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Getting it on in Cyber Space. Is it cheating when she’s not in the room?

Some would say that cheating online isn’t really cheating – if you never meet the other person in the ‘real’ world it’s just a fantasy right? Not in the Cheat Catcher’s experience – look what happened when we ventured into a ‘virtual’ world of pole dancers (coming up later in this post)

Could that argument be extended to phone sex or online strip shows? Of course it could, but that doesn’t mean that this sort of ‘playing’ is acceptable to everyone.

The definition of cheating is up to every individual in a relationship – you decide. It’s one thing fantasizing and using the web to do that but when it breaks out into the real or ‘cyber’ world then that’s cheating plain and simple and most divorce courts would agree.

Maybe couples should have a set of rules that they both subscribe to: is this OK? How about this? “Hi Sweetie, would it be OK if I have online sex in a cyber world with total strangers?” Cripes! Try bringing that one up over dinner!



Here is our first foray into the world of cybersex…..
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A friend recently joined an online alternative cyber world called ‘Second Life’ – maybe you’ve heard of it – it is quite incredible – an online world where you can look and dress how you want (even change sex if you choose), buy a house (or a private island!) fill it with stuff and interact with hundreds of thousands of other people. Create objects to buy and sell (some people actually make a real living doing this as the local currency can be converted into real world cash).
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I signed up for a free account to check it out, (but just as a tourist!) and all I can say is WOW!
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Don’t get me wrong it’s a fantastic place full of fun and wonder but, just like the real world, there’s a sleazy element if that’s what you are after and, purely for research purposes, I found myself in the Heaven Or Hell Club. Before I entered I saw a large Billboard outside warning me not to be taken in by any ‘Escorts’ hanging around outside the club as they were not official ‘Heaven or Hell’ hostesses and I might get ripped off!

second life club

I signed up as a member, was approached by a few ‘ladies’ asking that I buy them a drink, tip them for a pole dance and was then approached by another offering more than a dance! I was interacting with real people who, like me, inhabit this surreal world. Veeeery weird!

You can have cartoon like sex in Second Life ( but this ain’t Minnie Mouse or Jessica Rabbit, I’m talking ‘full-on’ genetically enhanced ‘rumpy pumpy!) and even buy real world ‘attachments’ that are strapped on or inserted that your online partner can activate – is your mind boggling as much as mine?

While being incredibly impressed with the technology the cartoon flirting was not for me but I have to say I can understand how someone could find themselves spending a lot of their free time, and money, here. If they’re single that’s fine, but if they’re in a relationship…..?

Later that evening I received an e-mail:

> GENTLEMEN!!
> LINGERIE EVENT!! STARRING THE LADIES OF HEAVEN or HELL!! ON MAY 6!! At
> HoH!! LADIES IN LINGERIE! SEXY!! PROVOCATIVE!! OUTRAGEOUS!! The MOST
> BEAUTIFUL LADIES IN SL WILL STRUT THEIR STUFF FOR YOU!! IN LACY
> BRA’S,PANTIES, TEDDIES, THIGH HIGHS! CORSETS!… IF YOU LIKE FROSTING ON
> YOUR CAKE….AND THE PACKAGE SWEETLY WRAPPED DONT MISS THIS ONE!!
>
> WE’LL SEE YOU THERE!!
> HUGZ-N-KISSES!!

Obviously friendships are struck and ‘relationships’ started that’s what it’s all about – but how far can those relationships go. It occurred to me that a couple could get married and set up house – a sort of cyber bigamy!

Recommended Product:

While there are various spy products that can be attached to a computer either physically or by installing a program I have come across one that you can install on another computer (say a business laptop) via an attachment sent in an e-mail. Then from your computer you can monitor everything that’s happening on that other PC – just be prepared to be shocked if your partner is up to no good online in Second Life!

With SniperSpy you can record chat conversations, see web sites visited, keystrokes typed, and more, including screenshots of emails, dating sites, video conversations etc. You can easily learn the truth about what they are doing online within 24 hours.

Sniper Spy

Here’s a postscript to this post – received this in my e-mail box today (4 days after posting the above):

THIS E-MAIL FROM SECOND LIFE: [8:47] Temporal Mitra: You have been ejected from ‘Heaven or Hell Club’ by Temporal Mitra.

Yep that’s right, I’ve been barred from the club! Guess they didn’t like this post much eh? Now I’ve been barred, banned and ejected from more than a few places in my misguided youth but in cyberspace? Peerlease!!!!

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  1. Your readers need to know that they need to be a little bit computer savvy to use the Sniperspy service.

    Not technical know how, but to understand the principles involved: the spy program is sent in a similar way to a virus (in an email attachment) and reports back to the software company which you Login to to see (literally) what’s going on – fantastic but scary!

  2. yeh Second life is great but like any weird computrized world its not real. I meet people there all the time dont mean I sleep with them in reel life [firstworld geddit?]

  3. I guess if Second life is going to imitate the real world then lap dancing joints seem right – and no STD’s, other viruses maybe if you go to the wrong place though ;-)

  4. Here’s a similar article I found today on InsideBayArea.com sorry if it’s a bit long:

    CYBER FLING: Is it still adultery if it’s online?
    By Jessica Yadegaran,
    Article Last Updated: 01/08/2008 07:13:02 AM PST

    IN REAL LIFE, he is a successful 35-year-old business owner and husband-to-be. But on Second Life, the virtual fantasy world with 11 million “residents,” his avatar, Lugh Dragonash, is a cyborg, or human machine, which can make it difficult to meet women, he says.

    Not that he’s looking. But he could, because in Second Life, you build your perfect pretend life, down to property, skin tone and a dream spouse. Even Dragonash’s fiancee, who is 29 and unemployed but works as a go-go dancer in Second Life, has a boyfriend. She engages in cyber sex with him and, before you ask, Dragonash doesn’t watch. And no, he adds, it doesn’t bother him.

    “Nothing happening here (in Second Life) has an impact on my real life,” Dragonash says. “She does her thing and I do mine. Fun is a priority. If it starts to have an influence on my real life it stops immediately.”

    For some, it’s starting to. Online infidelity was once limited to chat rooms and dating sites. But there is rising concern that virtual worlds like Second Life and Kaneva and role-playing games like EverQuest can escalate the potential for and extent of

    infidelity. After all, avatars, or alternative identities, do it all: shop together, get married in wedding ceremonies and even buy property with virtual currency they purchase with real-world dollars. They can also commit crimes against each other, get divorced and sue one another in real-life court over in-game disputes.

    It’s enough to have woes with a real-world spouse. Are we ready for secondary ones?

    Players of EverQuest can get so tangled in their fantasy worlds that the affairs mimic those in soap operas, where the wife and mistress are essentially at war. Here’s an example from a post on EverQuest Widows, an online support group on Yahoo for partners of obsessed gamers.

    “A couple of months ago my hubby told me about a lady he was engaged to in the game,” writes one sad “wid.” “He broke it off with her when she wanted him to leave me and come marry her in real life.”

    Launched in 2000, the group’s posts range from tales of low self-esteem and neglected children to missed holidays and anniversaries.

    Legally, cyber affairs don’t, by themselves, constitute adultery. If cyber-cheating leads to a real-life affair, however, then the actual adultery can be grounds for divorce in jurisdictions that consider fault.

    Furthermore, if cyber-cheating is egregious and leads to a regular pattern of cruelty in the marriage, or causes the cyber-cheater to abandon completely his marital responsibilities, it could be considered grounds for divorce in fault and mixed-fault divorce regimes, says Melissa Murray, a family law professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Law.

    On a recent final exam, Murray posed a question to a class of second- and third-year students about a man who was fooling around on Second Life.

    “In the future, family law and other aspects of the law will have to wrestle with the question of how to deal with conduct in these virtual spaces,” Murray says.

    Most of the time, at least in Second Life, it doesn’t go that far, says Lisa Rein of Berkeley. Rein is a frequent lecturer on social networking and virtual worlds and has held San Francisco State University classes in art galleries on Second Life. She believes that virtual worlds are just the next phase on the online relationship continuum.

    “People either understand the relationship their spouse is having online or they don’t,” Rein says. “And if you’d rather have a conversation with someone on Second Life than your own wife, yeah, you probably have a problem. But that’s not different than any other online relationship.”

    By 2011, up to 80 percent of Internet users — 250 million people — will participate in virtual worlds, according to a recent report by Gartner Research. So the opportunities to make new friends and relationships are going to multiply beyond our current and somewhat limited MySpace comprehension.

    That said, Rein and others stress that it’s important to remember the infinite unintentional situations in virtual worlds that can be misconstrued as flirting or cheating.

    “The rules of physics don’t work in the virtual world,” says Jeremy Bailenson, director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, which was launched five years ago to study social behaviors in virtual worlds. “You can share body space, override other people’s behaviors and transport to another land.”

    More importantly, humans are not evolved enough to have a module to respond differently to virtual things, he says, so nonverbal behavior and reaction is almost identical online to what is in the real world.

    Take Rein’s Second Life avatar, Haley Bailey. She is a girl-next-door type (the unadorned, default avatar in jeans and a T-shirt) who has found herself, without intending to, in questionable situations.

    Once, in Second Life, Rein wandered into a gothic night club where she accepted a gift of clothing from avatars she had just met. When she tried the clothes on, she found herself wearing a provocative outfit and drinking blood from a horn.

    One Second Lifer who controls an avatar with the first name of Oz tell tales of roaming dark alleys where prostitutes beckon; he didn’t mean to be there. Another relays how a slight arm movement put her in a missionary position with the avatar sitting next to her at a party.

    “It’s the nature of the environment to try things without meaning to,” Rein says. “So there are circumstances where cuddling with a stranger could be perfectly innocent. You could just stumble into a situation, literally.”

    If a spouse were to glance at the screen at the wrong moment, Rein says, things could look really bad.

    Another time, when she was in a long distance relationship, Rein and her boyfriend at the time met up in Second Life. After wandering around, they found themselves in a fancy bedroom of a big house. On the bed was a cuddle ball. They both reached over and touched it, and the ball put them in a cuddling position.

    “It was really nice,” she recalls. “And very empowering. I really felt like I was with him. But if he did that intentionally with somebody else, it wouldn’t be cool.”

    Clinical psychologist Kimberly Young, the director of the Center for Online Addiction Recovery in Pennsylvania, has been researching Internet behavior and online addiction since 1995. She estimates that 60 percent of her private practice clients deal with online affairs.

    “Like any affair, the person emotionally shuts down from his or her partner and engages in emotional and physical relationships outside the marriage,” says Young, the author of “Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction — and a Winning Strategy for Recovery.”

    But online affairs are harder to deal with and detect because they occur on a computer in the home rather than at a bar or office, Young says. What’s more, they can be carried out while a husband or wife is sitting in the next room.

    “The Internet provides the opportunity for affairs to happen when they (normally) would not have,” she explains. “Usually the person is not seeking an extramarital relationship but discovers one online.”

    The effects, however, are just as devastating to the marriage, according to an article Young published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Young writes that partners felt betrayed, rejected, abandoned and devastated and that it was “as emotionally painful to them as live, or offline, affairs.”

    As eWidower, an EverQuest Widow, says of his wife’s transformation:

    “She was so sexual and available to several guys online while she put me on the shelf,” he writes. “At one point, she had even told me that I would get more intimacy if I would stop objecting to the guys online. She had also said that if I wanted more attention from her, I should take some lessons from the online guys… It was bad.”

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  1. From PlugIM.com on Jun 7, 2007

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