Is having cyber sex considered unhealthy -- and does it constitute “cheating” on a spouse, even if you never meet? -- Daniel, 27, Kansas

Cybersex is arguably safer than real sex because there is no chance of contracting sexually-transmitted diseases or of being physically hurt by another person. Whether cybersex constitutes “cheating” depends on how one defines “cheating.”

If the cybersex is done with the knowledge and permission of a partner—or even with a partner—then, clearly, it’s not “cheating.” Some people may not consider masturbating (or flirting) via the internet as “cheating” but, if done without a partner’s knowledge, it could certainly be considered as “emotional cheating.”

There are few clear lines in all of this. For example, it’s normal for people in relationships to masturbate while fantasizing about somebody else. It’s not such a big leap from that to masturbating in the virtual company of another person with whom you have no emotional attachment. But it’s a slippery slope—if emotions do get involved, then you could easily find yourself involved to a degree that distracts or distances you from your “real” partner.

As in many things, the Golden Rule may apply to cyber sex: don’t do what you would not want your partner to do.

Dr. Harry Fisch is a board certified urologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He’s here to answer reader questions in an effort to get guys to “man up about health.”

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