I met all sorts of people, from all over the world, older and younger, and each seemingly as desperate for a true connection as I. Should I be blaming my mother, or my – mostly absent – father for feeling that something was eternally missing? I was born to a woman that didn't much want children, and who fell foul to postnatal depression a good couple of decades before the term was even coined.
And for a while at least, it all felt harmless and innocent, and fun. My father leaving didn't help, and for the first six months of my life I was placed with a notional "auntie", a family friend who became my surrogate mother throughout my childhood.
"People who are vulnerable can get hooked before they know it." To those who say a behavioral compulsion is not a true addiction, Dr.
Schneider responded with a definition of addiction that would clearly apply to cybersex abusers: "Loss of control, continuation of the behavior despite significant adverse consequences and preoccupation or obsession with obtaining the drug or pursuing the behavior." Although behavioral addictions involve no external drugs, preliminary research has suggested that they cause changes in brain chemicals, like the release of endorphins, that help to perpetuate the behavior.
There were redundancy problems at work; my marriage was showing strains; and there was something large and unnameable missing from my life.
I ignored it until I could do so no longer, until eventually, for what felt like the sake of my sanity, I resolved to do something about it.
“With the Internet, we’re moving away from just physical ideas about infidelity and acknowledging emotional infidelity.” While there is no universally accepted definition, an Internet affair frequently involves intimate chat sessions and sexually stimulating conversation or cybersex, which may include filming mutual masturbation with a Web camera.
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.
For some people, the route to compulsive use of the Internet for sexual satisfaction is fast and short, said Dr. Projected to the country as a whole, this would mean that a minimum of 200,000 men and women have become cybersex addicts in the last few years, Dr. And, he added, because the respondents were self-selected and because denial of the symptoms of sexual compulsivity is commonplace, there are likely to be many more cybersex addicts than the survey indicated. Jennifer Schneider, a physician in Tucson, Ariz., who is associate editor of the journal, said in an interview that even when cybersex addicts and their partners sought treatment, they often concealed their real problem, and therapists often failed to ask questions that would disclose it. Cooper, who works at the San Jose Marital and Sexuality Center in Santa Clara, Calif., cybersex compulsives are just like drug addicts; they "use the Internet as an important part of their sexual acting out, much like a drug addict who has a 'drug of choice,' " and often with serious harm to their home lives and livelihood.
You become friends with the sexy co-worker and decide to carpool to work together. You're married, or engaged, or you're in a committed relationship. All those tingly feelings and the fantasies that perhaps a "perfect love" can really exist isn't destiny knocking -- they're caused by "love chemicals" in your brain.
You become "friends" with an ex on Facebook and reminisce about the past. You spend hours thinking about them and your heart races whenever you see a text from them. You tell yourself it's ok because you're not really cheating, you're just chatting. Biochemical research has shown that the effect of these love chemicals is twofold: they are released in response to your friend, and they bond you to him or her.
Friendship becomes emotional sex when the feel-good brain chemicals and hormones that are released when even thinking about that person take over.
But you are having emotional sex, and that can be even more intense, sensual and all-consuming than physical sex. Emotional sex is a friendship that escalates into something that feels the same as romantic love and can manifest itself in numerous ways -- physically, romantically, emotionally, lustfully, verbally, or virtually.