Your picture can be viewed only if you give a password to the person with whom you are conversing.
But if I'm going to find out what really makes these women tick, I need to leave the safety of the virtual world and see them for myself. I arrange to meet a 41-year-old mother of two who misses "romance and flirting", in a cafe in two days' time.
She has declined to tell me her name, so I have to think of her as her web sobriquet.
But in the modern world, in which the internet has become a vehicle for all manner of impropriety, she regards this kind of behaviour as perfectly acceptable.
We have encountered one another via an internet dating service established for the sole purpose of enabling married people to commit adultery.
Postings such as: "I want a man who can look after me and knows how to treat a woman. I'm surprised and unsettled by the forward tone of some of the material. Determined to avoid the connotations, I reply: "The Beatles." I never hear from her again.