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Man Says Wife’s E-Mail Affair Virtually Ended His Marriage

Sun., Feb. 4, 1996

A New Jersey man who is seeking to divorce his wife on the grounds that she had cybersex during online conversations illustrates the computer age’s opportunities and dangers, therapists and cybersex experts say.

Patrick Suraci, a New York psychologist and a former Police Department therapist, said 10 of his patients have acknowledged that they engaged in “virtual” sex on the Internet.

“What is interesting is that the most unlikely people become involved in this. They think they would never be interested, but once they try it, the novelty catches their imagination,” Suraci said.

John Goydan of Bridgewater, N.J., filed a first-of-its-kind divorce suit that claims he caught his wife Diane with a virtual lover.

In divorce papers, Goydan accused Diane of committing adultery with a North Carolina man identified as The Weasel by exchanging sexual fantasies via e-mail and making plans to meet for a real tryst.

Internet meetings often begin when a commercial on-line user enters a “virtual chat room.” Some 10, 20 or more users can exchange messages.

Virginia Masters Johnson, the pioneer sex researcher and author of 12 books on sex therapy, said people may turn to on-line sex in an age of AIDS out of “a sense of self-preservation” and added that some of them never leave their spouses even though they may feel a need for extramarital excitement.


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