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The Dangers of Virtual Hanky Panky

Sandra Prior
Sep 13, 2008
Anyone with a mind to stray can meet willing partners over the Internet. Even outdated figures suggest that a staggering amount of people have a serious Internet addiction - and that's only those who admit it. The numbers have soared since the sales of broadband. Several books have appeared, describing men and women rushing home to salivate in front of porn sites.

Meanwhile, real love, lust and dinner all go cold. But that's okay, they say, they're not having sex. Who are they kidding? This is often nothing short of torrid virtual sex with total strangers. The appeal is the excitement, friendship, freedom and independence engendered.

It's like being in a reality TV show. It's highly addictive. You throw out a line - try out a different personality perhaps, and you wait to see the response. The outcome is not given. It's thrilling and dangerous - and you can withdraw at any time.

That's not to say such a connection can't harm you. There can't be physical violence, but there's still what one might call emotional violence. Playing people along on an emotional level, getting them to do things they wouldn't normally do - you may still feel dependent, guilty, etc. You can walk away, but that doesn't prevent damaging psychological effects, as in any abusive relationship.

There is a story of a woman who found her perfect partner on the Internet after a string of unhappy relationships. This new woman was fantastic; she had all the right credentials and was intelligent and stunning. They got involved and were very happy. But after two months this woman went into hospital and her partner checked out her laptop. It transpired that she had continued to list on a dating site, using a false persona, flirting and fishing for other people. She was happy and didn't perceive this as infidelity, but she was hooked on the web. The whole relationship blew up. Again and again you hear of similar tragedies. In Britain, an organization called Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous has been formed to help such people.

Where do we Draw the Line?

The solution is probably not in imposing tighter controls, as if we were children who needed a nanny, or serfs who should be wearing chastity belts. The real problem seems to lie in the relationship we have with ourselves. If we perceive we lack love, romance or understanding, the tendency is to seek them elsewhere. The majority of people are having an affair. They're having it with a fantasy image of what they're projecting onto the other person. In the meantime, years go by and they miss out on loving the one they're with.

We only want to change things in other people that represent things in ourselves we don't love. If you love people for who they are, they turn into who you love. Feelings of betrayal can be brought on just as much by emotional infidelity as by sexual infidelity. Does she think we don't know that feelings and imagination are the meat and drink of relationships, as of life? It's what we choose to do with them that counts. And that will depend on several things - your values and beliefs and those of society and what you're searching for. If marriage isn't in your head, it's nowhere.

We've been brought up to believe that love is limited, that if you give your love to anybody else you're depriving me. The truth is if we are honest, we can love broadly. I can say to another man, I really love you, and it doesn't challenge my marriage in the slightest.

You have a capacity for truth, goodness and beauty. Deepen and expand it.
About the Author
Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu.
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