The study's participants, who represented every state, included stay-at-home mothers, construction workers, engineers, nurses and presidents of large corporations.Some went online for a quick "sex fix," while others established more meaningful connections where they talked about personal problems and marital issues, Mileham said. Still others wanted to engage in cybersex, exchanging sexual fantasies with someone while masturbating, she said.Unlike some fatal attractions, a simple click of a mouse button ends contact – should the person want to break it off – without any explanations or apologies, she said.Mileham conducted in-depth online interviews with 76 men and 10 women, ages 25 to 66, who used Yahoo's "Married and Flirting" or Microsoft's "Married But Flirting," Internet chat rooms geared specifically for married people."We are hearing from therapists around the country reporting online sexual activity to be a major cause of marital problems," Cooper said."We need to better understand the contributing factors if we are going to be able to warn people about the slippery slope that starts with online flirting and too often ends in divorce." With the exception of two of the study's participants, all hid their online activities from their spouses, often "chatting" after their husbands or wives had gone to sleep, Mileham said.The book, The Joy of Cybersex, argued that the World Wide Web was a godsend for this reason. Say: ‘Sure, honey, but I’d actually rather be a rocket scientist, okay? Think about it for a few minutes, fix yourself a drink, and succumb to the unknown.
"I'm not going to cheat," wrote one married man.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'm just capturing back some of those butterflies we feel when we're young and start flirting and dating.""The No.1 complaint from men was lack of sex in the marriage," Mileham said.