For example, they often spend all night on the computer and then get online again at work.
Overall, about 6 percent of Internet users are compulsive in their online behavior, and about half of those are sexually compulsive, Greenfield said.
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.
“Your primary partner will never be able to compare with the fantasy partner,” Hertlein says.
“They will never win.” According to Young, people with low self-esteem, a distorted body image, an untreated sexual dysfunction or a prior sexual addiction are more at risk to develop addictions to cybersex or online pornography.
Several studies suggest that even when there is no in-person contact, online affairs can be just as devastating as the real-world variety, triggering feelings of insecurity, anger and jealousy.
Several studies have focused on the “AAA engine” that drives online affairs, namely accessibility, affordability and anonymity.
“The Internet is extremely accessible no matter where you are,” Hertlein says.
Therapy can be more complicated if the cheating partner doesn’t believe his or her online activities qualify as an affair, Ducharme says.
“The excuses are, ‘I didn’t have sex with this person.