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Flirty vs. Seductive

Roz,

I’m married, and I heard that just flirting with another man is the same as cheating. I heard that “cyber sex” and other kinds of flirting are just as harmful as sleeping with someone else? Could that be true? I tend to be a flirt by nature, but I would never cheat on my husband. MA (Maryland)

===> Let’s make a distinction between flirting, seductiveness, and cybersex. Flirting is the twinkle and grin you give to someone, in person; it’s just playful and has no intent beyond that grin. Seductiveness is action that announces sexual intent, even enticement. Cybersex is semi-hard-core infidelity in which you give to someone else (who is almost certainly misrepresenting himself, by the way) the kind of attention due a husband or lover.

Flirting is not the same as cheating. A flirtatious nature can be delightful, since mere flirting is innocent. Little girls and babies are world class at it. Personally, I flirt with old people, children, anybody who enjoys a mutual admiration exchange that doesn’t have an unspoken come-on beneath it.

Cyberesex is a betrayal, and often can lead to Internet and porn addiction that has damaged or even destroyed many a relationship. I know, because I see it in my office all the time.

Bottom line? Twinkle and grin, but don’t send out seduction signals, either in person or on the Internet.

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