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"When one person in a marriage is going to the Internet to get sex, it erodes the intimacy in the marriage," says Berman.Does it also erode a person's sense of faithfulness?
" For some, engaging in high-tech-relationship treason is just as unforgivable as the real thing. "Whether any orgasm-seeking behavior outside the relationship constitutes cheating is up to a couple," says Weston.
"But for people who are doing it regularly or are substituting their intimate relationships for online sex, we're talking about people who have intimacy issues." By consistently choosing a computer over the real deal -- whether it's for sex or for human interaction in general -- one can sense the problems that might arise.
"When you are using a long-distance method to achieve sexual intimacy with a stranger who you never get to know, you are not achieving true intimacy," says Berman.
"People communicate their sexual desires quite freely via virtual sex, which might not be the case in real- time sexual connections.
Many virtual connections are just precursors for the real thing and as such, this initial openness might lead to increased openness when the sexual deed occurs -- this is a good thing." It's easy to access, you can do it in the privacy of your own home, it's free (or at least cheap), and you can do it as often as you want -- morning, noon, and night. "A lot of people are engaging in Internet sex," says Jenn Berman, Ph D, a psychologist in private practice in Los Angeles who specializes in family and marriage counseling.
As convenient as the drive-up window at your favorite fast-food restaurant, online sex requires little effort short of booting up and logging on.
With its easy access comes an increasing number of people who are banging away at their computers for some electronic satisfaction.
A survey of Canadian college students found that 87% of more than 2,500 respondents 'fessed up to technology-assisted sex via tools like instant message, webcams, and text message.
But what does the online sexual revolution have to say about the future of intimacy, relationships, communication, and honesty?
"And if you are using that on a regular basis, it's preventing you from getting sexual and emotional intimacy in your life.
Anytime you prefer to have online sex to actual human company -- a friend calls you up and asks you to dinner and you choose not to go because you'd rather engage in online sex -- that's when you're headed for trouble." And then, of course, comes the question that's as old as the Internet -- is online sex cheating?
"With every new advent in technology, virtual sex evolves.