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—Yves Montand 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.They are also perceived to involve a lesser degree of betrayal, as they involve more imaginary elements and the degree of neglecting the partner's interests may be lesser.The private nature of online affairs may make them less painful for the betrayed partner as well.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.
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.
One way of reducing the weight of these difficulties is to distance the online affair from offline circumstances—for example, by refraining from exchanging actual personal details or by imposing other limitations on the online affair.
Thus, people may agree not to develop a relationship, permitting themselves only virtual one-night stands, or an uncommitted affair, or a promise with a partner to tell each other about each online affair.
Moreover, when online affairs are revealed to the significant other, which is done more often than when offline circumstances are involved, it could be considered as something less than cheating.
Nevertheless, since online affairs are real, they do often cause actual harm to one's primary, offline romantic relationship.