PUSHING THE WRONG BUTTONS
Men & Women's Attitudes toward Online and Offline Infidelity
Despite current researchers’ interest in the study of online sexual addiction, there is a dearth of research available on what constitutes online infidelity. This paper attempts to redress this balance by comparing 1,117 participants’ attitudes toward online and offline acts of infidelity.
A factor analysis was carried out that yielded three components of infidelity: sexual infidelity, emotional infidelity, and pornography. More importantly, this study revealed that online acts of betrayal do not fall into a discrete category of their own. A MANOVA was performed and revealed a statistically significant difference on the combined dependent variables for the interaction of gender by age, age by relationship status, and Internet sexual experience.
The hypotheses were, in part, supported. However, counter to what was predicted, in the main younger people were more likely to rate sexual acts as acts of betrayal than older individuals. It is concluded here that individuals do perceive some online interactions to be acts of betrayal. In contrast to some researchers’ claims, it is suggested here that we do need to consider how bodies are reconstructed online. Moreover, these results have important implications for any treatment rationale for infidelity (both online and offline).
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