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Lying, Cheating, and Virtual Relationships

Author: CYNTHIA JONES
Published in GVER, Vol. 6 No. 1

The advent of virtual worlds like Second Life and the popularity of MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online roleplaying games) like World of Warcraft, with over 11 million subscribers, have made purely virtual dating more appealing than the online predecessors of chat rooms and dating websites. And not all virtual dating remains virtual as some couples who meet virtually marry irl. Virtual dating offers a host of perks that dating in real life cannot, such as: sexual encounters without fear of disease or pregnancy, anonymity, and, for some, a chance to “cheat” on a partner without ever leaving home. This paper will explore the ethical and prudential aspects of virtual dating, focusing on moral issues like lying and on prudential issues like satisfying urges for different partners within a committed relationship without ever touching another person.

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