Melbourne, Sep 24 (ANI): A new Australian study has shown that infidelity is rampant in the world of cybersex, with more than half of those who engage in it being married or in a serious relationship.
The study, conducted by the Swinburne University of Technology, followed 1325 Internet users.
Marcus Squirrell, a psychologist and doctoral candidate, surveyed male and female Internet users who regularly visited online sex, fetish and swinging sites to engage in online sexual activities.
The survey, which found 55 percent of respondents were either married or classified themselves as in a committed relationship, showed cybersex behaviours ranged from downloading erotic images and chatting online to using webcams to interact with others.
Squirrell also found that 65 percent of respondents had met someone offline face-to-face after engaging in some form of sexual online activity with them.
He said that chat rooms could provide a safe environment for exploring sexuality, and might increase a sense of connection to the community.
In particular, he found that chat rooms could provide a forum for people identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual as a stepping-stone to "coming out".
But for others, cybersex could become obsessive and compulsive.
"These people are putting so much energy into cybersex - in some cases up to 10 hours per day - that it is detracting from their relationship with their partner," News.com.au quoted him as saying.
"It can also adversely affect other areas of their lives, such as their education and employment," he added.
A profile of the average cybersex participant emerged as mostly male, well educated and with an average age of 41 years, and it found women had a strong preference for interactive-type chat sites, while men preferred to look at sexual images.
The survey showed almost 40 per cent of respondents had stumbled across illegal online sites. (ANI)