Healthy sexual relationships have a hard time competing with the fantasy world of internet porn and for some, can end up replacing real life relationships.
The Internet has not only changed the way we communicate, it’s changed the way we love and lust. With chat rooms in high gear and websites for every “taste,” you can live in a cave in Borneo and still have a “meaningful” sexual relationship, or at least have a sexual relationship.
If you want to keep it in cyberland, that’s your business, but most of us want to have relationships with living, breathing human beings. Still, the vast opportunities to act-out our sexual fantasies under the veil of anonymity is alluring but can result in problematic consequences — if we get hooked. Let’s look …
A CLICK AWAY: CYBERSEX ADDICTION
Dear Marnie: My heart is breaking. I’ve been seeing a wonderful man who is great in every way except one: porn websites. He promised to stop, but when I checked his computer, I found he’s still doing it. I told him I would leave if he brought it back into our lives. He is in agony and begging me not to go. Please help me put this in perspective. What is the big attraction with these sites? Can you explain it? – Crying in San Diego.
MARNIE SAYS: Picture it, my history class, a long time ago. The visual aid film was “Nanook of the North.” Two kids in the room were watching Nanook; the rest were waiting for the appearance of a bare-breasted, female Eskimo. Back then, that film was titter-time. Heavy “porn” was still illegal in many states and only found in the back of “specialty” shops and later, in X-rated movie theaters. Today, technological advances have brought us marvels, but with a heavy price tag: the “normalizing” of mind-blowing sexual madness, far from reality, has ruined relationships and lives. Let’s look …
Getting It! Cybersex Addiction
* It’s everywhere and easy. With countless websites, “sex” can be had for a small price despite the high consequences. One click, a teaser, a payment and you’re in “Nirvana.” Much like a dog in a bologna factory, the opportunities seem endless, and what’s more, these sites have your “number” – your credit card, your name and your e-mail address. Once they get that, you’ll end up on countless spam lists including those that claim to enlarge parts you don’t even have!
* It’s anonymous and distant: The seedy raincoat is gone. Millions of people of all stripes, including your friends and neighbors can log on and feel “the love” from a “safe” distance. Even if they’re cybering with a Rottweiler, it’s hassle free, impersonal, and often unemotional. There are no clandestine meetings to plan or “relationships” to navigate. In fact one needn’t even use deodorant. It’s lazy sex without consequences. Once again, if that’s your preference, it’s your business – unless it hurts others.
* Endless possibilities: Who hasn’t had the fantasy or belief that “there’s someone better out there?” Before cybering and chat rooms we had to get “real” and do the work of a relationship with those in our general vicinity, or through trusted recommendations. Few hopped a freighter to see what prospects were in Kazakhstan. Even pen pals had the facts and time to get to know who they were dealing with. All that has now become a sexual Willy Wonka land where any fantasy can be indulged in total anonymity with the click of a mouse.
* Consequences: You’ll get no moral judgments from me, but here are some serious considerations:
1. True, almost all adults have seen X-rated material, but to my mind, it comes down to this: You can have a glass of cabernet each night, but if you’re slugging down hooch, then scrounging in a frenzy for the rubbing alcohol, you’ve got a problem. And many Americans have a cybersex problem.
2. Given the temptation and ease of cybering, it can be the ultimate anonymous high, numbing stress and self-doubts. To the vulnerable, it can become sexual crack cocaine, hurting and replacing authentic relationships.
3. Risk Factors include: low self-esteem, troubled relationships in the real lane, early trauma, sexual dysfunction, and disturbed body image, among many other things.
Sadly, like the gluttonous Augustus Gloop who fell into Wonka’s river of chocolate, once each deed is done, it can feel like you’re drowning in a river of disgust and compulsion. Reason is lost and after a while, it’s no longer fun, but a terrifying, dangerous and expensive ride out of reality and into the abyss. The victims multiply, as mates, family and friends stand helplessly on the docks, watching their loved one withdrawing from them and from life.
So to you, Crying One, your boyfriend needs help, pronto. I wish you the best of luck.
A QUESTION OF CONSCIENCE
Dear Marnie: I met someone online and we’ve been having cybersex. I am in a committed relationship and he is not. First, do you think cybersex is cheating? Also, he’s worried about my boyfriend. I live with him and he supports me so I don’t think I can leave him. I am also overweight and I’m afraid if my online guy met me in real life, he would be turned off by my size. Do you think if I took it further with the online guy, he saw me in real life, he would end it? — Confused in L.A.
MARNIE SAYS: Let me get this straight. You’re involved, you spend your days and nights nookie-surfing, you wonder if cybersex is cheating, your cyber-guy is giving you guilt-grief, you’d leave your boyfriend but you don’t have a job … and your Big Query is – “Am I too unappealing to have an affair?!”
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
* I’ll make it simple. YES YOU ARE. (I’m talking your “inner” not “outer.”)
* Now that we’ve settled that, stop underestimating yourself. You obviously do have a marketable skill. Typing.
* May I suggest you confine your extracurricular activities to practicing that skill. You’ll need it should your befuddled bf hook into your “modem” operandi — and disconnect you.
Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2014 Singular Communications, LLC