These people believe that if they do not even know the real name of their cybermate—and never actually see them—their affair cannot be regarded as from a moral point of view; it's no different from reading a novel or other form of entertainment.

Online sexual activity can involve various activities, such as viewing explicitly sexual materials, participating in an exchange of ideas about sex, exchanging sexual messages, and online interactions with at least one other person with the intention of becoming sexually aroused.

In his stimulating paper, "Chatting Is Not Cheating," John Portmann defends online lust and characterizes about sex; he maintains that such talking is more similar to flirting than to having a sexual affair.

Accordingly, cybersex is about sex, but a form of sexual encounter involves experiences typical of other encounters, such as sexual arousal, masturbation, orgasm, and satisfaction.

Indeed, people consider cybersex to have a high degree of psychological reality—but many do not consider it to be consider it to be infidelity.

Thus, people may agree not to develop a relationship, permitting themselves only virtual one-night stands, or an uncommitted affair, or a promise with a partner to tell each other about each online affair.

As one woman in a committed relationship remarks about her online sexual affairs: "I've had this discussion with my boyfriend and we both agree that as long as it's not with the same person more than twice, it is really masturbation.

Nevertheless, since online affairs are real they do often cause actual harm to one's primary, offline romantic relationship.

Accordingly, many people will be just as disturbed about a partner's online sexual affairs as they would be if they discovered that their spouse was exchanging steamy love letters with someone else.

In reality, though, the issue of online cheating is more complex—especially when it concerns sexual activities involving actual interaction with other individuals.

People, consciously or not, consider their online sexual relationships as real—they experience psychological states similar to those typically elicited by offline relationships.

In such situations, cybersex may even be advisable—but still regarded as cheating.