"I recently received an e-mail from a friend. She wrote:Stereotype are dangerous --especially when they interfere with identifying real problems. I have seen such stereotypes as "women don't commit crimes of physical violence" or "women are not aggressive drivers" (that is of special concern to me as my son approaches driving age and out insurance rates go up.) While both these stereotypes may have been truer in the past, the world has changed.Do you know of any Christian articles dealing with internet flirting or cybersex? I can't seem to find anything I can relate to, and I know there must be other folks who've encountered the same thing.Indeed. A search for cybersex within the CT Library archives turns up over 40 articles that cover the struggle with and against various forms of sexual sin online. But this issue also falls under other categories for which some very useful articles have been written. More than 200 articles address sexual immorality, 90 cover pornography, 70 deal with adultery, 42 deal with lust, 9 cover fornication, and 3 address masturbation and sensuality. In all, nearly 600 articles cover some aspect of sexuality and the believer. Most of the articles apply to life online as well as offline.
Pornography usage and cybersex traditionally have been viewed as male problems, because men are thought to be more easily excited by what they see. But women are at risk too."
But more importantly, such stereotypes can cause us to miss developing problems because they do not fit into our notions of how things are. It's hard enough to identify "cybersex" disorders, but when you eliminate half the population from consideration based on gender stereotypes, you allow problems to fester.
Rich Tatum, the author of the piece quoted above, identifies the problem and its solutions in a compassionate and Biblical way. He ascribes much of the problem of online sexual addiction as being a failure of the filters that allow us to see the problems and pitfalls for ourselves. The solution, in Tatum's words, is "by employing spiritual disciplines, experiencing fellowship, finding an accountability group, and addressing the spiritual and emotional needs that make us vulnerable to temptation online."
One thing that makes this hard is that addicts of various types tend to be in denial about their problems, and if they do recognize that they have a problem, are reluctant to ask for help.
Tatum ands his article with a listing of various organizations (with web links) that help people deal with sexual issues in a Christian way.