying approach...but
at least it is safe in today's world. I guess I'm unusual as a man,
since everyone seems to think that men's sexual desires and capabilities
diminish with age...mine haven't. I'm healthy & sexually potent,
but at least I can still enjoy fantasies.
A friend's wife had an
excellent attitude...she always said; "When a woman stops looking
at or fantasizing about men, she might as well be dead, but when a man
stops looking at or fantasizing about women, HE IS DEAD!" As far
as I know she has always remained monogamous, but you could always see
the twinkle in her eye as she looked at her man or someone else attractive
So, I guess I have to say in summary that Cybersex is good
for some people, male or female, who need to enjoy their fantasies without
damaging their relationships with others. Good, Clean, Safe Sex.
There are always risks in relationships be they physical, email or otherwise.
The risks in email are not the usual ones in every instance. There is
no HIV or STDs or rape or similar. The other risks still apply. Except
in unusual sets of circumstances, email relationships are viewed by
a married partner the same as a "real" physical relationship.
It's still considered cheating.
However, email cheating
is easier to accomplish, less likely to be discovered and for the most
part, much cheaper to accomplish. The downside is that email or chats
or IRC "cybersex" is never really, *really* satisfying even
in the short-term sense. On an intellectual level or on a in-the-gutter
level, cybersex can be easy or hard, fast or slow, long-term or short-term..
but it can never be real. There's no touching to convey love... no kissing
to convey emotion... no hugging to show one really cares. Cybersex can
lead to real sex between the participants but more likely the the reality
is that cybersex gets people steamed up enough to make real sex with
real life partners more enjoyable... even if not ordinarily so. In my
opinion, the REAL risk in email relationships is forgetting that the
relationship is virtual. The real risk is to mental health and well-being...
substituting virtual for reality.
Some of us use email to gain intellectual
intimacy with others on different levels entirely and the sexual parts
of a relationship may, or may not surface at all. I personally look
to email relationships for discussions of various subjects on an equal
level with mine that my real-life partner is incapable of; in intellect
or interest. That is not to say that sexual innuendo or teasing or even
discussions or stories or poetry hasn't happened more than once. ;+)
I believe that anything people do to please another (sexually) is good.
I have had 3 Email relationships, and I truly enjoyed my experiences.
I find nothing wrong with it as long as there is some integrity involved.
As in, not doing it behind a trusting partner's back. I think cybersex
is a legitimate form of sexual release for people who may otherwise
not be able to. It is discreet and safe.
Iwould like to have the experience of a electronic cyber-sexual affair.
I have come to realize that I enjoy the medium and am good at expressing
my thoughts, feelings, and desires and I truly enjoy sharing myself
others by words or in person. Any relationship seeks to be consummated
in or by one form or another. Cybersex leaves the fantasy intact, but
it is hard to fully complete the circle and never quite satiates one's
soul. But that's life sometimes... One last thought: How to measure
your life is to ask yourself "What have you learned and Whom have
A cybersexual affair was a real wake-up call in my life. I had been
married for 20 years, happily I thought, but was lonely in my life.
I made friends on the net and rapidly found the sexual undercurrent
to be intriguing. And it felt safe enough at first, but within a year
I was having some of the most exciting sex I'd ever experienced. It
really is true what they say about the mind being the most powerful
sex organ. My husband said he didn't mind as long as it stayed on the
net, but he had no idea (neither did I in the beginning) that it was
any different than reading a playboy/girl. I had only two e-sex partners
and one was just like having bad sex in real life: self-centered on
his part and not very exciting and I found myself faking an orgasm over
the computer and thought I had totally lost my mind. My other partner,
though, met my deepest fantasies in spades and it progressed to phone
sex, although we never met.
So what do I think of cybersexual affairs?
I know it's real sex. Just like you can have physical sex with an absent
partner (mentally) you can have mental sex with an absent physical partner.
And I have no doubts about which is sexier. Are they dangerous? Yes.
They are real emotional affairs, although it took me risking my marriage
to realize this was no game I was in. This could hurt people. So I stopped
my two year on-line relationship with my e-lover and it felt like someone
died but I couldn't even show my pain to my family or friends because
it was so secret. The secret stuff is the destroyer of partnerships
- you split into another life when you hide a part of your life from
your partner. I learned I am capable of loving more than one person,
but that I can't live that way. I also learned that there were things
in my marriage that I needed badly and didn't know it till I experienced
them elsewhere. All of this was learning and it helped my marriage in
the long run.
Sexual affairs are sexual affairs are sexual affairs.
We can learn from them (heck, I'd never had any partner except my husband
in my life before this!) and we can be hurt by them. I guess it's safer
than having a physical affair in some ways. I can still say I've only
slept with one man. But I have certainly been made love to by others.
Is it bad? Heck no. I would have maybe had a physical affair without
it. Is it good? It's another chance to learn about oneself in relationships
with others. But a deceptive one because it is not as safe as it appears.
Cybersex is a major threat to the primary relationship. It can serve
only to weaken the real relationship. I am writing a book on the subject
and am in the research stage now. My primary goal in writing this book
is to blow the entire subject out of the closet and onto every TV screen
and talk show in the country. Think I've had some experience with this?
Yes you are right. Right now my "wife" is getting ready to
go to a "party." I'm going with her. There will be several
of her cybersex partners there and I am not supposed to know. All I
am supposed to know is that they are new friends she has met through
the net. Well I was involved with the net before it was fashionable
to have an email address so I know. Anyway there is my comment, negative
as it may seem.
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