Ever since the beginnings of the internet researchers have questioned its utility in developing and maintaining psychological healthy romantic and sexual relations. Advocates of the social presence theory and media richness theory purport that in leaner media individuals can be quite aggressive towards one another (e.g., in the form of flaming). In contrast, others believe that the lack of traditional cues in CMC can in fact be overcome and instead lead to more personal, intimate relationships. As this paper will demonstrate, when we consider how beneficial it is to form relationships online we also need to consider individuals’ characteristics (e.g., personality characteristics and physical attractiveness), the amount of time people spend online, the duration of online relationships, and how these relationships effect individuals’ offline activities and relationships. Overall, the view here is that online relationships can be empowering for many people; that is, cyberspace provides a unique environment for people to experience and learn about relationships and sexuality.Peer-reviewedPost-prin
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