In the safety of your house, inside your bedroom, you don the VR goggles. At first there is nothing but dazzling light. Then shapes form and bodies emerge. You are transported via miniature screens, motion trackers, and software to lands of practically infinite erotic possibilities.

In these virtual spaces, you can become anyone or anything. They are places where you can live out your wildest fantasies, hook up with the most desirable beings imaginable, and enjoy sex from another gender’s point of view.

And, perhaps most of all, it is an opportunity to explore your own sexuality: to push it, and yourself, to new heights of pleasure.

But then there’s the question: are you and your partner better for it?

Cheating or not?

The immersive sexual wonderlands described above may sound outlandish. But they are starting to take form in multiplayer online worlds like 3DXChat and Red Light Center.

Inside them, members create digital avatars, anatomically complete and in the gender - or otherworldly body - of their choosing. They can then dress this new version of themselves in fashion choices ranging from street clothes to glossy fetish gear.

Suitably attired, players then find others for some sexually charged fun. A slew of erotic actions and positions are only a keyboard command away. Adding touch-feedback sex toys can take the encounter to a whole new level, and deliver a long-distance sexual experience you can feel in real time.

Read: 10 Things to Know About Teledildonic Toys (Including How to Use Them)

And that’s why quite a few people have raised their eyebrows. Their concern, and in some cases outright alarm, is over whether this new form of virtual sex constitutes infidelity.

However, instead of driving couples apart, immersive sex worlds and erotica have the potential to bring them closer together. On the individual level, they could help you better understand your own sexuality and set you on a path to feeling happier and more fulfilled.

Rethinking Monogamy

Media and society at large often send the message that we should only be aroused by our partner. Any erotic feelings beyond that person somehow diminish a couple’s love and intimacy.

Slowly, though, people are beginning to understand that it’s a rare thing to be aroused by only one other person; that it’s normal for people in relationships to fantasize about others and even self-pleasure with the help of erotica.

To be sure, no one should feel pressured into a situation that makes them uncomfortable. But honest and non-judgmental conversation between lovers can enshrine a deeper sense of intimacy. It can lay the groundwork for a stronger connection not only through sharing desires, but also by setting agreed upon guidelines on how to explore them.

It’s important to establish a set of mutually beneficial limits regarding what each couple considers infidelity. One couple, for instance, might not have a problem with sharing fantasies or even engaging in pretty heavy flirting with others - as long as it never actually gets physical. Another might also do the same, with another proviso that sex in a virtual world is fine as well.

Read: Is Virtual Sex Real Sex?

But why explore sex in virtual environments?

Virtual sex can expose you to new experiences within a relatively safe setting. It also offers amazing potential as an educational tool and to create pathways to greater empathy with your partner.

Want to experience sex from a new perspective? Perhaps your lover’s? With a VR rig, or even though sites like Red Light Center, you can. Want to try a new sexual technique without fear of embarrassment or rejection? You can - and then bring what you’ve discovered about yourself and your sexuality into your relationship.

Want to sample BDSM play, but are concerned about privacy or it becoming too intense? Put on your VR headset or immerse yourself in an interactive site. It’s not quite the same as being in the same physical location as someone else, but it’s a realm in which you can dip your toes to see if you enjoy it, and then maybe go out into the real world to experiment more.

Virtual sex may also provide new ways to hone your bedroom skills. For instance, one partner might have a narrower sexual repertoire or idea of what sex should be. They might also feel hesitant to try new things. Allowing them to play in a virtual world could allow them to see sex in an entirely new way - without even leaving the house.

There’s also the idea of using this technology as a way to share and explore sexual fantasies. Hearing your partner say that, for example, they enjoy thinking about three-ways can conjure all kinds of thoughts and images in your mind - perhaps even ones of insecurity your partner never intended.

However, in a simulated sex world your lover can show you exactly what they like to fantasize about and, naturally, vice versa: you can share what thoughts turn you on. And, who knows, you might be able to combine the two in a way that is mutually pleasing - virtually as well as in the bedroom.

Let’s Make Virtual Sex a Good Thing

Virtual sex is full of potential. Some people may fear the new opportunities it presents could cause their lovers to wander. Approaching it with openness and honesty could do the exact opposite.

These new worlds of erotic exploration could unite couples more deeply. They could help them overcome fears by encouraging healthy experimentation. In the end, they could take us all on mind-blowing journeys of self-discovery.