Sexuality, Spirituality, and the Internet


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I read a book this summer called In Tthe Shadow of the Net, about people who have problems with addictive sexual behaviors online. It was a very eye-opening book, a very convicting book in some ways, and it has me still mulling over some issues and wondering where the lines should be drawn.

I was shocked by some of the statistics, and also by the descriptions of some of the things available on the net. The number of people who get hurt meeting with online partners in real life astounded me.

Would anyone care to comment on these issues?
Well, my mum and dad struggled for years, made some money, settled down nicely - free from the kids - finally only needing to work part-time.
My dad apparently then took up cybersex with PC camera he got one birthday, made some contacts, cheated a bit, then went off to Manchester to settle with someone he had only ever met a couple of times in real life.

I only ever saw everything from my mum's end - how it took her husband from her, and with that broke her family - it took her house from her, her physical security, sent her into 2 hellish years that she literally still bears physically in the form of a stress condition that affected her entire skin.

It has, of course, also affected us kids - I'm the eldest, and if I'm honest the possibility of my parents splitting up never seemed to be a suprise when I was growing up.

However, they really had reached a stage of accomplishment in their lives as a couple - or so it had seemed. My mum had actually turned around at one point and said that it was too perfect - that something could only go wrong. This was before Dad got his PC camera.

Of my two brothers, the youngest seems to have taken it hardest - he was 21, I think when it happened. I'm not sure whether he is on speaking terms with my dad any more.

Everything was turned upside down - truly. Dad lives across England now. I've offered to visit but he decline the last occasion. He forgets birthdays now as well.

At the end of the day, flirting and sexual associations through the internet only are all based on fantasy and illusion, in my opinion. Although I can get a sense of some people's character and being sometimes, it remains an important point that these are simply projections - not real selves - everything filtered and carefully considered away from the real spontaneity of physical contact.

I never flirt online, never chat people up, never cybersex, never fill dating forms, form dreams of online people and chase them or otherwise fantasise about those I meet on the internet. To me it;s all flagrant illusion, and I'm not falling for it.

Would I love to meet lots of the people I befriend on the internet? Absolutely. But entirely because I have seen them as friends over the long-term. I never never fantasised about any women I met on the net in a sexual manner.

(I am, however, a sexually-repressed Brit, which maybe forms part of my perception. :) )

I won't forget seeing how cybersex affected my family, even though my mum and dad appear to be with people they truly love. That is for their judgement.

I was always one of those kids at school whose parents were not divorced, though plenty others went through it. Even though my own did not until I was in my late twenties, I can only truly feel for the sense of loss and abondonment that any child in such a situation must feel. In some ways, my mother and father together were my family - with them separated, I have neither one family nor two - that concept no longer exists. Their lives are no longer mine.
That's a tragic tale, Brian, and I admire your courage in being so forthright.

What a world we make, Eldanuumea.

One of the reasons for the rapid take-up of the video cassette recorder, (a growth rate which marketeers would love to emulate) was the realisation by porn market that video was more accessible than film.

Subtract porn from the equation, and growth would be nowhere near the figure that it is - although we have two machines in our house, and no pornography.

Everyone expected the take-up of TV-based games consoles and then domestic PCs to be the same - but no - until the internet and, you guessed it, porn once again.

Namaste all,

i read a study about the explosion of internet companies and the revenue that they were generating.

two things jumped out at me as startling...

number one... porn drives technology. the most advanced graphics and streaming and all those other technologies are sourced and perfected by the legion that habitually tune in to alleviate the frustration, boredom and the inescapable feeling that "something isn't right".

the other thing that jumped out at me was how much money those porn sites make. they dwarf the other industries on the 'net in terms of income and presence. if the 'net were a physical place, i doubt you could ever find anything besides porn in the place.... and if you did... there would be porn there too.
Btw - I'm not trying to make a morality statement of the issue from my own experience. My parents both seem much happier now. What it does remind me is how the pursuit of self can have wider consequences.
The Fool said:
Btw - I'm not trying to make a morality statement of the issue from my own experience. My parents both seem much happier now. What it does remind me is how the pursuit of self can have wider consequences.

How can a parent be "happier" if communication with their children has fallen off? A lost connection with my children, even as adults would be too devistating to consider, no matter how strong the pull of internet infidelity. Has your father been the least bit apologetic for destroying his long relationship with his family?......I am very sad for eveyone involved.
The idea of my own parents splitting up had never been a surprise - excepting that it happened when they seemed at their most content, when all their financial worries had finally been resolved and they had moved on to live together in their "dream home".

Both are with long-term partners who seem to most suit them in terms of personality, and seem genuinely much happier with who they are living with.