Taking the advantage of accessibility of the bandwidth, affordability of technology and anonymity, modern day netizens are exploring newer ways of experimenting with their sexuality. Many men and women happen to start relationships online. In this process they usually experiment and discover newer facets of their personality.
It’s in this virtual world that net-junkies find freedom from social inhibitions and restrictions, which are usually akin to the real world of love, dating and relationships. And today, there’s no dearth of ways and means to enjoy this unlimited freedom. From social networking sites, matrimonial sites and paid dating sites, unlimited options are available at the mere click of a button. And it seems modern lovers are exploiting these online avenues to the fullest, not just for plain dating but for romance and sex none the less.
“I have a partner, but he lives in a different city because of work. It had been a few years and was getting too much to handle. So, initially I registered onto a few social networking sites looking for long lost friends but I found a few of my old crushes as well. We started chatting and ended up playing with our webcams in a matter of a week,” admits Sushma Naidu (name changed) 26, a hospitality professional.
Exploring their innermost desires, it’s not uncommon to find men and women increasingly finding newer ways of involving themselves in love affairs online. Within no time, they graduate from being chat friends to chat-lovers. And soon starts the game of online love, which extends far beyond exchanging e-cards, expressing love via emoticons or getting the visual delight on web cams. Most online lovers don’t shy away from indulging in ‘cyber-sex’ within minutes of making an online acquaintance. And it may not be surprising to discover that many such online-lovers attract sexual attention not just from one, but from an unlimited number of individuals.
Urban loneliness being on an all time high, is one of the main reasons why people resort to the net. Plus, a lot of couples go through a phase of sexual boredom after certain years of togetherness. They log onto the net, thinking that virtual love and sex are potentially non risky, but here is where they err. Since, both romance and sexuality are available within the comfort and privacy of our homes and offices, marital infidelity and infidelity in general is naturally increasingly as common byproducts of such liaisons. And thanks to the technological privacy on offer, they conveniently enable an individual to lead a dual-life characterised by their online and offline identities. Also, it is much easier for an online-lover to manage his/her virtual and existing offline relationships.
“I get a high knowing the fact that my identity is not revealed over the net and I get to explore my wildest fantasies. I am an introvert so this is my refuge. I feel confident to express things online that I can’t do offline to my real boyfriend,” says Loretta James (name changed)a banker from Shillong .The factor of anonymity plays a very big role; it nourishes the needs for unexpressed desires, emotions, and needs.
Online-infidelity begins from indulging in romantic and sexual acts on the net and gradually progresses into an online-affair. And then steps in the emotional investment of time and energy into an individual or many individuals. “I am very conscious of my body, but online I pose as a sexy 21-year-old with sexy physical attributes and indulge in online sex with a number of my virtual lovers. My husband is on tour most of the month and that’s when I log on as “Sugar Maiden” and get virtual stimulation. I have opened a secret account where I get pictures of men and intimate letters. It’s a great high talking dirty and merely typing out my desires makes me climax. I even indulge in naughty phone conversations. The attraction of not seeing someone is desirable and kinky and fills a sexual void in my otherwise mundane marital life,” claims 37-year-old Sugar Maiden (pseudo name).
Not just emotional and social barriers but, Internet infidelity has overcome geographical parameters too. Many online lovers cover that distance for a secret meeting and take the relationship one step further sans their spouses’ knowledge. “Such relationships are very risky as they have no strings attached. It lasts only if either side’s physical needs are fulfilled. I have met many girls online and then traveled to meet them offline, but they soon drift away because of new attractions in their real life,” says Reno Jacobs (name changed), 32, a BPO executive, Bangalore.
For many individuals, who are committed or married, having an affair online can create a major threat to their real-life relationships. Online-infidelity has already led to family complications, couples splitting and divorces according to many media reports. Many online affairs are wrecking relationships and marriages. What starts innocently with chatting and E-mails soon graduates to an exchange of photographs, calls and finally meetings. And very soon it becomes a full-blown affair.
“I met my lover on a social networking site as part of a beer lover’s community and soon we started chatting for hours. I loved talking to her, one thing led to another and after a couple of messages and calls, I flew to Mumbai lying to my fiancé that I had a meeting there to meet her. We ended up having wild sex at a hotel, and thereafter continued meeting in secret and engaging in physical intimacy. My fiancé was in the dark for a year before she found some explicit mails that I had forgotten to delete. She was shattered and we broke off. My affair continued for another six months, but it was just lust. Emotionally there was nothing. I have made a mistake and wouldn’t recommend online love to anyone,” confesses Rakesh Misra, a banker from Hyderabad.
“I discovered my wife’s Internet lover when one day I casually used her chat id. I was shocked and scandalised that she had been having online sex in a chat room with 50 plus men. When I confronted her, she confirmed that she was physically unfulfilled as I was not able to give into her wild fantasies. Since the talk, we are going for counseling and it’s much better between us now,” confesses 32-year-old businessman Chirag Sahai (name changed)from Delhi.
Dr Gitanjali Sharma, relationship expert suggests, “Before you accuse your partner of online infidelity, monitor everything that your partner does on their PC with number of software’s available on the net. Get a complete record of their chat sessions, mails and passwords to their mail accounts every day. Its sort of an addiction and one can start rectifying it at home.”
If you are a recovering virtual sex addict, these self help ideas would come in handy:-
1. Acknowledge and admit that virtual infidelityis damaging your relationship.
2. If you are looking for attention or sexual excitement that you lack in your relationship then talk to your partner or spouse and work it out.
3. Communicate your sexual needs.
4. Spend time with your beau doing things together and restrict Internet usage to business or personal mails to friends.
5. Do not get into chat rooms of any kind, and if you were using certain mail ID previously used then change it, so that you are not tempted by any further messages from potential online flings.
6. Avoid getting online when you’re on your own. Do it in the presence of your partner until you can trust yourself again.