The recent Second Life Divorce Scandal has people buzzing all around the world. But it’s been done before, as with so many things that seem new today. Women and men have been catching their significant others in hot chats with online sex objects since the early 1980s. (I use "sex objects" because what else can you call an animated construct and words you can't touch? I dunno ... self-directed sex videos with subtitles?)
A quarter-century ago, the venues were CompuServe and other dialup online services that provided realtime chat services--what people call IMs or IRC today, we called “chat” or “CB” back in 1983. The medium inspired quite a few marriages, the first one that was documented took place in ’83. But, divorces were probably inspired by online sex before that.
It went down in the 80s pretty much the same as today, sans graphics. Either someone got caught, or the typing whizzes decided run off together. The only difference was who would be the first to realize divorce was on the horizon.
Oh, man--think how difficult online sex was back in those days! Uphill both ways, and all you had were typed words on a monochrome screen. Imagination was important. Literacy was vital, although at the penultimate point it was often crippled by fading concentration and the temporary loss of one typing hand.
--Mike, still On the Way to the Web