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How flirting online and sexting can damage your relationship

By Faeza
08 June 2017

THE rise of the internet has given rise to many things such as shopping online or watching your favourite shows online. Socially, the internet has also connected us on social media like never before where we can connect, have conversations and share photos. And then there’s another one of the internet’s biggest impacts; online dating and sex.


Also called cybersex or computer sex, online sex can be any sexual act or conversation that takes place online between two or more people. It also involves the use of web cameras and chat rooms. It’s popular around the world and even in South Africa. While working on her book, Cyber Infidelity, couple and sex therapist, Dr Eve, conducted research over

two years on the dating website, Ashley Madison, where married and single people meet for sexual encounters. She found that more than 80 percent of local men and women have had one to five online and offline affairs. Her research also revealed that these affairs

started online and that the people in them don’t think there is anything wrong about having online sexual encounters. On her website,, a reader wanted

to understand her husband’s taste for online sex. Dr Eve responded, “My research into cyber infidelity shows that men don't see porn as cheating and only see offline

actual real life sex with someone as cheating. Cyber flirting, chatting and sexting are seen as recreational fun, an enhancement

to their marriages.”


Online sex leads to its own form of cheating. Dr Eve explains cyber cheating as an

affair between two or more people who are connecting online simultaneously. “These people are usually in relationships in which they follow traditional vows of commitment, sexual fidelity and monogamy, and are keeping these online interactions secret from

their partners. They know that if their partners were to discover these online interactions, they would feel betrayed. These interactions may always remain online or the participants could meet up in real life,” says Dr Eve. While it’s fun and games to the partner getting their sex online, it’s seen as betrayal by the partner who doesn't engage in it. “They not only feel deceived, but betrayed that their partners have shared things with their online

partners that they have never shared with them,” she says.


Among people who have cybersex are those who cross over to the addictive side of it.

According to the consumer mental health website,, online sex becomes addictive because it’s anonymous and provides an escape. “The convenience of cyberporn and adult chat sites is that they provide an immediately available vehicle to easily fall into compulsive patterns of online use,” reads the website. “There are an estimated 70 000

sex-related websites, with 200 new adult websites that include pornography and interactive chat rooms being added daily.”