Relationship quality predicts online sexual activities among Chinese heterosexual men and women in committed relationships (2016)

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Computers in Human Behavior

Available online 29 December 2016


  • Individuals in commitment relationship engaged in OSAs.
  • Men scored a higher prevalence and frequency of OSAs than women.
  • Lower relationship quality motivates individuals in relationship to OSAs.
  • Variables influencing offline infidelity may also influence online infidelity.


In this study, we examined the online sexual activities (OSAs) of Chinese men and women in committed relationships, with a focus on the characteristics of OSAs and the factors prompting men and women with steady partners to engage in OSAs. OSAs herein were categorized as viewing sexually explicit material (SEM), sexual partner seeking, cybersex, and online flirting. We hypothesized that individuals not satisfied with their current relationship would seek gratification via OSAs. Participants (N = 344) completed measures of OSA experience within the past 12 months and relationship satisfaction (i.e., relationship satisfaction, adult attachment, and communication patterns). Almost 89% of the participants reported OSA experiences in the past 12 months even when they had a real-life partner. Men showed higher rates and frequencies of engaging in all subtypes of OSAs compared to women. As predicted, individuals with lower relationship quality in real life, including low relationship satisfaction, insecure attachment, and negative communication patterns, engaged in OSAs more frequently. Overall, our results suggest that variables influencing offline infidelity may also influence online infidelity.


  • Online sexual activity;
  • committed relationship;
  • relationship satisfaction