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If there is no physical contact or actual sex, is it still an affair?“It’s not just that you’re communicating with someone online but that there is a sexual or emotional nature,” says Katherine Hertlein, Ph D, an associate professor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas who studies online affairs.A review of the findings of the Pew Internet & American Life surveys between March 2000 and September 2005 highlights some particularly interesting trends and correlations: Young women are more likely to be online than young men.

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

Online activities: Men are more likely than women to use the internet for many online activities, but women are catching up.

Men and women are equally likely to go to the internet for a wide variety of activities, from getting travel information to doing banking to looking up phone numbers and addresses.

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.