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He doesn’t care how many partners you’ve had; it’s all in the past. To find out the answer, fall back to the fundamentals: identifying the addict is the first step. One-night stands, extra-marital affairs, GPS hook-ups, obsessive online dating.And when it comes to sex addiction, that first step is a doozy. The list is long and gets darker the further down you go: compulsive masturbation, exhibitionism, voyeurism, prostitutes.“If you’re married, your acceptable sexual behavior may be defined differently than if you’re single,” says Mike Weiss, a certified addiction therapist and founder of The Sexual Recovery Institute.

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If there is no physical contact or actual sex, is it still an affair?

“It’s not just that you’re communicating with someone online but that there is a sexual or emotional nature,” says Katherine Hertlein, Ph D, an associate professor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas who studies online affairs.

The Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut, became interested in investigating the role of pillow talk in relationships as people have such different experiences of it.

Many people said they open up about their feelings to a partner after sex regardless of the length of a relationship – a time period described as the post-coital time interval (PCTI) by researchers Daniel Kruger and Susan Hughes.‘Why were some people sharing their innermost feelings, even when they knew the relationship had not yet reached that level?

“With the Internet, we’re moving away from just physical ideas about infidelity and acknowledging emotional infidelity.” While there is no universally accepted definition, an Internet affair frequently involves intimate chat sessions and sexually stimulating conversation or cybersex, which may include filming mutual masturbation with a Web camera.

Several studies suggest that even when there is no in-person contact, online affairs can be just as devastating as the real-world variety, triggering feelings of insecurity, anger and jealousy.

Weiss adds that it’s like any addiction, and the addict increasingly “needs to have this intensity-based experience.”However, the idea that sex is clinically addictive remains controversial.

As we’ve reported in the the Fix, sex addiction is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a diagnosable disorder.

And for super-busy couples, a same-city romance can present its own unique challenges.

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