“Computer erotica appears to provide many people with a ‘safe’ alternative to real, personal relationships in a world where HIV is deadlier than computer viruses.” This was in a book review. If a partner asked you (while undressed in the bedroom) to pretend to be something you’re not, say a cashier at a grocery store or a famous astronaut, you would:a. Think he or she had totally lost his or her mind, and suggest a visit to the therapist.d.

The typical affair used to start in the office and move to a seedy motel room, but the vast reach of the Internet has brought infidelity into many couples’ homes over the past decade.

The growth in steamy chat room conversations and cybersex also has triggered a rethinking of the meaning of infidelity.

While men traditionally have been the more unfaithful sex, gender roles are reversing in some cases as more women experience cybersex.

“I think there is this bias that women don’t cheat for sexual reasons at all,” Hertlein says.

The stranger attempts to chat with Elizabeth again the next day while she is in a coffee shop, but logs off quickly when another customer approaches the webcam.

That night, Damien surprises Elizabeth by showing up to her home in the middle of the night, and Elizabeth's hacked webcam records the couple having sex before the hacker sends the video to Elizabeth's graduate board.

While my husband spent most evenings catching up on the horse racing he'd recorded over the weekend, I began perusing chatrooms – not in pursuit of cybersex necessarily, but initially more for harmless flirtation, a little virtual attention.

Soon, I was spending hours in the parallel universe of cyberspace, often through wonderfully wide-awake nights, uninhibited in a way I never could be in reality.

If there is no physical contact or actual sex, is it still an affair?