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Zogby International recently conducted a telephone survey on Internet sex for Focus on the Family. One question in particular first struck us as, well, dumb:

"How likely do you think it is to find sexual fulfillment through the Internet?"

Sexual stimulation on the Net? Plenty of that. But sexual fulfillment? Who would look for something that is fundamentally bodily and interpersonal to a medium that is essentially disembodied and impersonal?

But it wasn't such a dumb question. Survey results showed that one in four American men (25.9%) and about one in six women (16.7%) say it is either very or somewhat likely they can find sexual fulfillment online. Nearly one in five Christians (18.68%) gives the same response.

As a society, we're muddleheaded about sex. We need to keep in mind C. S. Lewis's distinction between Eros ("that kind of love which lovers are 'in' ") and Venus (the "animally sexual element within Eros"). "Sexual desire, without Eros, wants. &#hellip; the thing in itself," Lewis wrote. "Eros wants the Beloved."

Sexual fulfillment requires both Venus and Eros. Apart from the intensely interpersonal and mutual experience of Eros, we are alone. And love (even when it can only hope for and anticipate the Beloved) is never fully alone.

The Technology of Temptation

Pornography is a moving target in the Christian fight to keep sex linked to committed interpersonal love. The Internet and cable television have brought the retailing of pornography to the family room. We once lobbied zoning boards to shut down the seedy "adult" bookstore wedged between the convenience store and the Laundromat. Now the adult bookstore inhabits an electronic territory no zoning board can regulate. Christians once pressured the entertainment industry ...

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In the Magazine

June 12, 2000

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