And if, you don’t love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying
You would never break the chain

Fleetwood Mac

One common reason that can lead to cyber infidelity is the hidden interest of the unfaithful partner in a sexual kink or fetish. This is typically interest in a sexual behavior that is relatively unusual or uncommon. However, just because it may be uncommon doesn’t mean that there aren’t many people that share a particular kinky sexual interest. Sometimes interest in the particular kink can be obsessive and even to the exclusion of other more common sexual behaviors or of the partner unaware of the kink. Sometimes these interests are called paraphilias. In the past the professions of psychology and sex therapy tended to pathologize sexual interests that did not lie in the main stream. Over time, we have learned that many people enjoy a diversity of sexual interests. These interests do not suggest that people who engage in them are any less mentally healthy then people who do not. One way to think about it would be comparing it to dietary appetite. Palates vary tremendously among people. All of the food on a smorgasbord is not preferred by everyone. People have their favorite dishes. This is acceptable and considered normal. Unfortunately, at the dining table of human sexuality such acceptance is not the case. Historically, there has been much disapproval and even condemnation of other than main stream sexual interests and practices. This has had the effect of driving such sexual interests underground. Only in recent years have some of these sexual practices become less stigmatized. Portrayals in the popular media like 50 Shades of Grey have created some greater acceptance of kink–in this case bondage, domination, and sadomasochism (BDSM). Such media presentations have introduced kinky sex to many people but have also helped liberate those that have secretly held these interests and practices for a long time.

Because of the bias against kinky sex, people who have held such interests have historically gone underground. This of course was in order to avoid condemnation and even abuse. In the digital age, people with a particular sexual interest have been able to find community on the Internet. Others with similar interests have become accessible and relatively easily found. While that might be good news for people that have kinky sexual interests, it has too often been bad news for traditional relationships. In effect, because of the stigma associated with kinky sexual interests, the partner that had such an interest would normally hide it. Instead of risking criticism, condemnation, and even the loss of the primary love relationship, it would stay a dark secret. The expression of the sexual interest would find acceptance and expression on the Internet. Thus, this became a path to cyber infidelity. Once discovered, it would very often lead to a crisis in the relationship. Sometimes it leads to the end of the relationship.

The good news is that there is hope for the relationship that is dealing with the sudden discovery of a kinky interest of one of the partners and even its expression through secretive cyber infidelity. A professional trained in addressing the unique complexities of the situation can provide much needed help. This help cannot only save the relationship but also usher in a new phase that can restore trust and actually enhance the intimate connection. While it’s not easy, and rather emotionally challenging, the relationship can be saved and even enhanced. The treatment process involves many phases with the goal of restoring trust and improving open and honest intimate communication. Through application of the collaborative treatment model, joining the psychologist with the couple as a powerful treatment team, great progress can be achieved. There is hope. The kink does not have to break the link.