Digital adultery: the ethics of sexting

smart phones to flirt and to line up booty-calls. Email, texting, Twitter and Facebook apps allow potential partners to be in constant contact. This continuous stream of flirting often leads to more risque and physical types of encounters. The common progression of sexting starts with innocent flirting, then racy messages, which eventually gives way to nude photos.

Digital adultery isn't new, it has just evolved.  Cybersex was the adultery of the ancients. Now our virtual flirting has become quicker, easier, and illustrated with digital pictures and videos. Natasha Hayes claims she hasn't cheated on her husband yet, but with each iPhone text she is one step closer to crossing the line. Natasha has joined a league of secret digital adulterers of the 21st century.

As pornography becomes more mainstream, digital sexual affairs will follow. With the growth of the technological world, the opportunity for digital liaisons increases.  Likewise, the definition of adultery will have to change to keep up.  Just as many couples have changed from exclusively monogamous relationship to more open types of coupling, modern relationships will have to change to address sexting. Is a partner cheating if he or she receives or sends sexually stimulating content? Is flirting okay but pictures are too much?

I have sent racy photos over my phone and maybe even a steamy text message or two, and  I bet you have too. But, I haven't run off to meet, marry, or copulate with anyone on my phone list, nor do I plan to anytime soon.  If a short message gets me through a hectic afternoon at work, or makes me smile on my most miserable day, what is the harm?

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Adultery is as common in modern relationships as breakups. Uncle Phil had a mistress, Mr. Smith was sleeping with his secretary, and your mom's best friend Janice always seemed to have a boy toy cleaning her pool.

Even today with all the puritanical buzz surrounding the affairs of famous actors, athletes and politicians, the reasons for having an affair are the same: we are horny and want the excitement of having sex with new partners.  However, the methods and mechanics of how people have affairs have changed. With the advent of smart phones, adultery has gone digital. A slice of sexual gratification is possible with the click of a send button. Sexting has quickly become the foreplay of choice for modern adulterers and also a common way of sparking a heated debate with your steady partner regarding what actually constitutes cheating.

Sexting enthusiasts often use


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