Geri posts a note at least once a day to the chat group. "Popping in to say hi," the 52-year-old married grandmother recently typed in cheery all-caps, "Hugs and kisses." Psychotony777 seemed equally cheerful, but was writing for different reasons. "Looking for ‘safe' erotic fun," the self-described "always horny, but always tasteful" married 37-year-old wrote.
So goes a typical morning on Yahoo!'s Married_Flirting e-mail group, just one of the scores of Web resources set up expressly to help everyone from the very lonely to the very amorous make passes at people who aren't their spouses.
Beatriz Avila Mileham, who studied online infidelity at the University of Florida, thinks the convenience of computers has changed the way people cheat. The interactive nature of chat rooms makes participation more serious than simple escapist fantasy, Mileham says. She conducted a qualitative study over the course of one year, recruiting subjects from chat rooms such as Yahoo!'s and Microsoft's Married but Flirting. In all, 76 men and 10 women participated.