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Much of the Internet's appeal to married people is the anonymity it guarantees, coupled with the no-touching aspect, which they view as a license to be sexual, Mileham said.
One can reveal the most intimate emotional and sexual details to an unseen stranger at any time of the day or night, she said.
"I felt like I've known her in another life." Mileham believes the time has come for the Internet to become as essential a part of pre-marital discussions as is whether or not to have children.
"To prevent future problems, young couples, as well as long-term committed couples, need to talk about what role the Internet will play in their relationship."- The University of Florida Articles in The Science of Mental Health are written by the originating institution. Newswise maintains a comprehensive database of news releases from top institutions engaged in scientific, medical, liberal arts and business research.
Oh, what a tangled web is weaved as growing numbers of married women and men sneak into Internet chat rooms for romantic or sexual thrills, a University of Florida study finds."Never before has the dating world been so handy for married men and women looking for a fling," said Beatriz Avila Mileham, who conducted the research for her doctoral dissertation in counselor education at UF.
Twenty-six of the 86 study participants went on to meet the person whom they had been engaged in an online relationship with, and of these, all but two ended up having a real-life affair.
Several participants indicated they divulged more about themselves to online partners than to their wives or husbands.
"We started chatting about life, our marriage, what we like to eat, what sexual positions we like the best," wrote one man to Mileham.
"Many of them said their wife was so involved in childrearing that she wasn't interested in having sex." Because there is no touching involved in online chat conversations, married people often rationalize their behavior as harmless fun, Mileham said.
Eighty-three percent of the study's participants said they did not consider themselves to be cheating, and the remaining 17 percent deemed it a "weak" form of infidelity that was easily justifiable, she said.
"I'm just capturing back some of those butterflies we feel when we're young and start flirting and dating.""The No.