"When one person in a marriage is going to the Internet to get sex, it erodes the intimacy in the marriage," says Berman.
Does it also erode a person's sense of faithfulness?
"And so each relationship defines it on their own terms.
But what matters is: does your spouse consider it cheating?
"For some, engaging in high-tech-relationship treason is just as unforgivable as the real thing. "Whether any orgasm-seeking behavior outside the relationship constitutes cheating is up to a couple," says Weston.
He posted a survey on the Internet, with 2,684 students from more than 150 universities and colleges in Canada responding.
"Primarily it was an opportunity to gauge the views of students nationwide on their views on sex, their sex lives, practices, and desires," Gurza tells Web MD. Surprising Answers "We were expecting a high number of students to respond to this question as having engaged in virtual sex," Gurza says.
He posed questions like, how many times a week do you have sex? "A number approximating around 50 percent was our expected guess.
We knew it would be high, given that students were filling this survey anonymously and as such would feel comfortable being truthful about their sexual habits."Gurza was surprised to find 50 percent wasn't even close.
"But for people who are doing it regularly or are substituting their intimate relationships for online sex, we're talking about people who have intimacy issues."By consistently choosing a computer over the real deal -- whether it's for sex or for human interaction in general -- one can sense the problems that might arise.
"When you are using a long-distance method to achieve sexual intimacy with a stranger who you never get to know, you are not achieving true intimacy," says Berman.
"Eighty-seven percent having had virtual sex was astonishing to us, but upon reflection it is very much a testament to the demographic we are dealing with," says Gurza, of the 18- to 22-year-olds who responded to the survey -- many of whom grew up in an online world.