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Generally, online affairs are easier to perform and put the agent in a less vulnerable position, as the chances of getting caught or being hurt in other ways are considerably reduced.
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.
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.
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 some circumstances, cybersex may in fact help a person through a rough period in an offline, loving relationship.
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.
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.
Consider this reaction: Just as casual sex is not necessarily inherently harmful, neither are online affairs.