Cybersex: Will It Make Monogamy Obsolete

3“He never touched another woman, and claims to be happily married – yet for years he’s been conducting virtual affairs through Facebook, Twitter and texting.” In a brave new world of online porn and instant Internet connectivity, millions of men and, yes, women are exploring the “countless new avenues” for extramarital adventures. Like it or not, “technology has forever changed the landscape of intimacy and fidelity,” and is now forcing us to reassess our traditional concepts of monogamy. Does “sexting” count as adultery? Or are these virtual dalliances with strangers we’ll never meet just a harmless form of online entertainment?
These are questions we’re just now beginning to consider. For the first time in human history, the Internet enables people to create an alternative sexual reality where they can exist as “a body without a head (or mind), a pair of strained underpants,” or even as an avatar with a whole new identity.
In the past, infidelity was fraught with the possibility of destructive consequences, including sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Not so if you “cheat” through an online sex chat or a pornographic webcam. Recent surveys have identified that these activities are popular especially among people under 35, because they allow otherwise monogamous individuals to let off some steam. Researchers say cybersex is just one of many ways modern couples are seeking a little extra on the side.
The Internet creates an illusion of anonymity among its users, making them think of online affairs as a “kind of a game disconnected from reality.” But what a strange reality it is. As reported in the New York Times, cybersex isn’t about relationships at all, or even sex. It’s about narcissism – in its most “desperate and adolescent” form. You don’t tweet photos of your penis or artsy shots of your gym-sculpted pecs because you’re fascinated with the woman on the other end. You send them because you’re fascinated with…yourself! Narcissism, of course, existed long before Facebook and Twitter, but social media serve “as a hall of mirrors in which it flourishes as never before.” In this obsessive new realm, the real thrill comes not from talking dirty but from the chance to say, over and over: “Look at me! Look at meeee!”

South Shore Counseling & Mediation Center is a full service mental health agency, offering CBT counseling, EFT modalities – (tapping), therapeutic counseling, a variety of behavioral and psycho-educational programs and divorce mediation. To speak with one of our therapists please call 631-286-8282, e-mail us at SSCounseling1@optonline.net or visit our website, Southshorecounselingcenter.net.

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