A new study looking at sex and infidelity in cyberspace has found that, although an illicit e-affair is just a few clicks away, those looking for a bit of extra-marital jiggery pokery prefer to do it in person.
Despite the increase in opportunities created by the internet and mobile phones, the study - conducted by Diane Kholos Wysocki from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and Cheryl Childers, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas - found that face-to-face is still the preferred method of finding a sexual partner.
"The way we become involved in, and develop, relationships with others has changed dramatically over the last 20 years due to the increased availability of devices such as computers, video cams, and cell phones," says the report called Let your fingers do the talking: sexting and infidelity in cyberspace. "These advances have had a significant impact on our social lives, as well as on the sexual aspects of our lives. These days, the internet is where the majority of people go to find sex partners."
'Sexting', the fairly new phenomenon which sees adults sending nude pictures and explicit messages using camera-equipped mobile phones, was included in the study for the first time.
The researchers set up a website aimed specifically at married people looking for extramarital rumpy-pumpy, and surveyed those who visited the site.
The results of that survey showed that women were far more likely than men to engage in a bit of sexting, that two-thirds of them had cheated on-line while in a permanent relationship, and more than three quarters had cheated in real life.
"Our research suggests that as technology changes, the way people find each other and the way they attract a potential partner also changes," the study's authors concluded. "While social networking sites are increasingly being used for social contact, people continue to be more interested in real-life partners, rather than online partners. It seems that, at some point in a relationship, we need the physical, face-to-face contact. Part of the reason for this may be that, ultimately, humans are social creatures."