Increasing use of internet has numerous reflections on relationships. Within the range of chatroom friendship and flirting to shared sexuality, cybersex addiction and criminal behaviours are among the most intriguing. Searching for sexual satisfaction on internet may have a number of functions such as decreasing anxiety and distress; expressing emotions such as loneliness, depression, anger and disappointment; or providing support to not being able to judge the level of intimacy in a realtionship. The incredible ease with which one obtains sexual content on the internet, at home, at the work place or even through mobile phones is one of the most important reason for its widespread prevalence. Another important allure of the cybersex is its anonimity, the relative ease to disguise normally disturbing characteristics and its being mostly ignored by others. It is also low-cost. On the other hand it causes increased social isolation, damages trust in relationships, and causes the individual to seek for help due to dramatic consequences following a period of virtual mirroring, when the feeling of finding a soulmate causes mutual adoration and idealization. This review examines the definition of infidelity in the context of internet use, its characteristics, types and various aspects; its negative consequences on relationships; its effects on couples and families; and treatment alternatives. The problems caused by increasing compulsivity of cybersex are also highlighted.
cybersex, internet, infidelity, internet sex addiction